For years, people suffering from chronic pain and sleep issues have been told it’s best to not let their dogs sleep in their beds. But a new study tells a different story.
This study says that letting dogs sleep in bed can help people suffering from long-term chronic pain.
This study was conducted by a team of researchers at the University of Alberta. One of the researchers on the study, Cary Brown, explained:
“Typically, people who have pain also have a lot of sleep problems, so usually if they ask their health-care provider about a pet, they’re told to get the pet out of the bedroom. But that standard advice can actually be damaging.”
There are a few different reasons why having dogs sleep in bed helps chronic pain sufferers. Brown explained that sleeping with their dog can help chronic pain sufferers feel more relaxed:
“They liked the physical contact with their dogs—cuddling before bed, and how it distracted them from feeling anxious about being alone at night. They felt more relaxed and safer so they weren’t anxious as they were trying to sleep.”
Brown also says that cuddling with a dog can give chronic pain sufferers a sense of well-being that helps relax their mind. When they’re cuddling with their furry best friend, their brain releases positive hormones that help them sleep better.
Brown also says that sleeping with their pup can help ease chronic pain sufferer’s loneliness.
“There’s a lot of losses in social circles associated with long-term pain, so a pet takes on a very significant role.”
Dogs also help people suffering from chronic pain establish a regular bedtime, and they help them stay active during the day.
Brown explains that one of the most vital keys for better sleep is getting up at the same time every day and remaining active during the day. A dog will usually wake you up around the same time every morning, and you’ll have to take them outside a few times a day. This can be hugely beneficial for your sleep schedule.
Brown hopes the study will prompt medical professionals and patients to have more in-depth conversations about their bedtime routines. She also hopes her study will show medical professionals why telling people to kick their dog out of bed isn’t always the best advice.
“The belief is based on a certain theory of thought about associating certain practices with the bedroom, but they aren’t updated or tested,” she said. “The study challenges this traditional advice and shows that we need to pursue this further.”
If you suffer from chronic pain or have trouble sleeping, letting your dog sleep in your bed can help you. If you’d like to learn more about Brown’s study, check it out here.
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