It’s been long known and often clinically proven that having a pet is good for you, both mentally and physically.
Animals help people deal with illness and stress and dogs can even smell when you have a serious disease before the onset of symptoms.
People live longer and healthier with a pet in their lives. But not in their beds.
At the annual 2014 SLEEP conference of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies (APSS) in Minneapolis, Sowjanya Duthuluru, MD presented research on human and pet co-sleeping. In the study, 300 people of both sexes and varied ages completed questionnaires about their pets and quality of sleep.
Not all in the study were pet owners and there was a mix of dogs and cats among the type of pet. More than half of those with pets said their animals share the bed or sleep in the same room. The sleep quality of 63 percent of pet owners was reported as poor.
While having a pet is calming and soothing, sleeping together or close-by can disturb your sleep through the animal’s movement or sound. Additionally, such close proximity can induce allergic reactions.
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Benefits of Having Pets
Dogs and cats especially have been domesticated over thousands of years to be companions to humans. They help in both practical and intangible ways, from bringing in another animal for eating to offering comfort in a time of sorrow. Animals’ senses are different and most much keener than ours; dogs can be our eyes and ears and can be trained to detect seizures . Cats keep our homes pest-free. They provide comfort and unconditional love; having a pet lowers blood pressure and decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.
In a Japanese study in 2011 , a Labrador retriever was able to detect colorectal cancer as well as a colonoscopy did. Dogs are used to sniff out bombs, drugs, and lost people. Cats’ natures are different from dogs—hence the idiom, “like herding cats”. They are intelligent and trainable but most people don’t bother trying. It’s enough that they will sit on your lap and purr. The purring alone is soothing and makes cleaning the litterbox worthwhile.
Pets provide companionship and unending entertainment. Other pets like snakes, hamsters, birds, and fish can have similar psychological impact but don’t interact with humans in quite the same way as dogs and cats.
Good quality sleep is crucial to your health and well-being and many people don’t get enough of it. The impact is significant. So while having a pet is a wonderful thing, sleeping with one isn’t. Save the cuddling for another time of day, maybe when you first come home after a day at work or school; you’re both happy to see each other and can use a little lovin’.