Cats in Bed: Totally Good for Sleep

Can't Sleep? Get your cat. Mayo Clinic researchers say cats help nighttime rest.

Although some people believe sharing your bed with your pet is a major no-no, researchers at the Mayo Clinic have found that cuddling up with your cat or dog when the night falls benefits your peace of mind, body and spirit.

Researchers at the Center for Sleep Medicine at the Mayo Clinic of Scottsdale, Ariz., surveyed 150 patients in regards to their pets and sleep habits, finding that those participants who cuddle up with a cat or dog feel safer and more secure during the midnight hours. One participant, a married woman, even divulged that she finds it soothing to have her cat sleep on her chest.

“Many pet owners view companion animals as family members that they wish to incorporate into as many aspects of their life as possible,” write the authors of the study. “Because humans spend considerable time sleeping, a pet owner’s desire to have animals close at night is understandable. As more households include multiple pets, the challenge of securing appropriate sleeping arrangements is increased.”

Security aside, the study found that sharing a bed with a pet increased relaxation, with 56% of participants admitting that they share their sleeping quarters (covers and all) with their pets, and 41% revealing that they slept better with their pet in their bed. While 20% of participants did disclose that they had been woken by their pets throughout the night, psychiatrist Dr. Lois Krahn, the study’s author, has added some clarity to the claim.

“The study determined that while the majority of patients did not view their pets intolerably disturbing their sleep, a higher percentage of patients experienced irritation,” said Krahn. “This may be related to the larger number of households with multiple pets. When people have these kinds of problems, sleep specialists should ask about companion animals and help patients think about ways to optimize their sleep.”

Do you allow your cat(s) to share your bed?

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