Tucking yourself into bed at night is something that’s only made better when you’re joined by your furry pup for some cuddles. Most people’s dogs love sleeping with them, which is why a group of researchers at the Department of Ethology at Eötvös Loránd University in Hungary created a study to analyze how the attachment a dog has to its owner can impact its sleep. They found that dogs who were more attached to their people spent a longer amount of time in deep sleep.
To assess how the dogs slept, the team recorded the EEG (electrical variations of brain waves) while the dog and their owner napped together in a sleep lab. Over a few hours, they recorded the EEGs to see how long the dogs spent in the deep sleep stage, as deeper sleep equates to the most relaxing stage of rest. The more time a dog (or a person) spends sleeping in the deep stage of sleep, the more well-rested they are.
Related: 10 questions for anyone who thinks they’re ready for a pet.
Bonded dogs were more well-rested than less attached dogs
The lead researcher, Cecília Carreiro, concluded that although sleeping in the lab was a new and unfamiliar environment for both the dogs and owners, which could be stressful, the results suggested: “presumably because the owner of these dogs provides a more secure environment for their dog, they can relax and have a good nap.”
Dogs who were less attached to their humans spent more time in the lighter stages of sleep “so that they could quickly awaken in case some threat might unexpectedly arrive,” according to Psychology Today.
So the next time you’re sleeping with your dog nestled up beside you and you both make it through the night without waking, know that it’s likely because your dog feels very bonded with you.
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