18 April 2016

Do you allow pets in your bed?

Hygiene debates aside, a new survey published in journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings (Krahn et al., 2015) suggests having a pet in bed may benefit some people’s sleep. Of the 150 pet owners interviewed, over half allowed their pets into the bedroom with 41% of that group saying there was no disruption to sleep. Indeed some people claimed it to aid sleep, providing relaxation, security, companionship and even bed warming.

Recognising the potential for bias in positive responses, the researchers state that sleep is dependent on a state of physical and mental relaxation, so indeed it must be true that some pet owners sleep better with their beloved animal next to them. Many pet owners view companion animals as family members that they wish to bring into as many aspects of their life as possible.

It is long known that animals can tap into calm and well-being in people. Pet therapy has a huge impact in elderly care homes and tactile stimulation can enable some memories, however fleeting, to return to previous pet owners now suffering from neurological disorders. We should encourage more interaction with animals and the elderly – maybe not for a sleepover, but certainly to stimulate and build relationships with.

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