Sleep Quality and Pets in the Bed

Which side of the bed are you on  when it comes to this topic? Do you insist that pets stay in their own beds or do you give in to those big eyes and share the sack with your four legged buddy? Do you ever regret that decision when fighting for covers or being awoken by doggy dreams? With an official study conducted on quality of sleep, the verdict is in: 

Sorry, pet lovers: Sharing a bed with a furry friend is officially bad for your sleep.

According to new research, 30 percent of those who sleep with their pet are waking up at least once a night because of their pet. A whopping 63 percent report poor sleep quality as a result of sleeping with a pet four or more nights a week. And trouble falling back asleep once their slumber was disturbed was noted among 5 percent of participants.

The research was presented in a poster at SLEEP 2014, the 28th annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies,and offers a unique perspective, according to Dr. Sowjanya Duthuluru M.D. Most sleep studies have focused on sharing a bed with a romantic partner or with a young child, while pets have long been known to disrupt sleep due to their barks and meows, animated dreams of chasing cars or allergic reactions they might trigger.

300 patients were asked 17 questions about their pets and their quality of sleep. Of the 300, about half (148) were pet owners and more than half of the pet owners shared their beds or bedrooms with their furry friend. There were no significant difference noted between the ages or genders of the pet owners, or whether they owned a dog or a cat.

Some pet owners, however, reported feeling comforted by the presence of their pets in spite of the negative findings. Further research into the effects of co-sleeping with pets on sleep quality may be helpful.

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