Insomnia is a widespread issue among today’s culture. We all have too many things on our minds, our to-do lists, and our plates. While worry and restlessness are definitely an impediment to a good night’s sleep, did you know that your beloved pooch might also be responsible for your lackluster days after fitful nights?
A new study by the Mayo Clinic Center for Sleep Medicine presented this week at the 29th Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies says that pets (dogs and cats) pose a problem to many pet owners who have trouble sleeping. About 10 percent of the sleep center’s patients say their pets that slumber in their beds at night keep them from sleeping well. The most common causes are “whimpering, wandering, snoring, the need to ‘go outside,’ and even seizures.”
Just the other day I was talking with a friend about how my black lab Django does just that; she prevents me from getting a good rest on many nights, but it’s not for any of the reasons above. She does actually snore, and often quite loudly, but that doesn’t bother me. She doesn’t get up to be let out at night. Quite the opposite, she waits until I go to bed and happily jumps in, not leaving the bed until I get up in the morning. Yet what she does is take up so much room in our bed that I find myself curled up or with my legs off to the side just to accommodate her. Then I’ll have a sore back or be tired from tossing and turning all night. Django will not move during the night, and it feels like her skinny 50-pound frame turns to 100-pounds plus because I simply cannot move her once she’s down for the count. Yes, I know I can teach her to sleep in another spot, but this has become such a habit that I think she truly believes she belongs nowhere else but our bed at night. She has slept with us since her first week home three years ago.
Dr. Lois Krahn, a Mayo Clinic psychiatrist says, “The study determined that while the majority of patients did not view their pets intolerably disturbing their sleep, a higher percentage of patients experienced irritation — this may be related to the larger number of households with multiple pets.”
I can attest to the fact that while I do find it irritating (some days more than others) for Django to hog our bed at night, I haven’t yet found it intolerable. I suppose if I ever do, I will cave and get her her own bed, and then hopefully teach her to sleep in it. Of course we could always upgrade to a king-size, too!
Do your pets sleep in your bed? Do you find it intolerable or just irritating?
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