Co-Sleeping Proved Beneficial for Both You and Your Pet
written by/ November 12, 2021
A recently published Sleep Health Journal study on co-sleeping between children and pets challenges the traditional belief that sharing your bed with a furry family member worsens sleep quality.
Even though our sleep cycles and those of our cats and dogs are incompatible in terms of duration, this didn’t seem to affect the children’s sleep quality parameters in this study.
Namely, 30% to 50% of American adults and children regularly share their beds with their pets. Given how widely popular this trend is, such studies are highly necessary to determine whether snuggling next to your pet at night is beneficial to your health.
For this purpose, 188 children aged 11 to 17 were divided into three categories depending on how often they co-slept with their pets—never, sometimes, and frequently.
Surprisingly, the fact that pets often get up before we do and move more didn’t negatively affect the children’s sleep parameters the slightest.
Polysomnography testing and actigraphy were both employed in the process. In addition, children were required to keep a sleep diary.
Interestingly, despite there being virtually no differences between the three groups of children, there was a significant distinction expressed in their sleep diaries (subjective sleep quality). In other words, children that slept with pets were more likely to say they slept better than those who didn’t, despite what their polysomnography tests showed.
What’s more, co-sleeping between humans and pets can apparently strengthen their bond. It leads to higher levels of oxytocin and dopamine (simply put, chemicals of attachment and love) in both parties.
In line with these findings, many other studies have shown that having your pet around can even be more effective than using a potent natural sleep aid, both for tackling chronic pain and evoking comfort and security.
The emotional comfort pets provide might prove remarkably beneficial in warding off stress and sleep disturbances caused by anxiety and depression.