In November 2018, a study was published regarding the habits of women sleeping with pets and people.
I already knew that women slept better with dogs. Cats and people don’t love you the way your dogs do.
The study was “An Examination of Adult Women’s Sleep Quality and Sleep Routines in Relationship to Pet Ownership and Bedsharing” by Christy L. Hoffman, Kaylee Stutz & Terrie Vasilopoulos **
The study included nine-hundred-sixty-two women who slept with cats, dogs, humans or some combination of the three. All but seven percent of the participants had a pet that slept in their bed. The women in the study perceived less disturbance and a stronger sense of comfort sleeping with dogs than with either cats or humans.
“Dog owners had earlier bedtimes and wake times than individuals that had cats but no dogs.”
Dog owners going to bed earlier makes sense. If you ever owned a dog, you know that the dogs wake up early and need to walk outside to do its business. This walk takes place every day, no matter the weather. Rain, sleet, snow, hail whatever: the dog wants to walk — with you. The worse the weather, the longer the dog takes and the farther you and the dog will walk. However far you walk away from your home is the same distance you must walk back.
Post the walk; dog owners must prepare for their day. Now the owners must take their shower, get dressed, drink coffee, eat an on-the-run breakfast as they head out to work. Yes, dog owners go to bed early and get up early.
Cats use their litter box that sits somewhere in the house. Cat owners are sleeping in.
“Compared with human bed partners, dogs who slept in humans’ beds, were perceived to disturb sleep less and were associated with a stronger feeling of comfort or security.”
Sleeping with dogs provided better more restful sleep. Sleeping with cats and humans did not provide such security. Sleeping with cats can be dangerous as a cat will not hesitate to sleep on your face. Also, some cats will lick down the hair on their owner’s head while they are sleeping.
“Conversely, cats who slept in their owners’ bed were equally to be equally disruptions human partners and were associated with weaker feelings of comfort and security than both human and dog bed partners.”
Our Maine Coon kitten licked my head so well one night I woke up looking like I had on a shiny cat-spit helmet. The kitten was contently curled into my shoulder when I woke up having accomplished its goal of making me wash my hair three times to get the cat-spit out when I showered. I had weaker feelings of comfort and security that morning.
Anyone who owns a cat knows they don’t care a whit about their owner’s sleep. Cat owners never feed their cat in the early morning. Once a cat has been fed at a certain time that cat will disturb your sleep until you wake up and provide cat food at that time. In fact, the cat will wake you up earlier and earlier until you are feeding the cat at 1 a.m.
Human partners can be disruptive sleepers with snoring, tumbling, going for a late-night snack, looking to get lucky and getting in and out of bed for bathroom runs.
If you have ever slept with a dog, you know that they are warm and soft. Dogs move as close to you as possible. They will slide underneath you placing a portion of their body next to your body.
A friend of mine has five dogs. Every night the dogs compete to determine who can get the closest to her body as she heads to bed (early). She is buried under love. Her dogs care: she is warm and protected — not a bad place to be.
The link to the page is directly below.
Christy L. Hoffman, Kaylee Stutz & Terrie Vasilopoulos (2018) An Examination of Adult Women’s Sleep Quality and Sleep Routines about Pet Ownership and Bedsharing, Anthrozoös, 31:6, 711–725, DOI: 10.1080/08927936.2018.1529354
People in many parts of the world commonly share their beds not only with human partners but also with dogs and cats. Self-report and actigraphy data have shown that sleeping with an adult human partner has both positive and negative impacts on human sleep, but there has been little exploration of the impacts that pets have on human sleep quality. We collected survey data online from 962 adult women living in the United States to investigate relationships between pet ownership and human sleep. Fifty-five percent of participants shared their bed with at least one dog and 31% with at least one cat. In addition, 57% of participants shared their bed with a human partner. Our findings did not show a strong relationship between pet ownership status or bedsharing conditions and sleep quality as assessed by the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), although according to this measure, a high percentage of study participants did experience sleep quality deficits. It is possible that pet ownership contributed to the high global PSQI scores we observed, especially since all but 7% of participants resided with dogs and/or cats. Other measures included in this study indicate that dogs and cats, and where they sleep, may indeed affect sleep habits and perceptions of sleep quality. Dog owners had earlier bedtimes and wake times than individuals who had cats but no dogs. Compared with human bed partners, dogs who slept in the owner’s bed were perceived to disturb sleep less and were associated with stronger feelings of comfort and security. Conversely, cats who slept in their owner’s bed were reported to be equally as disruptive as human partners and were associated with weaker feelings of comfort and security than both human and dog bed partners. Follow-up research is necessary to determine if pet owners’ perceptions of pets’ impacts on their sleep align with objective measures of sleep quality.
Keywords: cats, companion animals, dogs, human–animal interaction, pets, sleep habits, sleep quality
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