Sleeping with Pets

I’ve never been what anyone would call a ‘good sleeper.’ Even as a child, I had a propensity for whooping it up all night and then sleeping the day away.  This made kindergarten really rough, as I’m sure you can imagine. I cannot say age has improved my sleep. Sure, I’ve recognized the importance of sticking to some sort of ‘schedule’ when it comes to hitting the hay, but there are nights when it takes me hours to drift off—and others where I wake dozens of times.

The cats aren’t much help, either. Between hairball hacking (on the bed, of course), sibling squabbles (again, on the bed) and their innate ability to nudge my limbs into a convoluted arrangement reminiscent of the most elaborate balloon animals (or soft pretzels, yum), they usually ensure that my slumber is less than optimal.

Apparently, I am not alone in this. A survey by the Mayo Clinic Sleep Disorders Center revealed that 53 percent of people who sleep with pets experience some type of disturbance. For some, this means dealing with four-legged territorial bed hogs. For others, the log-sawing interruptions include playful antics, bum-on-face, and digging, snoring or twitching.

But we pet owners love to sleep with our furry friends. A survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association found that 62 percent of cats sleep with adult owners; another 13 percent slumber with children.  Among canines, the results are similar. Sixty-two percent of small dogs, 41 percent of medium-sized dogs and 32 percent of large dogs share a bed with their human parents.

As tired as I may be when that alarm goes off most mornings, I wouldn’t dream of booting my cats from my bed. For me, feline companionship will trump shut-eye every time. How about you?

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