You’ve seen Spot run; now, find out how your dog can blast your belly fat—without a single minute of exercise on your part! Whether you’re cuddling with a Chi-poo or spooning a Shih Tzu, having your four-legged friend sleep in your bedroom can help you drop those pesky pounds for good.
Yes, seriously—letting your pet in your bed can actually lead to weight loss, according to a study in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings. To come to these inspiring findings, researchers tested the sleep patterns of 40 healthy adults who showed no signs of sleep disorders to determine whether the presence of the participants’ pets in the same bedroom was conducive to sleep.
All of the pets studied were over six months old and only single-dog owners were included. The findings show that an impressive 41 percent of pet owners found that catching Zzz’s with their dog helped them sleep by providing security, companionship, and relaxation. Even if you’d rather not share a pillow with your pet, rest assured (literally!) that you can still increase your nightly shut-eye quality. The study showed that participants slept better when their pets were simply in the same bedroom as opposed to in the bed. In fact, the dogs also scored solid sleep efficiency.
So how does snoozing with Fido correlate with weight loss? According to a study published in the American Journal of Health Promotion, getting more sleep can help trim your waistline. To come to these findings, University of Alabama at Birmingham researchers analyzed over 28,150 American adults aged 21 to 65 and noted whether or not the number of hours they slept each night affected how often they engaged in primary and secondary eating or drinking, or eating or drinking while doing something else.
The study revealed that those who slept less than 7 or 8 hours a night spent an additional 8.7 mins a day eating while distracted (one of the 37 Lunchtime Mistakes You’re Making) What’s more, these folks spent an extra 28.6 minutes drinking on weekdays and additional 31.28 minutes drinking on weekends.
“Short sleep is associated with more time spent in secondary eating and, in particular, secondary drinking. This potentially suggests a pathway from short sleep to increased caloric intake in the form of beverages and distracted eating and thus potential increased obesity risk, although more research is needed,” the study concludes.
It seems like man’s best friend is also sleep’s prime pal. Next time you find yourself insomnia-ridden and counting sheep, try cuddling with your furry friend. And keep in mind that more sleep equals eating fewer calories during the day. Not only can your pet help you sleep soundly and subsequently drop the muffin top, Fido can also help you lower your blood pressure, slash your risk of heart disease, and even add years to your life—just a few of the 10 Ways Dogs Make You Healthier.