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Want to Manage Stress and Anxiety at Night? Sleep With Your Pet

Research reveals people who share a bed with their pet feel like they sleep better.
Photo: Shutterstock

If it seems indulgent to snooze with your pet, don’t lose any more sleep over it. Turns out, people who co-sleep with their pets may reap the benefits of better rest.

A survey of 2,000 American pet owners discovered that seven in 10 believe they get better quality sleep when their pet is in bed with them at night. Half (51 percent) even reported having a pet in bed helps them manage their stress and anxiety.

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Overall, 47 percent of pet owners note it’s easier to settle in for the night when their pet is next to them, and 42 percent said the company also makes them feel more secure.

Forty-three percent said they actually prefer to have their pets with them as a source of “white noise.”

In fact, the study, commissioned by mattress company Sealy and conducted by OnePoll, confirmed that most people (nearly 80 percent) treat their pets like humans, and 66 percent allow their animal family members to sleep on their bed with them.

While over half (54 percent) of individuals said they allow their pets in bed specifically because they’re considered family, 58 percent of those in relationships would prefer to share their bed with their pets versus their partners.

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“Having a good night’s rest is crucial to our overall health and wellbeing,” says Brent Pfister, senior vice president of marketing at Sealy. “As shown by this study, co-sleeping with pets can bring a sense of security and can help people and their pets settle in easier for bedtime. However, many people sleeping with their pets experience interrupted nighttime sleep and so may also be sacrificing overall sleep quality and some of the more physical benefits gained from a night of good sleep.”

In fact, while the study found owners may feel their sleep is better when shared with a pet, this could be a pet placebo. Owners reported their pets disrupt their sleep an average of at least two nights per week, and nearly a quarter of respondents said their animal companions’ restlessness “always” wakes them up in the middle of the night.

And although 57 percent of owners describe their animal friend as the perfect “bed warmer,” separate research by Sealy found that 62 percent of U.S households report feeling overheated while sleeping as a common disruptor to getting a good night’s sleep.

When it comes to sleep schedules, two-thirds of respondents admit their pet’s internal clock is better than theirs, with many pets acting as alarm clocks in the mornings.

Meanwhile, roughly the same percentage (64 percent) said their pets also have a self-assigned nightly bedtime, which they also use to set their own sleep schedule, with 57 percent of pet owners reporting their own bedtime is impacted when their pet decides to go to sleep.

“There are several relatively easy steps people can add to their sleep routine to get the high-quality sleep they need,” says Pfister. “The first two suggestions are limiting exposure to disruptive blue light from phones and TVs before bed, and as much as possible, going to bed and waking up around the same time every day. From there, a high-quality mattress may help both regulate temperature and reduce motion transfer, both of which go a long way when Fido wants to snuggle.”

Looking for more ways to get a good night’s rest? Check out Sleep Solutions: How to Sleep Better and 5 Easy Ways to Naturally Get a Better Night’s Sleep.

About The Author
julieKeller_author-1

Julie is the co-founder of Well Defined and a longtime influencer and advocate in the wellness world. Along with her work at Well Defined, she is an executive recruiter and marketing specialist for Hutchinson Consulting. She is also a consultant and content strategist for numerous wellness brands. She is the former editor-in-chief and publisher of American Spa and was named a 2019 Folio Top Woman in Media in the Industry Trailblazers category and a 2018 winner of ISPA’s Innovate Award. She is also a seasoned journalist, specializing in spa, travel, health, fitness, wellness, sustainability, and beauty. She has been published in Departures, ForbesTraveler.com, E! Online, Gayot.com, Insider’s Guide to Spas, Luxury Travel Advisor, Marin Magazine, Ocean Home, Smart Meetings, Spa Asia, and Travel Agent.