Is it really safe to sleep with your pet? Is snoozing with your cat or pup a danger to your health? Plenty of would-be sleep experts have weighed in on the subject (probably along with some of your friends and family with strong opinions) but the verdict is finally in. In a limited study conducted by the Mayo Clinic, experts are giving pet parents the green light to snooze with their pets... with a few important tips to do it safely.
It's more common than you'd think.
Of the 150 participants in the Mayo study, 49% slept with their pet. The AKC estimates that 45% of pets sleep with their humans while 26& are in a crate and another 17% sleep in their own bed in the bedroom.
Animals can disrupt sleep... but not as often as most assume.
Well yes, 20% reported that their animal bother their sleep – mostly by “wandering, snoring and whimpering”. But then there was the lady who let her parrot sleep in her room (we assume not the bed) even though it woke up and squawked at 6am every morning.
Most owners attest to sleeping more soundly with their pets.
And, they’re outnumbered by more than 2 to 1. 41% of those who slept with their pet or had the pet in the bedroom said that the pet helped them get a better night’s sleep. Whether they found the dog on their feet cozy or the cat touching them soothing, they welcomed their pets into the bedroom.
Cats vs. dogs.
Dr. Lois Kahn who ran the Mayo Clinic study noted that she felt that more than one pet in the bed or bedroom probably increased the risk of bad sleep and that dogs were probably more compliant and ready to cuddle up while cats might wander, but those are just best guesses. She said, “I wouldn’t be at all surprised if dogs follow their humans (into quiet and sleep), and cats do what they want”. We don’t know if she’s a dog-lover, a cat-lover or both!
Opinions from other sources...
Another study suggested that humans need to take inventory. Do they sleep take a personal inventory of their sleeping habits with or without the pet? Dr. Charles Bae. Sleep medicine expert at the Cleveland Clinic does say “pets can help people with anxiety and help people relax” – another OK to sleep with the pet in your bed or bedroom.