MINNEAPOLIS -- Sorry, pet lovers: Sharing a bed with a furry friend is officially bad for your sleep.
Among pet owners who slept with their four-legged companions, 30 percent reported waking up because of their pets at least once a night, according to new research. Of those pet owners who shared a bed with Fido or Fluffy more than four nights a week, 63 percent had poor sleep quality. And 5 percent said they always or almost always had trouble falling back to sleep after being disturbed by a pet.
The research, presented in a poster at SLEEP 2014, the 28th annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, is the first of its kind, Dr. Sowjanya Duthuluru M.D., told The Huffington Post. When it comes to co-sleeping, previous studies have focused on sharing a bed with a romantic partner or with a young child, she said. Anecdotally, pets have long been known to disrupt sleep, whether it was due to their barks and meows, animated dreams of chasing cars or allergic reactions they might trigger.
Duthuluru and colleagues asked 300 patients to answer 17 questions about their pets (or lack thereof) and their quality of sleep. Of the 300, 148 were pet owners. More than half, 54 percent, of the pet owners shared their beds or bedrooms with a furry friend. The investigators found no significant difference between ages or genders of the pet owners, or between owning a dog or a cat.
However, it wasn't all bad news. Some pet owners reported feeling comforted by the presence of their pets, Duthuluru told The Huffington Post. The poster called for further research into the effects of co-sleeping with pets on sleep quality.