Many pet owners allow their pets to sleep in their bedrooms — or even in their beds — but could your dog or cat be the reason you’re eating Unisom for dessert and watching game show reruns at 3 a.m.? Not always.
According to a recent study conducted by the Center for Sleep Medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, Arizona, letting your pet sleep near you (or right beside you) could make you feel more content or secure, allowing you to sleep deeper and more soundly.
The Center for Sleep Medicine studied 150 consecutive patients who sought treatment and learned that 74 of them owned pets. More than half of those pet owners (56 percent) allowed their pets to sleep in the bedroom, and 31 respondents (41 percent) said they did not have any animal-related sleep disturbances. It was quite the opposite, actually: twice as many patients described their pets as being “unobtrusive or beneficial to sleep.”
“People sleeping alone, not always single but sometimes with a partner who travels or works some nights, more often spoke of the beneficial companionship stemming from a pet in the bedroom or on the bed,” the study authors wrote.
Some pet owners said they felt an increased sense of security or comfort when their pets were nearby. The researchers admitted that they did not yet understand how those feelings were related to a good night’s sleep, but they refused to discount them, since sleep requires a state of mental relaxation. Anything has to be better than that seventh straight episode of “Family Feud.”