When I was a child, I had violent night terrors. No one knew why or had any idea on how to treat them.
My doctors were baffled, and my parents were at their wit’s end. Whenever I slept in the living room, our elderly cocker spaniel, Suzy Q, would cuddle up at my feet on the couch. With her by my side, my night terrors were much milder. I don’t think the connection was ever made back then.
During my late teens, I adopted a mutt mix before leaving for college. Aries was chaotic, and energetic, and wild, but also loving. She knew when I needed her to be calm and when I needed her to pull me out of my homesick stupor to get moving. Whilst home from college, Aries adopted my mom and became her protector.
Three years later, my new husband and I rescued a border collie-lab mix from an abusive home and loved her to the ends of the world. Once we got past her trauma from previous owners, Lola became the most attentive and loving dog I’ve ever known.
Who Rescued Who?
Dogs are our best friends for a reason. They are pack animals — from the tiniest teacup breeds to the enormous mountains of a mastiff. We’ve been domesticating dogs for millennia to join our family as work animals, guardians, and companions. It’s no wonder so many people now depend on their animals for their happiness, safety, and survival.
Benefits of Sleeping with Your Dog
Human minds and bodies find restoration through sleep. Our canine companions help us get the most of our sleeping hours and help many people stay healthier for longer. Science backs the theories around dogs being good for our health in many different aspects of our life.
A Sense of Safety
Statistics suggest that homes with dogs are less likely to be the recipient of property crimes. Between the keen ears and noses of your furry friends and the high decibel level that an angry or scared dog can bark, vandals and burglars tend to stay clear of doggy homes. Many women claim to feel safer in their homes when they have a dog and often sleep better when their dog is in their bed with them.
Dogs are empaths. They can easily pick up on anxiety, depressive episodes, anger, and other emotions that may not be the best for us. The unconditional love a dog gives to us is more vital than any connection most people ever experience.
As a teen, my dog knew I was having night terrors, and though she wasn’t more than 18 inches tall or more than 30 lbs, she did her best to ground me in my unconscious terror. Dogs worldwide are explicitly trained to help those who have PTSD and other trauma ailments, autism, and more.
After my wedding and our adoption of Lola, I began having paralyzing migraines. I had to drop out of my school program and struggled to keep a job because I couldn’t function when dealing with these migraines. Lola began to intuitively pick up on my migraine symptoms before I could. She began assisting me in taking reactive medications to reduce my migraines’ effects.
Dogs can be trained to assist those with mobility issues, blindness, or impaired visibility and notify caretakers of low/high blood sugar levels, impending seizures, and more. Some dogs can even open doors and bring medications at designated times to help their person function easier in the world around them. Many of the things dogs are trained to pick up on can happen during the night when a caretaker isn’t with the person.
Dogs can maintain a steady, heavy sleep while remaining alert in their senses of sound and smell. When you sleep with a dog, your breathing slows, and you fall into deeper cycles of sleep than without someone against you. For some, the weight of the dog is what eases their mind into a peaceful slumber. Many people can’t sleep without their dog near them. Interested in discovering more about the scientific benefits of sleeping with your dog? Look into this infographic from SleePare.
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About the author
Echo is a mom of two rambunctious boys, writer, and artist in Portland, OR. She is a lifelong dog owner who loves to learn new things, and when she’s not writing for SleePare or chasing down the kids in their shenanigans, she’s got her hands in the soil of her garden or exploring the city and nature parks around her.