Your neighbor's yapping dog isn't the only animal keeping you up at night: Many people report poor sleep quality when they share the bed with their pets, according to new research presented at SLEEP 2014, the 28th annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies.
Researchers conducted interviews with 148 participants who co-sleep with their furry friends, (42 percent had cats; 58 percent owned dogs) whether the animal slept in their actual bed or somewhere else in the room. For the people who allowed their pets to snuggle up next to them in the sheets, 63 percent said they slept poorly more than four nights a week.
MORE: 7 Sneaky Things That Ruin Your SleepÃ¢â‚¬”and How to Avoid Them!
Why? Although the study doesn't mention specific reasons, you can probably guess that whimpering, late-night bathroom runs, snoring, and movements can wake someone in the middle of the night, says sleep expert W. Christopher Winter, M.D., from Charlottesville Neurology and Sleep Medicine, who was not part of the study. "Some people can sleep fantastically with a pet," says Winter. "But it's similar to sleeping with another person or babyÃ¢â‚¬”you know what you're getting yourself into when you bring a pet into your bed."
MORE: 12 Things You Learn During Your First Week of Owning a Dog
The obvious solution would be to ban your pet from the bedroom entirely, but since some critters like to claw at the door for attention, there are other measures you can take. If you absolutely have to sleep with your pet, get a mattress that doesn't transfer movement, suggests Winter. And if your pet snores, a sound machine is your best bet to drown out that noise. Also, try to let your pet go to the bathroom right before you snooze, says Winter. While these tips won't necessarily guarantee an interruption-free night, they'll certainly up your odds of getting the peaceful rest you need.
MORE: Science Says There Really Is a Difference Between Dog People and Cat People