A recent study suggests that sleeping alongside a cat or dog may help you wake up feeling more rested.
The study, conducted by a research team at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona, involved a survey of 150 patients of the facility’s Center for Sleep Medicine. Among the questions on the survey included those pertaining to sleeping locations, quality of sleep, and whether or not participants allowed their pets to sleep beside them. Of the respondents, 56% reported that they shared their bed or bedroom with their cat or dog. Of those, 41% reported that they believed their pet helped them to sleep better while only 20 percent reported that their pets disrupted their sleep.
The results of the study are particularly interesting when compared to those of a 2014 Mayo Clinic study that found that over half of its sleep clinic patients reported disturbed sleep because of their pets.
So which is it? Do pets in bed improve (human) sleep quality? If so, why would the 2014 findings differ so much? One of the recent study’s researchers has a theory.
“Respondents described feeling secure, content and relaxed when their pet slept nearby. The value of these experiences, although poorly understood, cannot be dismissed because sleep is dependent on a state of physical and mental relaxation.”
— Lois Krahn, Psychiatrist, the Mayo Clinic
The study’s results have been corroborated by other recent studies, including one published this year by researchers at the University of Alberta and the University of Calgary.