To anyone who’s ever spent the night curled up in a teeny corner of the bed while the pet is comfortably sprawled out, this should come as no surprise: According to an article in BusinessWeek, The American Pet Products Association (APPMA) reports that over 42 percent of dogs now sleep in the same bed as their owners, up from 34 percent in 1998.
What’s more, in a pet sleep study conducted by the Mayo Clinic, researchers found more than half of the patients seeking consultations at their sleep clinic are pet owners complaining of nightly sleep disturbances by their pets, caused by things like snoring, barking, whining, meowing, cover hogging or paw licking, or other things.
OKAY, SO DOES IT REALLY MATTER THAT WE’RE TIRED AND CRANKY THE NEXT DAY?
The lack of high-quality sleep affects all of one’s systems, including immune, nervous, skeletal and muscular. In fact, I was recently told about a study done by the Archives of Internal Medicine where over 150 people were given the rhino (common cold) virus; those who got less than 7.0 hours of sleep per night were three times more likely to contract the virus than those who got adequate sleep.
Lack of sleep can also affect your weight by directly affecting three hormones that control appetite and regulate stress and energy balance.
- Cortisol is one of the stress “fight or flight” hormones. It’s a good thing in moderation, but too much elevates glucose and appetite, often resulting in those ever-thickening waistlines.
- Ghrelin, which increases appetite, and becomes elevated when you’re sleep deprived.
- Leptin, however, suppresses appetite and moderates energy balance, and you want more of this—but as your sleep amounts are decreased, so is the leptin.
Sleeping with our pets is like sleeping with warm, furry pillows and it can be one of the most pleasurable experiences ever—but you do need to cohabitate peacefully, and your dog can learn this. If you have pet-related sleep problems, it might be a good idea to contact a professional trainer.
Irene Ross, CHHC, AADP, is a wellness educator for BOTH the 4-legged and 2-legged.\
She is a writer, editor, public relations and social media professional who writes frequently on pet wellness. Her websites are: www.ifrmarketingcommunications.com and http://www.irenefross.com.