A new study published in the CABI journal Human-Animal Interactions reveals that your lovable pet dog or cat may lead to you having more restless nights than those graced with long periods of peaceful sleep.
The research, led by Dr Lauren Wisnieski of Lincoln Memorial University, USA, focussed specifically on pet ownership in the USA and drew upon data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) conducted in 2005-2006.
Dr Wisnieski, Assistant Professor of Public Health and Research and Affiliation, found that having a dog was associated with greater odds of having a sleep disorder and having trouble sleeping while having a cat was associated with a higher chance of having leg jerks.
While the causal nature of pet ownership on sleep quality and sleep disorders was unable to be established, the results of the study are consistent with previous studies that found that pet ownership has a negative impact on sleep quality.
Dr Wisnieski said, “Prior studies on the association between pet ownership and sleep quality and sleep disorders have varied results.
“On the one hand, dogs and cats may be beneficial for an owner’s quality of sleep due to the social support that pets provide – pets offer a sense of security and companionship, which may result in improvements in levels of anxiety, stress and depression. Yet on the other hand, pets may disrupt their owners’ sleep.
“This cross-sectional study aimed to determine if there is an association between dog and cat ownership and sleep quality and sleep disorders – including consideration of aspects such as snoring, waking up during the night, needing pills to sleep and leg jerks.”
The research built multivariable logistic regression models that also included sleep quality factors such as feeling unrested, feeling sleepy, not getting enough sleep, taking longer than 15 minutes to fall asleep and getting less than six hours of sleep on average.
Dr Wisnieski suggests that the differences in the association of sleep quality and cat verses dog ownership may be because cats tend to be more active at night.
Furthermore, she found that there were fewer differences in sleep quality indicators between cat and non-cat owners compared to dog and non-dog owners.
Dr Wisnieski added, “If the causal relationship is established through further investigation, the results will have implications for clinician recommendations for treating patients with poor sleep quality.
“Additionally, educational resources can be developed to inform pet owners about the risks of sleep disruptions and offer potential solutions, such as crating the pet or restricting access to the bedroom at night.”
In conclusion, the study recognises that there may be potential positive aspects of co-sleeping with a pet but the data obtained from NHANES did not state whether owners indeed slept with their dogs or cats.
“In the future, studies would benefit from measuring the human-animal bond, so that we can understand how the strength of it affects quality of sleep,” Dr Wisnieski added.
Main image: (Credit: Pixabay).
Full paper reference
Medlin, Kayla and Wisnieski, Lauren., ‘The association of pet ownership and sleep quality and sleep disorders in United States adults,’ Human-Animal Interactions, 17 March (2023). DOI: 10.1079/hai.2023.0005
The paper can be read open access from 00:01hrs UK time 17 March, 2023, here: https://www.cabidigitallibrary.org/doi/10.1079/hai.2023.0005
For more information and an advance copy of the paper contact:
Dr Lauren Wisnieski, Assistant Professor of Public Health and Research and Affiliation, Lincoln Memorial University, USA – email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Wayne Coles, Senior PR Manager, CABI – email: email@example.com
About Human—Animal Interactions
Human—Animal Interactions is an open access interdisciplinary journal devoted to the dissemination of research in all fields related to interactions between non-human animals and their human counterparts.
CABI is an international not-for-profit organization that improves people’s lives by providing information and applying scientific expertise to solve problems in agriculture and the environment.
Through knowledge sharing and science, CABI helps address issues of global concern such as improving global food security and safeguarding the environment. We do this by helping farmers grow more and lose less of what they produce, combating threats to agriculture and the environment from pests and diseases, protecting biodiversity from invasive species, and improving access to agricultural and environmental scientific knowledge. Our 49-member countries guide and influence our core areas of work, which include development and research projects, scientific publishing and microbial services.
We gratefully acknowledge the core financial support from our member countries (and lead agencies) including the United Kingdom (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office), China (Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs), Australia (Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research), Canada (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada), Netherlands (Directorate-General for International Cooperation, and Switzerland (Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation). Other sources of funding include programme/project funding from development agencies, the fees paid by our member countries and profits from our publishing activities which enable CABI to support rural development and scientific research around the world.
Method of Research
Subject of Research
The association of pet ownership and sleep quality and sleep disorders in United States adults
Article Publication Date