For many animal owners, it is a daily ritual: the pet - in Germany these are most likely dogs and cats - is allowed to go under the covers in the evening or at least on the edge of the mattress to hang out with their owner at the same time to go to sleep.
But what influence do four-legged friends have on people's sleep quality? Some studies in recent years initially assume a number of positive effects on the quality of sleep. In 2015, the US Mayo Sleep Clinic examined the effects of animals in bed with 150 participants. Almost half said they had pets, 41 percent even said they had several. 56 percent of pet owners allowed their pets to sleep in the bedroom. A fifth described it as annoying, while 41 percent described it as unobtrusive or even sleep-inducing.
In 2018, animal researcher Professor Christy L. Hoffmann surveyed almost a thousand women living in the USA about sleep quality and pets. Result: The quality of sleep with a dog in bed is significantly better. However, human partners and cats did not contribute to sleep improvements.
According to a study from March of this year, although pets in the bedroom can provide a feeling of security - which certainly contributes to general well-being - on the other hand, if you share a bed with them, this can quickly lead to sleepless nights.
Finally, the Uppsala Sleep Science Laboratory in Sweden found in its own study that more individual factors played a role: "The age of the pet has a big influence [...] If you have several pets, they can incite each other," says researcher involved in the study Lieve van Egmond.
However, with dogs, she adds, it depends largely on the breed and the level of activity they need. However, you can ensure that your pet receives plenty of physical activity and mental stimulation. These are also crucial factors for the rest of the animals and therefore also the owners.
Sources: Mayo Clinic, Prof. Hoffmann