Co-sleeping between adolescents and their pets may not impact sleep quality
journal contributionposted on 22.03.2022, 02:48 by Jessica Rosano, Tiffani HowellTiffani Howell, Russell Conduit, Pauleen BennettPauleen Bennett
Pet-owner co-sleeping is increasingly common in some parts of the world. Adult owners often subjectively report benefits of co-sleeping with pets, although objective actigraphy reports conversely indicate sleep disruptions due to the pet. Because limited research is available regarding pet-owner co-sleeping in non-adult samples, the aim of this two-part study was to explore whether co-sleeping improves sleep quality in adolescents, an age group in which poor sleep patterns are well documented. In Study One, an online survey with 265 pet-owning 13-to-17-year-old participants found that over 78% co-slept with their pet. Average sleep quality scores for co-sleepers and non-co-sleepers indicated generally poor sleep, with no differences in sleep quality depending on age, gender, or co-sleeping status. Study Two consisted of two preliminary case studies, using actigraphy on dog-adolescent co-sleepers. In both cases, high sleep concordance was observed, but owners again experienced generally poor sleep quality. Future actigraphy research is needed, including larger sample sizes and a control group of non-co-sleepers, to validate the preliminary findings from this study, but our limited evidence suggests that co-sleeping with a pet may not impact sleep quality in adolescents.