Many of us don’t like our dog to sleep along with us at night, but can’t succeed with keeping it out. The latest study says that it is healthier for you to have your pooch join you in sleep.
According to this Today, when you sleep with your pet it helps you in sleeping better. It provides you with a sense of security. The researchers claimed that the age-old belief that pets can disturb your sleep may not be true.
Dr. Lois Krahn practices at the Mayo Clinic Center for Sleep Medicine (Arizona), where she is a specialist in sleep medicine. She is one of the authors of the study. According to her, there are no strict rules as to your pet sleeping in your bed. The only concern she and her community of specialists have is that there may be some slight risk associated with it.
The study holds some good news for Americans. Almost 50% of households in the country have pets. Around half of all these pets sleep in the bedroom or in the bed with the family.
The study involved 150 subjects, who were asked to fill out a questionnaire related to sleep. Some questions were related to their pets sleeping with them. They were asked about the number and kind of pets they had and where they slept. An interview after the questionnaire also enquired about the pets – where they slept, their behavior, and if they interfered with their sleep.
Around 20% of the subjects indicated disturbance in sleep, and 41% said that they enjoyed better sleep if they had their pet in the same room. Dr. Krahn says that many people feel more comfortable if they have their pets sleeping with them at night. While some said that their pets made the bed warm, others felt their pet’s touch to be reassuring and relaxing.
Dr. Krahn claims that these findings were different from what he noticed in a previous paper and they didn’t fall in line with recommended sleeping habits.
In a 2013 study, around 10% of those who came to the Center for Sleep Medicine said that they found it disturbing to have their pets sleep along with them. This finding was 1% higher than in 2001. But those who complained the most had several pets. According to Dr. Krahn, your sleep is affected only when you have more than one pet.
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Dr. Krahn says that although she cannot yet prove it, smaller dogs are more likely to cause lesser disturbance compared to larger dogs like a Great Dane. She also claims that dogs spend more time cuddled up and cats spend more time wandering around at night.
Another one of her inferences is that dogs have a natural tendency to follow their owners. If you are quiet at night, your dog will also be quiet. But cats don’t follow their owners. They like to spend the night the way they want to.
Sleep specialists have mostly advised against sleeping with pets, but an increasing number of them are saying that the choice depends on both the pet and the owner.
Dr. W. Christopher Winter is another specialist in sleep medicine. He works with Charlottesville Neurology & Sleep Medicine (Virginia). He says that he will not have any issue sleeping with a dog. He says that you should have your pet sleep in a pet bed/crate in the same room only if it is not a good bedmate. It could help in keeping an emotional connection without the toss and turns.
Dr. Charles Bae of Cleveland Clinic also says that you should determine if it feels fine to sleep with your pet. According to him, you should do an evaluation. If you find that you get better quality sleep without your pet, you should move it off the bed. But if you enjoy good sleep without concern about whether your pet is there in the bed or not, you should let it sleep.
According to him, there is enough proof that pets help us in feeling relaxed and fight off anxiety. The doctor believes that the home of our family members could be more disturbing in the bed than a pet.