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Cuddling with Pets can Improve Sleep, Study Says

Update Date: Dec 15, 2015 10:36 AM EST

Letting your dogs or cats into the bed can be good for your sleep, a new study reported.

In this study, the researchers from the Center for Sleep Medicine at the Mayo Clinic located in Arizona set out to examine how sleeping with or without pets can affect one's sleeping patterns. The team surveyed 150 people, half of whom owned at least one animal. The participants were patients at the Center.

In the group of pet owners, 56 percent of them either slept with their pets in bed or allowed their pets to sleep in the same room. Out of this group, 41 percent stated that they were able to dream much easier with their pets in the room because their four-legged animals provided "security, companionship or relaxation." 20 percent, on the other hand, stated that their pets were disruptive to their sleep.

The researchers noted that people who slept alone reported feeling safer with an animal next to them.

"Many pet owners view companion animals as family members that they wish to incorporate into as many aspects of their life as possible. Because humans spend considerable time sleeping, a pet owner's desire to have animals close at night is understandable," the study authors wrote. "Some participants in this study identified advantages to having a companion animal in the bedroom or even on the bed. Some respondents described feeling secure, content, and relaxed when their pet slept nearby. This appears to be especially true for single sleepers. The value of these experiences, although poorly understood, cannot be dismissed because sleep is dependent on a state of physical and mental relaxation."

The team concluded that medical professionals who have patients with sleeping problems should inquire about whether or not they have pets and if they sleep with them. Despite finding that the majority of pet owners slept with their pets perfectly fine, pets can still be disruptive, the researchers added.

There are also a lot of other factors, such as allergens and noise that can affect sleep. Since sleep is essential for mental and physical health, people should consider addressing as many factors as they can if they are having problems with their sleep.

For more information on the study, click here.

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