Have a Pet And Can't Sleep? Maybe It's the . . . . Pet

I came very close today to getting two dogs.  Me, who's never had a dog in her life!  But I met a rescue activist who found two adorable bichon frises roaming the streets of my town, collarless, chipless, and starving, so she picked them up and told me about them.

I was a little nervous -- what do I know about dogs except that I've grown to love them?! -- and they'd really be good for my son, who has no siblings.  But I said yes, only to be called later in the day and told someone else who'd seen them first claimed them when she heard I wanted them, too (isn't that always the way?).

There's still a chance this person may change her mind -- she took the dogs (who are brothers) for a test drive to see how they got along with her three other dogs this weekend and if they all don't get along. . . .

But then I started reading about how pets really can disturb your slumber.

According to newswise.com, while countless pet owners peacefully sleep with a warm pet nearby, a new Mayo Clinic study finds an increase in the number of people experiencing sleep disturbances because of their pets.

The disturbances by pets that patients reported included snoring, whimpering, wandering, the need to “go outside” and medical needs.

An earlier study published in 2002 reported that, of patients who visited the clinic’s sleep center and owned pets, only one percent reported any inconvenience from their pets at night, newswise reports. "The new study shows a larger number of patients — 10 percent in 2013 — reported annoyance that their pets sometimes disturbed their sleep."

“The study determined that while the majority of patients did not view their pets intolerably disturbing their sleep, a higher percentage of patients experienced irritation — this may be related to the larger number of households with multiple pets,” says Lois Krahn, M.D., Mayo Clinic psychiatrist and author of the study. “When people have these kinds of sleep problems, sleep specialists should ask about companion animals and help patients think about ways to optimize their sleep.”

Does that mean the doghouse for your doggie?  Not necessarily.   I had a very hard time training my toddler to fall asleep by himself so I'm sure I'd be just as lousy at doing that with dogs.  But I'm sure, if you can muster up enough determination, you can do it.  We'll see.


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