According to the Center for Sleep Medicine at the Mayo Clinic, sleeping with pets in the bedroom can give people better rest at night and even treat insomnia. The research revealed has to do with a sense of security or a way to handle loneliness for both the pet owner and the pet.
The Science Behind Treating Insomnia with Pets
According to NPR, more than 60 million Americans are affected by insomnia every year. This condition is often associated with many other mental health conditions. These include anxiety, depression and ADHD. Mayo Clinic conducted a survey of 150 patients, 75 of which owned a pet. 56% of all surveyed patients said that they let their pets sleep in their bedrooms or on their beds at night.
Pets Gave Patients A Sense of Security
41% of the patients surveyed said that having their pet at their bedside made sleeping more comfortable and more relaxing. Usually, pet owners consider their pets a part of their family. They like to incorporate their pets into as many aspects of their daily life as possible, including sleeping.
Most Pet Owners Like to Keep Pets Close at Night
Since the average person sleeps between eight and nine hours per night, pets usually adopt similar sleeping patterns. Pet owners who took the survey confessed that they feel safer at night with their pet at their bedside. This was particularly true for single patients. A good nights’ sleep requires a certain level of physical and mental relaxation. For many people, pets are a source of relaxation and security at night
Some pets adopt different behaviors. While some adopt the same patterns as their owners, others leave the bedroom in hopes of giving them a better nights’ sleep. A different research study showed that people with sleeping problems had the most trouble sleeping when they had multiple pets or pets in their bedroom.
Cats Are More Likely to Roam Around At Night, But They Could Also Sense Depression
The Mayo Clinic study also revealed that while dogs are more likely to remain at their owner’s side, cats will roam around at night. This is customary feline behavior. There’s a theory that cats can sense depression in their owners through their negative behavior. Despite leaving them alone at night, cats may come to their owners’ side if they can sense negativity. The study didn’t make specifications on other less conventional pets. But the research stands true: your dog or cat can help you sleep better at night.
Antidepressants vs Pets
According to the logic of this study, treating depression and insomnia with a pet may be more effective than antidepressants. Antidepressants most often cause drowsiness, but they have been shown to have many negative effects on patients. While it encourages and regulates the production of serotonin, it tends to take a toll on the patients themselves. Perhaps getting a pet is a better alternative.
Owning a Dog Could Also Keep Children Healthy
Research out of Sweden has also recently revealed that growing up with a dog or with farming animals can decimate the chances of children getting asthma. The research team two large sample groups. One consisted of 376,000 preschool-age children and another with at least 276,200 school-age children.
The study’s goal was to examine how health varied in children who grew up with dogs in their homes. The results confirm that the farming effect is legitimate. Children that grew up with dogs or farm animals were 15% less likely to develop asthma than children who grew up without pets. The research even isolated factors asthma in parents, their area of residence and socioeconomic status, and the results remained strong.