We love our pets more than almost anything. Even when they’re pesky, they still warm our hearts. It’s no surprise that we often put our pets’ wellbeing above our own, especially when it comes to sleep. Anyone who’s experienced the Tetris-like maneuvers to give a dog sleeping space knows it’s true. We may mutter, “never again,” with the cat’s 4 a.m. wakeup call, but there we are the next day, up at the crack of dawn with a paw in our face.
When it comes to sharing a sleeping space with our pets, how do we make sure we’re taking care of our own sleep health? Especially for those with sleep disorders like sleep apnea, the question must be asked: When it comes to sleep, are our pets friends or foes?
If Fluffy and Spot snuggle in with you at night, you’re not alone. Over 35% of U.S. households have dogs, and just over 30% have cats.1 Of these, surveys show that the majority of pet owners allow their pets in the bed. Anywhere from nearly 50% of dog owners to 62% of cat owners welcome their pets at bedtime.2
Hair, dander and debris come with the pet ownership territory. That doesn’t mean your bedroom or your breathing has to suffer the consequences. Keep yourself, your pets and your bed clean and your sleep uncompromised with a few common-sense actions.
Research has been mixed on the topic of pets and sleep, but studies have found some promising results for co-sleepers. In one recent study, people report that dogs sleeping in the room reduces anxiety and brings comfort. What’s more, 41% believe their pet to be unobtrusive or beneficial to sleep. Those who let their pets sleep in the room even slept better in some cases.
For cat people, the benefits extend to a sense of security, warmth, coziness and emotional support, though maybe a little less so. In one study, cats who slept in their owner’s bed were found equally as disruptive as human partners, and they created fewer feelings of comfort and security than both human and dog bed partners.
Sleep disruption increases with multiple pets, so be mindful if you’ve got a full house, and pay extra attention to how you’re all faring through the night.
The best thing you can do to ensure happy snoozing is to take an honest look at how your sleep setup is working. You may love having a furry friend by your side, but how can you optimize sleep health in the process? Here are 7 tips for sleeping with your pets:
At the end of the day (literally), it’s about what works best for you. Always make healthy sleep hygiene your first priority, even if that means separating at bedtime. Your pets will still love you in the morning.
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