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New Study Shows The Pros And Cons Of Sharing Your Bed With Your Pet

By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Should you let your pet share your bed? If you do, it may be causing you to lose out on a good night's sleep. A recent Mayo clinic study is challenging the conventional wisdom that animals in the bedroom can mess with your sleep.

For many pet owners sleeping with your pet is a nightly ritual. You're all tucked in and with a quick leap, so is your pet, right there beside you.

Mack's owner Robert O'Sullivan from Upper Darby is all for it even though "he snores".

"He doesn't keep us up at night. Actually, we sleep better with him," O'Sullivan said.

"We even made those little stairs that are made to get up on the bed," said Mia Silvetti, of Harrisburg.

A recent Mayo Clinic survey found 41 percent of sleep patients, who share their bed with their animals, find it beneficial.

"If having a pet nearby helps them feel relaxed and gives them a sense of security, which permits them to fall asleep with less difficulty, then I think that is something that does deserve attention," said Dr. Lois Krahn, a Sleep Specialist at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona.

20 percent of respondents said their pets interrupted their sleep. Katie is happy to have pumpkin in the bed but, "my husband's not always happy about that" she said.

So how do our pets feel about sharing the bed?

"It's their way to say 'I like you', said Dr. Carlos Siracusa, a Veterinarian at Penn. "In most of the cases they do it just by staying near you especially by falling asleep."

Dr. Siracusa is a behavior specialist at the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary School, says it's possible owners can bother their sleeping pets.

When they are on the bed they want to sleep, they want to rest, so same is true for us, same is true for them," Dr. Siracusa said.

As a pet owner himself, Dr. Siracusa finds sleeping with his cat beneficial.

"Cool, cool, I like it, I like it, I think it's very relaxing," he said.

Some Veterinarians say cats wander more at night, while dogs cuddle in bed. The study did not look at whether different types of pets or different species were more disruptive than others.

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