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The prevalence and implications of human-animal co-sleeping in an Australian sample

By B. Smith, K. Thompson, L. Clarkson, D. Dawson

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Sleep research is characterized by an interest in humans, with the realm of animal sleep left largely to ethologists and animal scientists. However, the lives of sleep-study participants and those with sleep problems frequently involve animals. For the majority of the population in developed countries who own pets, their waking lives are impacted by the duties of animal care and ownership. For many, their sleeping lives are also impacted through sharing their bedrooms or their beds with pets. Yet, little is known about the prevalence of human-animal co-sleeping relationships or their impact on sleep. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence and implications of human-animal co-sleeping in an Australian sample. The study uses data collected from the 2012 Sealy Sleep Census, a national online survey of sleep wellness that included a sample of 10,128 after data cleaning. The population of respondents (aged 18-74) who co-slept with pets ( n=1,018 or 10% of the sample) was then matched to a sample of respondents who did not co-sleep with pets, according to gender and age. Those who co-slept with pets took longer to fall asleep ( p=0.029), were more likely to wake up tired ( p=0.025), and although they were not more likely to wake up due to a disturbance, those who did had a greater chance of being disturbed by dog barking/animals making noises ( p

Publication Title Anthrozoos
Volume 27
Issue 4
Pages 543-551
ISBN/ISSN 0892-7936
Publisher Bloomsbury Publishing
Language English
Author Address Central Queensland Univesity, Appleton Institute, 44 Greenhill Road, Wayville, South Australia 5034,
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal behavior
  2. Animals
  3. Animal science
  4. Anthropology
  5. Anthrozoology
  6. APEC countries
  7. Australasia
  8. Australia
  9. Behavior and behavior mechanisms
  10. Cleaning
  11. Clinical aspects
  12. Commonwealth
  13. Companion
  14. Conflict
  15. Countries
  16. Developed countries
  17. Humans
  18. Hygiene
  19. Incidence
  20. Mammals
  21. Men
  22. Nations
  23. Oceania
  24. OECD countries
  25. peer-reviewed
  26. Pets and companion animals
  27. Physiology and biochemistry
  28. Primates
  29. Public Services
  30. Relationships
  31. sleep
  32. Social psychology and social anthropology
  33. social welfare
  34. surveys
  35. vertebrates
  1. peer-reviewed