Almost half of Americans sleep with pets
Many pets become a member of the family. In fact, according to a new survey from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, almost half (46%) of respondents sleep in the same bed with a pet. And while tales of dogs taking up the whole bed and cats sprawling on pillows are common, only about one-fifth (19%) of those who sleep with a pet say they sleep worse with them in bed. In fact, nearly half (46%) of those who sleep with a pet report they sleep better with a furry friend.
The survey also shows that younger Americans are more likely to sleep with a pet—with 53% of Gen Z always, almost always or sometimes sleeping with a pet compared with just 36% of Baby Boomers.
This Pet Appreciation Week (June 5-11), the AASM is highlighting how to ensure healthy sleep with or without your pawed pal.
"Healthy sleep looks different from person to person. Many pet owners take comfort in having pets nearby and sleep better with their companion by their sides," said Dr. Andrea Matsumura, a member of the AASM's Public Awareness Advisory Committee and a sleep specialist in Portland, Oregon. "For most adults, whether you sleep with a pet or not, it is important that you get seven or more hours of restful sleep each night for optimal health."
For pet owners who report worse sleep when snuggling with pets, keep these tips in mind to improve the sleep routine for you and your pet:
- Create a separate, comfortable sleeping space nearby for your pet as an alternative.
- Keep a consistent sleep schedule. Get up at the same time every day, even on weekends or during vacations. Factor in your pet's routine as well, including their walking and eating schedule.
- Make your bedroom quiet and relaxing. Keep the room at a comfortable, cool temperature.
- Limit exposure to bright light in the evenings and turn off electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
- Don't eat a large meal before bedtime. If you are hungry at night, eat a light, healthy snack.
- Exercise regularly and maintain a healthy diet.
Most importantly, create an environment and routine that supports healthy sleep for both you and your pets. The AASM recommends that most adults should get at least seven hours of nightly sleep to promote optimal health. To help select an appropriate bedtime for your schedule, use the AASM's Online Bedtime Calculator.