Sleeping with a pet: how does it affect your health and theirs?

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Sleep­ing with your beloved pet is fun, enjoy­able and relax­ing. But is it dan­ger­ous for health? Can I take a dog, cat or oth­er ani­mal into my bed? Experts say.

“Master, I’m with you!”

Even if a per­son does not intend to share his bed with a pet, the lat­ter may have his own opin­ion on this mat­ter. And if he does not lie down next to him when the own­er goes to rest, he will def­i­nite­ly knock out a “place in the sun” for him­self when he falls asleep.

And inter­est­ing­ly, it will have a good effect on his health!

“Pets that share a bed with their own­er tend to have a clos­er bond with the per­son who cares for them. Sleep­ing with the own­er speaks of a high degree of trust in him, says the vet­eri­nar­i­an Dana Var­ble. “Dogs and cats that sleep with their own­ers also have addi­tion­al health ben­e­fits, includ­ing increased lev­els of joy and feel-good hor­mones in the body.”

Do oth­er ani­mal species ben­e­fit from sleep­ing with their own­er?

Vet­eri­nar­i­an Dana Var­ble I’m sure not — “with very rare excep­tions.”

How does sleeping with a pet affect a person?

How does sleeping with a pet affect a person?

If it is use­ful for cats and dogs to share a bed with a “two-legged friend”, then this is not always ben­e­fi­cial for a per­son.

“Ani­mals can move, bark, or oth­er­wise inter­fere with a person’s sleep. In cats and dogs, sleep is not con­tin­u­ous, they will inevitably wake up, walk around the bed, pos­si­bly touch­ing their own­er. Ani­mal activ­i­ty leads to frag­men­ta­tion of human sleep,” warns Dr. Vsevolod Polot­skydirec­tor of sleep research and pro­fes­sor at the Fac­ul­ty of Med­i­cine Johns Hop­kins Uni­ver­si­ty School of Med­i­cine.

“These micro-awak­en­ings are dev­as­tat­ing to health, as they bring a per­son out of deep sleep,” adds Kris­ten Knut­sonassis­tant pro­fes­sor of neu­rol­o­gy and pre­ven­tive med­i­cine North­west­ern Uni­ver­si­ty’s Fein­berg School of Med­i­cine. “Experts have linked them to the release of the stress hor­mone cor­ti­sol, which can make sleep even more shal­low.”

How­ev­er, there are also stud­ies that prove that hav­ing a pet in the bed­room can be ben­e­fi­cial for peo­ple.

“Peo­ple with depres­sion or anx­i­ety symp­toms can ben­e­fit from sleep­ing with a pet because many pets are one big pil­low or blan­ket. When peo­ple sleep with them, they may feel like their pets are tak­ing away their anx­i­ety and anx­i­ety,” says sleep spe­cial­ist Dr. Raj Das­gup­taAsso­ciate Pro­fes­sor of Clin­i­cal Med­i­cine Keck School of Med­i­cine at the Uni­ver­si­ty of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia.

On a note!

​In 2017, spe­cial­ists mayo Clin­ics Cen­ter for Sleep Med­i­cine an inter­est­ing study was ini­ti­at­ed. Accord­ing to its results, it was revealed that more than half of the peo­ple observed in the clin­ic take their pets to bed. At the same time, they believe that their pet is “unob­tru­sive and even good for sleep.”

But 20% of those sur­veyed admit­ted that their fur­ry friends inter­fere with their sleep and wors­en the qual­i­ty of a night’s rest.

What else do the studies say?

What else do the studies say?

To under­stand in detail the ques­tion of whether it is use­ful to sleep with your pet or not, sci­en­tists from dif­fer­ent parts of the world took it. A lot of research has been done on var­i­ous aspects of human life. What con­clu­sions did you get?

In a 2017 study, sci­en­tists installed sleep track­ers on dogs and their own­ers to mea­sure how well they get rest when they sleep in the same room. It turned out that both pets and their own­ers rest at night equal­ly well. How­ev­er, the qual­i­ty of the per­son­’s sleep imme­di­ate­ly dete­ri­o­rat­ed as soon as they moved the dog from the floor to their bed.

In a new 2021 study pub­lished in the jour­nal Sleep Health, sci­en­tists observed ado­les­cents from 13 to 17 years old. They asked them to wear sleep track­ers for two weeks to track the qual­i­ty of their night’s rest. At the same time, about a third of all teenagers slept with their pets. But as the study showed, this did not affect the qual­i­ty of their dreams.

“Teens who fre­quent­ly slept with their pets showed sim­i­lar sleep pro­files com­pared to those who nev­er slept with their pets,” the study authors said.

“All of this is to say that hav­ing pets in a room or bed isn’t such a bad thing,” Dr. Bhanu Prakash Kol­lasleep med­i­cine spe­cial­ist Cen­ter for Sleep Med­i­cine. — Hav­ing your pet around can give you more psy­cho­log­i­cal com­fort, which can improve the qual­i­ty of your sleep. How­ev­er, if patients report that their pet’s move­ments or oth­er activ­i­ties dis­rupt their sleep, we encour­age them to con­sid­er mov­ing their pet to anoth­er loca­tion and see how this affects their night’s rest.”

Who shouldn’t sleep with their pet?

Despite sev­er­al stud­ies sup­port­ing sleep­ing with a pet, some peo­ple should balk at the idea of ​​shar­ing a bed with a pet. And there are good rea­sons for that!

“This is espe­cial­ly harm­ful for patients with insom­nia and oth­er sleep dis­or­ders, peo­ple with a delayed sleep phase (so-called night owls) and patients with sleep apnea, when peo­ple wake up from hold­ing their breath in a dream and can­not fall asleep after­wards,” says the doc­tor. Vsevolod Polot­sky.

Co-sleep­ing with a pet does not nec­es­sar­i­ly cause or cre­ate the con­di­tions for insom­nia. But it can “rein­force” sleep dis­or­ders. After all, every time sleep cycles are inter­rupt­ed, the abil­i­ty of the brain to repair itself at the cel­lu­lar lev­el, cre­ate mem­o­ries and pre­pare the body for pro­duc­tive work in the morn­ing is dis­rupt­ed. In addi­tion, stud­ies show that peo­ple who wake up fre­quent­ly dur­ing the night are at greater risk of devel­op­ing demen­tia, or dying pre­ma­ture­ly from any cause.

At risk are also peo­ple who have a his­to­ry of asth­ma, aller­gies, chron­ic obstruc­tive pul­monary dis­ease (COPD). For them, sleep­ing with a fur­ry pet can turn into tor­ture.

“How­ev­er, my patients with asth­ma or COPD often tell me that their pet does­n’t shed, so doc­tors don’t have to wor­ry. But I always repeat to them: remem­ber that pos­si­ble aller­gens are in the sali­va and on the skin of ani­mals. When you put it in your bed, you’ll be expos­ing your­self to aller­gens for eight hours of sleep a night. This, along with the move­ments of ani­mals, can inter­fere with your sleep,” the doc­tor warns. Vsevolod Polot­sky.

What animals should not be taken into your bed?

What animals should not be taken into your bed?

If every­thing is clear with the usu­al pets — cats and dogs, then is it pos­si­ble to invite oth­er rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the ani­mal world to your bed?

Vet­eri­nar­i­an Dana Var­ble sure it’s not worth it.

“I work with exot­ic pets. Many of them have spe­cif­ic require­ments for the con­tent and safe­ty of being near them. Some of them must be in the aviary. And while I know there are many peo­ple who are very inti­mate with their fer­rets and guinea pigs, these are not the kind of ani­mals to invite into your bed. As well as many oth­ers.”

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It turns out that only cats and dogs get a tick­et to sleep with their own­er. But is this not enough?

By Yraa

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