Should you let your pet share your blankets and your bed? A recent Mayo clinic study is challenging the conventional wisdom that animals in the bedroom can mess with your sleep.
Patricia Sullivan had canine company in bed as soon as she brought home her first puppy.
"He started to cry, and whimper and I felt sorry for him and I put him on my bed and he curled up in a ball and he was asleep and he's been there ever since," she said.
Sleep experts have long thought that pets in the bedroom are disruptive to a person's sleep but a recent Mayo Clinic survey found 41 percent of sleep patients who share their beds 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.
Twenty percent of respondents however, admitted their pets interrupted their sleep. Krahn authored the study and said there are many things pet owners need to consider.
"They need to know how well they sleep as a person and how well the pet sleeps, they need to take into account the size of the pet," Krahn said.
Other considerations include the size of the bed and the number of pets you have. Your pets also must be clean and free of fleas.
"If their feet were really wet, I'd wipe them off," Sullivan said.
Sullivan also said her dogs don't just relax her, they go a step further.
"If I stay up too late, the dogs remind me to go to bed," she said. "They actually walk into my bedroom, look at me like 'c'mon, let's go.'"
Even though their barking sometimes wakes her up, she said she wouldn't have it any other way.
The study did not look at whether different types of pets or different species were more disruptive than others. The study authors say they hope to focus future studies in those areas.