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Some people ban their pets from bed in hopes of getting a better night's sleep. But a new study out, as reported by Today, says that it may actually be beneficial to snooze with your cat or dog because they provide their owners with a sense of security.
One of the authors of the study, Dr. Lois Krahn, a sleep medicine specialist at Mayo Clinic Center for Sleep Medicine, says that there's no clear picture on the pros and cons of pets in bed, saying, "My community of colleagues do think that it is just always a risk."
To debunk that long-held belief, Krahn interviewed 150 people about their pets, how many they had, and their sleeping habits. She found that 20 percent of the study's respondents reported sleep disturbances because of pets, while 41 percent believed having a pet in the bed led to better sleep.
"[Some people] find that sleeping with their animal actually helps them feel cozy," Krahn said. "One woman said her two small dogs kind of warmed her bed. Another person felt her cat who was touching her during the night was comforting and soothing."
Though animals can be comforting, is there a limit on the number you should let cuddle up? An earlier study by Krahn found that multiple pets are more likely to disturb sleep than having a single animal in bed. That's likely because there's less room and a better chance of an animal stirring in a crowded bed.
"I think from a sleep standpoint, multiple pets … increase the risk [of bad sleep]," Krahn said.