Since we got Ashley, I have been sleeping better. Remarkably better. It’s kind of amazing.

My Oura ring gives me some data to go on.

The place where it’s very obvious is in deep sleep time. In the month or so before I got the dog, I averaged 57 minutes of deep sleep per night. In the month or so since I got the dog, I’ve averaged 1 hour 23 minutes. Other improvements are significant, but not so impressive in terms of numbers. Total sleep has gone from 7 hours 34 minutes to 7 hours 41 minutes, which is enough to make a difference. Sleep efficiency (the percentage of the time in bed that I’m actually asleep) has gone from 87% to 89%, which doesn’t look so impressive, but also seems to make a difference. I’m also getting up much less often in the night.

Of course, this leaves me with the question of why.

I think partially, it’s just that she sets a great example: She comes to bed when we do, lies down between our feet, goes to sleep, and stays asleep—better than I do, anyway.

The other big change, of course, is that I’m walking way, way more than before.

Again the Oura ring provides some data, with “walking” that has gone from 7.3 miles to 11.2 miles per day. That’s misleading though, because the Oura ring reports a “walking equivalent” number. (Based on, I assume, my heart rate during other activity, such as weight lifting.) The FitBit software on my Pixel Watch gives me actual distance data, and the last half of October I was averaging 5 miles per day, while last week I averaged 7 miles.

Dog sleeping in the sun
Ashley sleeps just as well in the sun as she does in bed

For years now, I’ve had a procedure that I go through just before going to bed, in which I check that both the front door and the sliding glass door are locked, that the toaster oven is unplugged (we had a near-catastrophe some years ago when the controls in the toaster oven got caught in a string bag that had been put on the counter), that the stove and oven are off, that the downstairs windows are closed and latched, and that the thermostat is adjusted to the proper nighttime temperature. I call it “Checking all the things.”

Last night, as I was getting ready to go to bed, Ashley (our new li’l pupper) wanted to go into the patio, so I opened the sliding glass door. She ran out, and then ran once around the perimeter fence, and then came right back in again. It didn’t take much more than 15 seconds.

My insight into dog brains is limited, but it sure looked to me like she was “checking all the things” out on the patio.

A very appropriate activity for a dog.