Your pet could help you sleep better by sharing the bed

New research has found that, for some people, a dog or cat in the bedroom can help them feel ‘secure, content, and relaxed’.

bedroom

If you have trouble sleeping, sharing your bed with your dog or cat could help. For many people, a fidgeting animal sharing your sleeping space sounds like a bad idea for a disturbed night.

However, ‘The Telegraph’ reports that new research from the Mayo Sleep Clinic has found that a number of people reported sleeping better when their pet slept close to them. The clinic questioned 150 study participants, 49 per cent of who reported owning pets. More than half of those animals slept in the bedroom or on the bed – and 20 per cent of pet owners did complain that the animals interrupted their sleep pattern with behaviour such as ‘wandering’, ‘snoring’ ‘voiding needs’ and ‘whimpering’.

However, a large number of respondents said that having their dog or cat in the bedroom or on the bed didn’t cause any problems – and many said it was an advantage. One 64-year-old woman commented that “she felt more content when her small dog slept under the covers near her feet,” said study author Lois Krahn. “One married woman described her two small dogs as ‘bed warmers.’ One 50-year-old woman did ‘not mind when my lovely cat’ slept on her chest and another described her cat as ‘soothing.'”

“Patients volunteered that they deliberately acquired a dog or cat to help them relax. People sleeping alone, not always single but sometimes with a partner who travels or works some nights, more often spoke of the beneficial companionship stemming from a pet in the bedroom or on the bed.” However, sharing your bed with a pet is certainly not for everyone. In a 2013 study the Mayo Clinic found that 10 per cent of respondents had had their sleep disturbed by dogs or cats. A recent study of 23,000 dog owners found that more that half of people let their pets sleep on their beds.

“Many pet owners view companion animals as family members that they wish to incorporate into as many aspects of their life as possible,” writes Dr Krahn. “Because humans spend considerable time sleeping, a pet owner’s desire to have animals close at night is understandable. As more households include multiple pets, the challenge of securing appropriate sleeping arrangements is increased.” “Some participants in this study identified advantages to having a companion animal in the bedroom or even on the bed. Some respondents described feeling secure, content, and relaxed when their pet slept nearby. This appears to be especially true for single sleepers. The value of these experiences, although poorly understood, cannot be dismissed because sleep is dependent on a state of physical and mental relaxation.

(Story source: The Telegraph December 2015)


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