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Are Your Pets Keeping You Awake or Helping You Sleep?

Do you let your pets sleep in your bed at night? A new study finds an increase in the number of pet owners who find their pets responsible for disturbing a good night’s rest.

Many pet owners allow their pets to sleep nearby at night, but are your pets helping you nod off, or are they keeping you awake? A recent study from the Mayo Clinic shows that people are definitely split in two over their pets’ sleeping arrangements. From a modest sample size of 74 pet owners, 41 allowed their pets to sleep in the bedroom. 15 study participants (20%) described their pets as disruptive, whilst 31 (41%) said they were unobtrusive or even beneficial 1.

In a similar study from 2002, the statistics told a different story. Only 1% of participants reported that their pets were disruptive during sleep, this had increased to 10% in the most recent study. The reason for this increase is unknown, but could be due to the greater number of households with multiple pets.

Disruptive behaviours given by study participants included:

  • Wandering
  • Snoring
  • Needing to go out
  • Whimpering
  • Seizures

We’re sure there are plenty of other ways our pets could disrupt sleep at night, but what about those who found pets aided sleep? One woman found that her two small dogs acted as ‘bed warmers’ which helped her nod off. Another study participant described their cat as soothing – possibly referring to her cat’s gentle purring? A number of participants also reported how they found the companionship of an animal to be comforting.

Considering Sleeping Arrangements

Whether or not you find your pet disturbs your sleep could depend on the species. Dogs are able to adopt a consistent sleeping pattern that matches your own and are more inclined to sleep through the night. However, if a dog needs something during the night, they are going to let you know – loudly. Cats on the other hand don’t tend to spend the night in one place, roaming throughout the night. Also, cats are notorious for being active during the early hours of the morning and making an impressive alternative for an alarm clock.

Questions to ask before letting your pet sleep in the bedroom

  • How well do you usually sleep?
  • How well does your partner sleep?
  • Is the pet free of dirt, fleas and other pests?
  • Do you suffer from pet allergies?
  • How large is your bedroom?
  • Does your pet sleep through the night?
  • Is your pet quiet?
  • How many pets do you have?
  • Would your pet sleep on the bed?
  • Does excluding the pet from the bedroom an option?
  • Does your pet require any special attention during the night?

To Sleep Or Not To Sleep?

It seems a lot of this study is based on personal preferences, and the individual personalities of their pets. People who find their pets disturb them during the night should consider prioritising their sleep over the needs of their pets. If your pet sleeps on the bed, maybe it’s time to invest in a pet bed to create a place your pet associates with sleep and get them out of the bedroom.

To achieve a restful night’s sleep requires a state of physical and mental relaxation. If your pet helps you achieve this state – keep them in the bedroom!

Your Thoughts

We’d like to hear whether or not your pet is allowed in the bedroom. Does your pet keep you up, or do they help you relax? Let us know in the comments section below!

Featured Image – Ryan Melaugh


References:

  1. Krahn LE, Tovar MD, Miller B. Are Pets in the Bedroom a Problem?. Mayo Clin Proc. 2015;90(12):1663-5.

About James Watts

BSc Bioveterinary Science. Editor of PetSci. When I'm not writing, learning, discussing, or reading about animals, you know it's the weekend! Currently developing PetSci HealthTrak, the fast and easy way to monitor your pet's weight and calorie intake. HealthTrak offers a simple way to track your pet's progress, helping them achieve a healthy weight and a long, happy life.

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3 comments

  1. I let my two cats sleep in my bed with me at night. They are comforting to begin with but are natural alarm clocks and wake me up at 5am for feeding. All in all I wouldn’t change a thing.

  2. My cat not only snores, but once he is awake, he hates others to be asleep – and his perfect way to wake us up is scratching. Closing doors is pointless as he just scratches them instead of bedroom carpet etc. No way to stop him.

  3. We’ve slept with my little rat terrier in bed with us for over 13 years. The only time she wakes us up is when she needs to go outside. I’d rather her wake me for a bathroom visit than go on the floor. Overall, we think we sleep better with her in bed.

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