A study by the Mayo Clinic, finds an increase in the number of people experiencing sleep disturbances because of their pets. 110 patients at the Mayo Clinic Center for Sleep Medicine in Arizona provided information about pets at night as part of a comprehensive sleep survey. It was determined that whether it be because of snoring, whimpering, wandering, the need to "go outside," or medical needs, 10 percent of those who visited the center, reported annoyance with their pets sometimes disturbing their sleep. This is a huge increase from their previous 2002 study, where only 1 percent reported such complaints.
The study concluded that the majority of patients did not view their pets disturbing their sleep as intolerable, but more as an irritation. The higher numbers may also be related to the larger number of households with multiple pets. The survey indicated that 46 percent of the patients had pets, and 42 percent of those had more than one pet. The most popular pets were dogs, cats and birds. Lois Krahn, M.D., Mayo Clinic psychiatrist and author of the study, says that those affected should consult sleep specialists who can help patients figure out ways to optimize their sleep.
While most pet owners sleep well with a warm pet nearby, sleep disturbances should be addressed and resolved, because sleep is a vital part of good health, and a healthy, rested pet owner, is a better and happier pet owner.