HEALTH AND WELLNESS
It's never too late to paws and breathe.
BEDTIME is a tricky thing for people with pets. Many of us have cheeky bedspacers who shamelessly take up a lion's share of the mattress. But they take more than that, something more valuable from their owners: a proper sleep.
Admit it or not, pets sleeping in the same room or bed as their humans have some disadvantages. This was a key finding in a recent study done by the Associated Professional Sleep Societies in the United States: pets disturb sleep.
A survey of 298 patients at a family practice clinic found that half of them sleep with pets with about a third of them saying their pets wake them up at least once per night. Dogs, especially the big breeds, tend to snore loudly. Some even bark when they are dreaming. Cats, on the other hand, tend to jump on and off the bed several times at night for various reasons only a cat-dominated person would acquiesce to.
The Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School has pointed out that lack of adequate sleep can affect judgment, mood, ability to learn and retain information, and may increase the risk of serious accidents and injury. They even went as far as blaming poor quality of sleep to obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even early mortality.
Call it crazy, but most pet lovers won't have their sleeping arrangement any other way. Those who sleep with their dogs feel more secure when their four-legged protectors are near although they sleep with total abandon. Those who sleep with cats love the calming sound of purrs and just how cute they look when they completely zone out.
Another attraction of keeping pets in bed is they provide some well-calibrated heat. In cold nights, it's nice to sleep with a pet with body temperature that runs three to six degrees warmer than a person.
If you are one of those people who have completely lost or surrendered the battle for bed domination to a pet, there may still be one option left for you to take: the couch. But if that, too, has been conquered and colonized by an intrepid pet as spoils of war, then take heart in the fact that you are a good person who cares for your pets a bit much. But that's okay. To borrow a line from William Shakespeare in Romeo and Juliet: “Where care lodges, sleep will never lie.” -- MetroPets
* Veterinarians concerned about rising pet obesity cases