Children who sleep with their pets are still getting enough rest, researchers say.


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There is a long held belief that putting a pet to bed is a bad idea. Along with clutter, noisy scratches, and allergy induction, the most common claim is that a hairy companion is interfering with sleep.

New research published in the journal Sleep health Tell another story. Researchers at the Concordia Institute for Pediatric Public Health Psychology (PPHP) sleep The quality of the surprising number of children who share a bed with their pets is no different from those who sleep alone.

Lead author of the treatise, Ph.D. said: Student Hillary Rowe. “In fact, children who sleep with their pets often promote good quality sleep.”

Rowe co-authored a treatise with fellow PHPP researchers Denise Jarrin, Neressa Noel, Joanne Ramil, and psychology professor and institute director Jennifer McGrath.

Accidental discovery

The data used by the researchers was discovered in a large study. Healthy Heart Project, longitudinal study Funded by the Canadian Institute of Health, we are studying the relationship between stress in children, sleep and the circadian rhythm.

Children and parents completed the Bedtime Routine Questionnaire Sleep Hygiene: Keep your bedtime consistent, establish a relaxation routine before bedtime, and sleep in a quiet, comfortable space. For two weeks, the children wore wearables (wrist actigraphy) and connected daily to track their sleep. The children were also fitted with a dedicated home polysomnography machine at night to allow researchers to record brain waves (EEG signals) during sleep.

“One of the questions about sleep hygiene asked me if I shared a bed with my pet,” says McGrath. “We were surprised that one in three children answered ‘yes’. “

Following this discovery, they studied what the existing literature says about bed sharing with animals. They found a few studies on adults, but few on adolescents.

“Sleeping with pets is something a lot of kids do, but I don’t know how it affects their sleep,” Rowe adds. “So a sleep science perspective. So I thought that was an important thing to consider. “

Shedding light on sleep measurements

The researchers classified the children into one of three groups based on how often they sleep with their pets: we then compared the three groups across a wide range of sleep variables to see if there were any. had a significant difference between them.

“Given the big goals of the Healthy Heart Project, we were able to see not only the bedtime and the time of sleep (hours), but also the time of onset of sleep (latent), waking up at night ( interruption) and the quality of sleep. “McGlass says. They found that the three groups were generally similar in all dimensions of sleep.

“The results suggest that the presence of pets did not adversely affect sleep,” Rowe points out. “In fact, a child who slept with a pet The quality of sleep Especially in adolescents. “

She hypothesizes that children tend to view their pets as friends and sleep with them for comfort.

“These results further refine our thinking on how to improve our techniques for measuring sleep,” adds McGrath.

“Many wearable devices like the Apple Watch and Fitbit, or even the smartphone itself, have accelerometers that detect movement and decode sleep. Given the number of people sharing a bed with partners and pets, it may be wise to develop a collaborative framework. Using sleep to tune the algorithms used to define sleep invasion or awakening allows for a much more accurate sleep assessment. . ”

Sleeping with your pet does not interfere with your child’s sleep.

For more information:
Hillary Row et al., Strange Nighttime Dog Events: The Impact of Pet and Human Cosleeping and Bed Sharing on the Sleep Dimension of Children and Adolescents, Sleep health (2021). DOI: 10.1016 / j.sleh.2021.02.007

Provided by
Concordia University

Quote: Kids Sleeping With Pets Always Sleep Better, Researchers Find (June 2, 2021) June 2, 2021, Obtained from kids-pet-good-night-rest .html

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Children who sleep with their pets are still getting enough rest, researchers say.

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