Why your pet could be ruining your sleep

If you’re constantly dog-tired, your dog may be to blame.

A study has shown that dog owners are more likely to have sleep disorders or difficulty falling asleep than households without dogs.

Similarly, people with a cat were at greater risk for nighttime shocks that can disrupt their sleep.

Dr. Lauren Wisnieski, of Lincoln Memorial University, Tennessee, looked at data from more than 5,000 people and found that pet owners were significantly more likely to report poor sleep quality.

“On the one hand, dogs and cats can be beneficial to an owner’s sleep quality because of the social support pets provide — pets provide a sense of security and companionship, which can result in improvements in levels of anxiety, stress and depression,” she said.

“But on the other hand, pets can disturb their owners’ sleep.”

Cats are more active at night

The study analyzed responses to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted in 2005-2006.

The results showed that dog owners were 37 percent more likely to report sleep problems and 39 percent more likely to say they had a sleep disorder compared to people without a dog.

Cat owners were 41 percent more likely to experience knee strikes compared to non-cat owners

Dr. Wisnieski suggests that the differences in the association between sleep quality and cat versus dog ownership may be because cats tend to be more active at night.

She also found that there were fewer differences in sleep quality indicators between cat and non-cat owners compared to dog and non-dog owners.

The study did not ask whether owners let their dogs or cats sleep in their beds.

Dr. Wisnieski said: “If the causal relationship is established through further research, the results will have implications for clinicians’ recommendations for treating patients with poor sleep quality.

“In addition, educational resources can be developed to inform pet owners about the risks of sleep disturbances and suggest possible solutions, such as cratering the pet or restricting access to the bedroom at night.

“In the future, studies would benefit from measuring the bond between humans and animals so we can understand how its strength affects sleep quality.”

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