Chronic insomnia and sleep apnea can cause major health problems. Personally, one of my goals for 2017 is to get more sleep. It’s the one area of my health that leaves much room for improvement.
Gina, my 7-year-old Black Lab, is all up for supporting my goal. She loves to cuddle with me during naps. And after reading a new study in Concierge Medicine Today, I just might be inviting her into my bed more frequently for full nights of sleep.
Board certified sleep medicine physician Joseph Krainin, the founder of Singular Sleep, used to advise his insomniac patients to remove their pets from the bedroom before retiring at night. That all changed after he conducted a study with over 1,000 participants. While smaller studies on the topic had been done by the Mayo Clinic, this was the largest study on the topic of pets sleeping in bed with their people. Participants were gathered from around the globe via social media.
Fifty-six percent of pet owners allowed their pets to sleep in the bedroom; 87.5 percent of those people allowed their pets in the bed with them; 32 percent more people without bed partners reported better sleep with pets in the bed than those without bed partners. Over twice as many participants (41 percent) reported that their pets had either no effect on or some benefit to sleep.
“For those without a steady bed partner, our results suggest that pets may provide a comforting effect,” Dr. Krainin said.
However, if you have cats, you might want to reconsider having them sleep with you. Besides the fact that they are nocturnal, they also might pass on infectious diseases and make your asthma or allergies worse.
Pet MD says, “Cats can carry ringworm for long periods of time, and may not always show signs of overt illness.” Ringworm can be passed from 4-leggeds to 2-leggeds.
Of course, there are other valid reasons people don’t want to invite Fluffy or Fido into their bed. If you have an open wound, having your loving 4-legged lick it may cause infection.
Personally, I find the benefits outweigh the risks. This time of year, Gina is a welcome bed warmer. However, she’s welcome by my invitation only and never forced to be my bed partner. Sometimes she prefers to sleep downstairs with Sanchez, who just isn’t the cuddly type. I couldn’t pay him with treats to sleep with me, and that’s fine too.
How about you? Do your pets sleep with you? What are some of the benefits and downsides that you have found? Thanks for sharing your experiences in a comment below.