It's Time to Kick Fido Out -- of Bed, That Is

From Drugs.com - September 12, 2017

It's Time to Kick Fido Out -- of Bed, That Is

TUESDAY, Sept. 12, 2017 -- It's time to reclaim your bed and send your pets packing -- at least at night.

Your sleep may be more compromised if your dog is in your bed, though this is not the case if Fido is simply in your bedroom, according to a new study from the Mayo Clinic.

"The question is, where do the animals sleep, and does it affect the human?" explained study author Dr. Lois Krahn of the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix.

"I found there are all sorts of different patterns. Most people are pretty loyal and accept their pet. They do not want to complain about their pet bothering them at night. And, my belief is, more people have more than one pet and that just multiplies the possibility for there being a problem," said Krahn, a sleep medicine specialist.

The small study focused on 40 pet owners with a single dog in their bedroom. The researchers evaluated the amount of sleep and wake times over seven days.

The study participants comprised mostly women (88 percent). The average age was approximately 44 years old.

Humans wore an activity monitor on their wrist to detect both movement and light. They also kept a sleep diary.

Dogs wore a "FitBark" activity monitor that detected movement only. Pet owners were not given access to their dog's activity data so as to not affect the outcome.

Researchers concluded that a human's sleep efficiency was higher and wakefulness after sleep began was lower when the dog was in the room, but not in the bed.

The quality of the dog's sleep did not change based on its location.

"To me it's like the whole caffeine thing," said Dr. W. Christopher Winter, president of Charlottesville Neurology and Sleep Medicine in Virginia.

"People tell me all the time that they could drink a pot of coffee before they go to bed and it does not affect their sleep, but my guess is it does, and they just are not aware of it. It's making their sleep, which could be 100 percent, 85 percent," he said.

"I often say that we are very good at saying our sleep is better or our sleep is worse in some situations, but we are not really good at saying our sleep is normal. Because, for some people, if you have been sleeping with a dog in your bed for 20 years, what is normal? You do not even know anymore, to some extent," explained Winter, who was not involved with the study.


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