This is why it’s best to keep your dog or cat out of the bedroom. By Dawn Chen
Photo: Alena Ozerova / www.123rf.com
Just the other week, a close friend quipped that the first thing he associated me with was… cats. I am a huge cat lover, and I have no qualms about going out of my way to buy treats and toys for my family’s cat back home. I spend a lot of time playing with and pampering my cat, and he is seen as a family member. He gets free roam of the house, and is barred from only a few places: the bedrooms.
Having learnt the hard way with my previous cat, I’ve come to realise that as much as it is endearing, sleeping with a pet is also highly disruptive. My previous cat (who has sadly passed on) used to sleep with me, taking up space at the foot of my bed. He’d fall asleep lightning fast, and I’d curl up into a ball for fear of nudging him and waking him. Sometimes, he’d even start snoring – yes, cats can snore. This nightly routine would then be punctuated by a rudely early wake-up time at 5am when he got up and scratched the door to be let out. Cats don’t require nearly as much sleep as humans do, and I’d get up feeling super groggy the next morning thanks to a night of interrupted rest.
In a new Mayo Clinic study, researchers have proven that I wasn’t alone. Their results showed that there have been an increasing number of people reporting sleep disturbances because of their pets. “The study determined that while the majority of patients did not view their pets intolerably disturbing their sleep, a higher percentage of patients experienced irritation – this may be related to the larger number of households with multiple pets,” says Dr Lois Krahn, Mayo Clinic psychiatrist and author of the study.
According to the study, the disturbances by pets included snoring, whimpering, wandering, the need to “go outside” and medical needs. This is bad news for pet owners, especially since previous studies have found that interrupted sleep may affect your mood and body even more than shorter sleep. When you constantly wake up in the middle of the night, you’re unable to enter deep sleep, the stage of sleep where cell repair and maintenance takes place. Take note and keep your cat or dog in a separate room tonight!