Is it good to sleep with your cat or dog? – Ouest-France evening edition

For a gentle purr or a reassuring presence, many people share their nights with their cat or dog. Should you let your pet sleep in the bedroom? Scientists have found that this presence affects the quality of sleep.

There he is, lying on your bed, all four feet in the air and moaning all he can. Every night, it’s the same story. You have doubts about kicking your cat out of bed. So you break and let him sleep on your pillow… In a 2015 study, American scientists admitted that the presence of pets in the room can have a beneficial effect on the sleep of their masters. These researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona, a facility that specializes in sleep disorders, asked the following question to 150 participants: do your pets keep you from sleeping?

A soothing effect

Nearly 56% revealed that they put their four-legged friends to sleep. Of the participants who said they slept with their cat or their dog, 41% thought they had a more peaceful sleep when their furry friend slept by their side… According to researchers, the nocturnal presence of pets creates a climate of safety. and relaxation. In this study, a woman described her two small dogs as “hot water bottles” and explain “to relieve when [son] cat sleeping on his chest ».

But from a scientific point of view, this study is questionable, believes Jean-Yves Gauchet, a veterinarian in Toulouse. “These are observations that should not be generalized”, he said. This proponent of “purr-therapy” makes the most obvious distinction between cats and dogs: “A cat is inspiring because it hugs and cuddles you like a baby. The dog is not very petrified, not the same, specialist analysis. A cat’s purr emits soothing and beneficial sound vibrations, which sound like music. It has therapeutic effects as if it were a medicine. When the cat roars, nothing can go wrong! »

At 5 o’clock, the cat woke up

But as charming as it is, your pets can easily prevent you from falling asleep in a flash: 20% of the participants in the American study said that their little animal disturbed them in their sleep. And at night, cats are more restless than dogs. “Cats live out of step with dogs,” said Jean-Yves Gauchet.

Cats are dusk and early morning hunters, and usually sleep the rest of the time. “So they get up at 5 in the morning and ask to go out,” explained the vet who believed that “The master is still a winner, even if he is woken up in the middle of the night by his cat”. Why won? Just because “A cat helps its master sleep in perfect peace”.

What about allergies?

Hairballs can also cause allergies from simple itchy eyes to middle-of-the-night asthma attacks. In France, pets are in more than one in two homes. About 1.6 million French people are allergic to animals, or 2.5% of the population.

According to Dr Nhân Pham Thi, head of the allergology and environmental medicine unit at the Institut Pasteur in Paris, “It is difficult to predict the occurrence of an allergy in an animal”. It is the proteins released by the animal through its saliva that are responsible for the allergy. “The proteins can be understood as an attack by the immune system, explains the specialist. But some studies have shown that the presence of animals from the birth of a child can immunize him. »

In a stressful situation, the immune system is at bay, which can promote the development of an allergy. Conversely, if the animal’s presence reassures and calms the nerves, “Allergy risks tend to be lower”, said Dr. Nhan Pham Thi.

Leave a Comment