Having a pet can bring you endless hours of happiness, but it can reportedly also have a positive effect on your sleep.
This is according to a new study led by Dr. Lois Krahn from the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona, which conducted an experiment on 150 participants at the Center for Sleep Medicine.
The participants were asked to complete a comprehensive sleep questionnaire, with one section on environmental factors asking about their “companion animals, including the type, number and sleeping habits of pets.” Then during the sleep interview, researchers gathered additional information about “where the companion animals slept, any notable behaviours, and whether the owner’s sleep was affected.”
Among those interviewed, just under half (49 per cent) said they owned pets — and of that number, 56 per cent said their pets sleep with them in their bedrooms.
While 20 per cent of pet owners found that having their pets sleep in their bedroom was disruptive (whimpering, wandering, snoring, voiding needs and seizures), 41 per cent felt that it was “not an issue or as advantageous.”
Some of the study’s participants stated that they felt more content, relaxed and secure when their pet was sleeping nearby, and this statement was especially true for single sleepers. The research determined that those sleeping alone (either single or with a partner that travels often) found that sleeping with their furry friends provided them with “beneficial companionship.”
However, the study notes that pet owners should carefully weigh the advantages and disadvantages of having their companion animal in their bedroom at night, and they should prioritize their sleep over the needs of their pet.
“The decision to bring a pet or pets into the bedroom or bed should come only after a close examination of the implications for their sleep environment,” the study states.
The study does leave a lot of unanswered questions about how to prevent your pet from interfering with your sleep, but according to PetMD, you can reduce the chances of sleep disturbance by finding a solution for your pet’s behaviour. This can be trial and error, but some suggestions include:
- Training them
- Changing their dinnertime (earlier or later)
- Playing with them during the day (not before bedtime)
- Giving them a companion so they are not so lonely
According to Healthy Pets, if you do allow your pet to have access to your bedroom, you should set up some ground rules. For example, if your pet wants to play in the middle of the night, you should not indulge them, nor should you be willing to wake up at all hours to feed your pet — make their dinnertime later, and this will help sustain them.
Of course, sometimes you cannot do anything because the disruptive behaviour can simply be caused by your pet needing to urinate.