Warning! Sleeping With Your Pets Can Affect Your Sleep

Dexter

My family and I recently adopted a furry friend named Dexter!

He is such a cutie! Feisty and energetic would be two perfect words to describe him.

One of Dexter’s favorite things to do is to sleep with my husband and me at night. He can be a bit of a bed hog at times! Luckily he jumps off the bed and onto his own bed early on during our sleep time.

Often during the night, he will wake us up with his dog antics – he loves to pounce on the bed several times throughout the night. My husband and I are fortunate that we can go back to sleep at night. 

However, this may not be the case for many pet owners who are light sleepers or find it hard to go back to sleep at night after an awakening.

But what can a pet owner do?? It’s so bonding to have your pet sleep with you, right!

Human-Animal Co-Sleeping Studies:

The health benefits of pet ownership and the companionship that pets provide have been celebrated by researchers for decades and by these owners for centuries more.

There is little doubt that pets can contribute to the positive daily experiences of humans, and some pets also provide to the pet owners’ nightly experiences as well.

Humans interact with different animals and pets each day, and little is known (scientifically) about human-animal co-sleeping relationships and the impact on sleep quality.

Here are 2 recent studies about this topic:

A study conducted by Hoffman, Stutz, and Vasilopoulos looked at adult female sleep quality and routines related to pet ownership and co-sleeping. The scientists in this study collected survey data from 962 adult women living in the US.

Their findings did not show a strong correlation between pet co-sleeping conditions and sleep quality.

Interestingly, when compared with human bed partners, pets who slept in the owner’s bed were reported to cause fewer sleep disturbances.  These participants also said that the presence of a pet in bed was related to strong feelings of comfort and security.

The second study looked at co-sleeping habits among pet owners in Australia. The people of Australia value pets as companions and have the highest levels of pet ownership in the developed world.

Statistics show that around 60% of households in Australia own at least one pet.

The results of this study showed that those who co-slept with pets took slightly longer to fall asleep, but there were no significant differences between pet owners and non-pet owners with self-reported sleep lengths or daytime fatigue.

Although pet owners were not more likely to wake from disturbances, those who did wake up had a higher prevalence of barking or other animal noises being present.

What do you think about these 2 studies? Which study characterizes your pet co-sleeping experience?

There could be many reasons why your pet is interrupting your sleep.

Could it be due to a pet allergy? Are you potty training or trying to get your puppy to sleep through the night? If so, try to brainstorm ways that you can keep your furry friend close by without disturbing your sleep.

Sleep Hygiene

We love having Dexter sleep with us on our bed, but we can go back to sleep quickly, but this might not be the case for you. 

If you are having a hard time going to sleep at night or are awakened easily during your slumber, here are some sleep tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that may help:

  • Have a set schedule and stick to it
    • Go to bed and get up each morning at the same time every day
  • Make the area where you sleep relaxing, dark, quiet, and a comfortable temperature
  • Remove as many electronic devices as possible from your room
    • The bedroom should not be used for watching TV, working on the computer or reading on your phone
    • Blue light can help stimulate the brain
    • Many experts suggest stopping using electronics about 30 minutes before bedtime
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and heavy meals before bed
  • Exercise daily
    • Being active during the day will help you to sleep better

The National Sleep Foundation has found that the use of electronic devices before bed “delays your body’s internal clock (a.k.a., your circadian rhythm), suppresses the release of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin, and makes it more difficult to fall asleep.”

Fido may not be the reason you are not getting a night of restful sleep!

One other reason you may not be sleeping well at night, even with your furry friend off the bed and out of the bedroom, could be due to snoring or obstructive sleep apnea. Both of these conditions can awaken you which may lead you to be more aware or indirectly irritated with both pets, lights or other sounds.

If you feel you suffer from either of these sleep-disturbing issues, I can help you learn more about how custom made dental devices could help you have a peaceful night’s sleep. 

Take my quick quiz to learn more!

More information that may be helpful:

Oral Devices 101

Understanding how snoring can affect your sleep

How does Sleep Apnea affect your health

14 Sleep Hygiene Tips to Improve Your Sleep in 2019

References

Hoffman, C. L., Stutz, K., & Vasilopoulos, T. (2018). An Examination of Adult Women’s Sleep Quality and Sleep Routines in Relation to Pet Ownership and Bedsharing. Anthrozoös, 31(6), 711-725.

Patel, S. I., Miller, B. W., Kosiorek, H. E., Parish, J. M., Lyng, P. J., & Krahn, L. E. (2017). The effect of dogs on human sleep in the home sleep environment. In Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 92(9), 1368-1372.

Richter, K., Adam, S., Geiss, L., Peter, L., & Niklewski, G. (2016). Two in a bed: the influence of couple sleeping and chronotypes on relationship and sleep. An overview. Chronobiology International, 33(10), 1464-1472.

Smith, B., Thompson, K., Clarkson, L., & Dawson, D. (2014). The Prevalence and implications of human–animal co-sleeping in an Australian sample. Anthrozoös, 27(4), 543-551.

Tips for better sleep. (15 July, 2015). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/sleep_hygiene.html

Why Electronics May Stimulate You Before Bed. (2019). National Sleep Foundation. Retrieved from https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/why-electronics-may-stimulate-you-bed

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Lydia Sosenko, D.D.S.

Lydia Sosenko, D.D.S.

Dr. Lydia Sosenko, author of MySleepDevice.com, is a general dentist and Diplomate of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine. Dr. Sosenko has worked closely with the dental and medical communities providing oral appliance therapy for snoring and apnea patients since 1996. She remains passionate in helping build awareness of the dangers of snoring and apnea and the importance of treatments, including oral appliance therapy.

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