Have you ever noticed how your furry friend affects your sleep? Whether it’s a cat or a dog, pets have a unique way of influencing our sleep patterns. But have you ever wondered if it’s for the better or worse?
According to the American Pet Products Association, around 67% of American households own a pet. This means that millions of pet owners are sharing their bed with their four-legged companions every night.
But how does this impact our sleep quality or the hours of sleep we get? While some may argue that pets disturb our sleep, studies have shown that they can actually improve it. From providing comfort to reducing stress, pets have several benefits that can help us get a better night’s sleep. In this article, we’ll explore nine fact-driven benefits of having a pet in your bed. So, if you’re a pet owner or considering adopting one, read on to discover how they can positively impact your sleep.
Pets Make Great Sleeping Companions We know that having a dog or cat as a pet is an excellent way to improve your health and well-being. But did you know that these animals can also be great sleeping partners?
This section explores the top reasons why pets make great sleeping companions.
1) Pets Reduce Stress, Anxiety, and Depression
As you may be aware, stress, anxiety, and depression are common sleep inhibitors that can lead to conditions like insomnia, restless leg syndrome, and even heart disease. The good news is that having pets around can reduce these issues by providing comfort and support. For instance, stroking or cuddling with your furry buddy has been proven to prompt the release of feel-good hormones like serotonin, oxytocin, and prolactin. The reward? You’ll feel happier and more relaxed, making it easy to have a shut-eye with little to no sleep issues.
2) Pets Help Keep Us Active
It’s no secret that being active is essential for maintaining healthy sleep patterns. Studies show that regular, moderate physical activity improves sleep quality and duration. It’s also been shown that exercising regularly reduces the risk of developing chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. So if you’re looking to stay fit and healthy, getting extra movement during the day will go a long way towards improving your sleep at night reducing the possibility for poor sleep. And when you add in the benefits of socializing with friends and family, you’ll soon realize just how much time you’ve saved.
3) Pets Provide a Sense of Security
Sometimes, we struggle to fall asleep or have poor sleep due to feelings of restlessness, loneliness, or fear. But that can change when you bring home a new furry friend. Particularly, having a dog by your side at night increases a sense of security and safety. That’s dogs are naturally protective creatures, which means they’ll do their best to protect you from harm. Plus, they’re often very affectionate, so they’ll want to snuggle up close to you when trying to relax. Not to mention, dogs are usually reasonably alert at night, and they won’t hesitate to wake you up if there’s any noise outside.
4) Pets Improve Your Mood
If you’re struggling to cope with life’s challenges, having a pet around can provide you with much-needed emotional support. This could be because owning a pet gives us a sense of purpose and fulfillment. Or perhaps it’s simply because having a companion provides us with a source of unconditional love and acceptance. Either way, this positive effect on our mental state can help us get a better night’s sleep.
5) Pets Decrease Loneliness
Loneliness and social isolation, especially among older adults, are among the top causes of sleep disruption and deprivation. Fortunately, having a pet around can provide that much-needed sense of connection and belonging. Pets are excellent bed-warmers, especially for those who live alone. They’ll keep you company while you sleep and ensure you’re comfortable throughout the night. But besides sleep, pets can also help you tackle loneliness in your daily life by making it effortless to engage in social activities like visiting neighbors or volunteering at local animal shelters.
6) Pets may Help with Bad Dreams
According to sleepeducation.org, 50-80% of adults have, at one point, suffered from nightmares. While these dreams aren’t always bad, they can be distressing and disruptive to your sleep schedule. Fortunately, having a pet around may make it easier to get through the night. So if you find yourself waking up frequently during the night, try bringing your favorite four-legged pal into bed with you.
7) Pets Enhance Comfort in the Bed
It’s not uncommon for us to toss and turn all night long, but that doesn’t mean we should suffer through sleepless nights. Instead, consider adding a pet to your bedroom to give you more comfort and ease. For instance, if you’re suffering from back pain, sleeping on your stomach could aggravate your condition. However, if you have a cat or dog lying next to you, you’ll likely feel more relaxed and comfortable.
8) Pets’ Cuddles is Unmatched
When it comes to cuddling, nothing beats a good old-fashioned hug. And pets are some of the most effective forms of physical touch. Sleeping with your furry buddy after a long day will allow you to connect in ways that words cannot express. Plus, stroking the pet gently can reduce stress and anxiety, making you fall asleep faster and better.
9) Pets Increase the Feeling of Contentment
Nothing is worse than going to sleep worrying about everything you should’ve done differently today. If you’re feeling stressed out, having a pet around might be able to help you unwind and calm down. Pets can decrease cortisol levels (a hormone associated with stress), leading to a better night’s rest.
Key Factors to Consider Before Letting Your Pet into Your Bedroom As much as you want your furry pal to join you in bed every night, there are certain factors you need to consider before allowing them inside.
Here are four critical things to think about:
If you have kids, you know that keeping a clean house is a must. The same goes for pets. If you let your cat or dog sleep in your bedroom, ensure it doesn’t leave any messes behind. This includes hairballs, urine stains, and other odors.
You may not mind hearing your child play downstairs, but you probably wouldn’t appreciate waking up to the sound of barking or yelping. Likewise, if you allow your pet to sleep in your room, ensure they aren’t creating too much noise.
3) Health Concerns
While most animals are generally pretty healthy, there are still some health issues that you should know about. For example, cats and dogs can suffer from feline upper respiratory infections (URIs), which can cause sneezing and coughing. These conditions can lead to excessive drooling, which can stain your sheets and pillows.
Finally, you need to think about how big your pet is. Some breeds require more space than others, so you’ll need to consider their size when planning your bedroom arrangement.
No doubt, having a pet can improve your sleep pattern and quality immensely. We’re talking about reduced stress levels, improved mood, and increased feelings of connectedness and companionship. However, just like anything else, there are pros and cons associated with having a pet in your home. So, before letting your pet into your bedroom, consider the above factors and carefully weigh all options.
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