Your Pet Can Be Wrecking Your Sleep

By Medscape Staff

April 28, 2023

While owning a pet has long been associated with comfort and stress reduction, your pet may be disrupting your sleep and causing sleep disorders, according to research conducted at Lincoln Memorial University.

What to know:

  • Having a pet dog or cat is associated with more restless nights and sleep disorders than for those living without a pet.

  • The negative effects on sleep quality from owning a pet can be due to differing circadian rhythms and possible disruptions during the night from nocturnal habits of pets.

  • Having a dog was associated with a greater chance of having a sleep disorder and having trouble sleeping while having a cat was associated with a higher chance of experiencing leg jerks during sleep but there were fewer differences in sleep quality indicators between cat and non-cat owners compared with dog and non-dog owners.

  • Still, dogs and cats may be beneficial for an owner's quality of sleep due to the pet's ability to reduce stress and improve levels of anxiety and depression as well as offering a sense of security and companionship.

  • Some pet owners may experience more positive sleep qualities due to a stronger human–animal bond compared to those with a weaker human–animal bond due to the comfort and social support associated with caring for a pet.

This is a summary of the article, "The association of pet ownership and sleep quality and sleep disorders in United States adults," published March 17 in the journal Human-Animal Interactions. The full article can be found on the CABI website.

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