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HealthBeat

Catching ZZZs with four-legged friends may not disrupt sleep

A new study from the Mayo Clinic is sure to excite those with furry family members.

Researchers looked at sleep quality for people who sleep with their dogs and found that those with pets in their bedrooms aren’t sacrificing sleep quality.

The exception, however, is people who allow their dogs into bed with them.

“Most people assume having pets in the bedroom is a disruption,” said Dr. Lois Krahn, a sleep medicine specialist at the clinic’s Center for Sleep Medicine and an author of the study, in a Mayo Clinic story. “We found that many people actually find comfort and a sense of security from sleeping with their pets.”

Researchers evaluated the sleep of 40 healthy adults without sleep disorders and their dogs over five months. Participants (and their dogs) wore activity trackers to monitor sleep habits for a week.

The study found that people sleeping with one dog in their bedroom maintained good sleep quality. But among those who let their dogs in their bed, sleep quality declined.

“The relationship between people and their pets has changed over time, which is likely why many people in fact do sleep with their pets in the bedroom,” Krahn said in the story. “And, now, pet owners can find comfort knowing it won’t negatively impact their sleep.”

Marissa Harshman

I'm the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian -- my hometown newspaper -- in September 2009. Reach me at marissa.harshman@columbian.com or 360-735-4546.

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