Here’s yet another reason why you shouldn't worry about not having an S.O. sleeping beside you: a recent study by experts from Canisius College in New York and initially published in the Anthrozoös journal revealed that women in general sleep better when they did so beside their dogs, rather than sharing the bed with another person.
Data from almost a thousand women revealed that cuddling up with fur babies resulted in less sleep disturbance. Moreover, doing so cultivated feelings of comfort, security, and happiness, and also led to waking up earlier the following morning.
Dr. Christy L. Hoffman who did the study, however, notes on a feature on Vice that “this is based on aggregated data and an average of responses, so getting a dog won’t solve everyone’s sleeping problems.” Getting a dog—or any pet for that matter—is a life-long responsibility, so it’s important to only adopt one if you’re doing so for the right reasons.
According to Huffington Post, caring for dogs has a plethora of other benefits including better cardiovascular health (and increased survival should one have a heart attack); better weight management (especially since you’ll need to walk your fur baby), and great stress reduction (a few minutes with doggos can apparently lower anxiety levels). If, however, you’re looking to improve your sleeping habits, you’ll also have to do your part. You already know about not playing with screened devices before sleeping, but these tips are things you can do during your waking hours to give you better rest in the evening:
1. Allow yourself to be exposed to bright lights during the day.
As we've mentioned in a previous article, you have a body clock or a circadian cycle which manages the functions of your body during the day. When you're exposed to natural sunlight or even to bright indoor lights door the day, your body automatically assumes that it's daylight and will keep you awake. Alternately, as Healthline reports, it can also help you improve "nighttime sleep quality and duration" especially if you've been diagnosed with insomnia.
2. Set aside time to work out.
Exercising during the day has been proven to help improve sleep quality at night, although it's good to note that working out too close to bedtime may disrupt your body clock and keep you awake.
FN Tip: If you wish to work out late in the evening, make sure that you avoid fast-paced, high-impact sessions. Try Yin yoga, which focuses on slow, deliberate movements and longer-held poses.
3. Avoid long daytime naps.
According to a feature on Huffington Post, the best naps are only 10 to 20 minutes long. Depending on what time you wake up in the morning, there's also an optimum hour for you to sneak in a few zzz's without disrupting your evening sleep cycle.
FN Tip: You can try try Dr. Sara Mednick's nap wheel to find the best afternoon nap hour for you.
4. Process your mental task list (and worries) earlier in the day.
We know, we know—you can't really schedule when your mind will suddenly remind you of that impending deadline you've been worrying about the past few days, but to help quiet your thoughts, Sleep.org recommends setting aside at least 15 minutes of daytime to process anything that needs processing. (Writing things down also helps, so try keeping a journal.) Doing so will help lessen your brain's activity in the evening when it's time for you to settle in.