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Your Toddler's Lovey Habit Could Follow Them Into Adulthood

Photograph by Twenty20

Have you ever watched your little one curl up with their teddy bear or favorite blankie and thought to yourself, "I remember those days"? My memories of sleep involve a mustard yellow bunny that was probably half of my height. I was 3 years old, and I loved him dearly.

Although these days I mostly cuddle up with my partner and our growing brood, it turns out that our childhood bedtime companions tell us a little something about how we behave later on as grown-ups.

A new survey conducted by Best Mattress Brand found some patterns for how your child's nighttime habits can affect them as an adult. The findings are fascinating.

Out of the over 2,000 Americans surveyed, the most common bedtime companion as kids were a stuffed animal (37.5 percent), followed by a teddy bear (29.4 percent) or a special blanket (28 percent). Some also slept with a pet in their bed (20.7 percent), a doll (6.9 percent) or a special pillow (1.2 percent).

The more interesting part of the survey, however, is what happens to our nighttime habits as adults. More than half of those surveyed who slept with a pet as kids continue to sleep with a pet on their bed as adults (56 percent). Meanwhile, out of those who slept with a stuffed animal as a kid, some continue to sleep with a stuffed animal as an adult (13 percent) while others have switched to now sleeping with an animal companion (27 percent).

The numbers are similar for those who slept with a teddy bear as a kid, with some still sleeping with one (8 percent) and others now sleeping with a pet (26 percent).

As someone who used to sleep with a stuffed bunny and often a pet, these numbers make total sense to me. I find it comforting and familiar, and it turns out I'm not the only one.

It's fun to see that our sleepy-time friends were always a good idea.

When asked about why adults are still sleeping with their childhood nighttime companions, many replied that it is because it's comforting (56.4 percent), it's a habit (27 percent) or it's nostalgic (5.5 percent). Of course, some admit that the pet is the driving force and wants to be in bed (9.4 percent). A small number said that they bring these extras to be because it actually aids sleep (1 percent) or that their partner wants the item or pet in bed (0.7 percent).

So what's this mean for our own little ones who refuse to shut their eyes without their lovey tucked in next to them? Who knows, but it's a fun little peek at what they might do one day with their bedtime companions. (It's also a science-y explanation for why you refuse to kick Fido out of bed.

You might already know that cuddling a teddy bear is comforting and actually reduces stress and anxiety in early childhood. It's fun to see that our sleepy-time friends were always a good idea.

Dream on.

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