Is it Time to Sleep Train Your Pets?

Why It May Be Time To Kick Fido Out of Bed

Is it Time to Sleep Train Your Pets?

Your pets could be causing you allergies and interrupting your sleep, negatively affecting your health and relationship with your spouse. | YummyMummyClub.ca

We have an Auntie Sandy in our lives and she is a complete rock star to my kids. Telling my kids that they are having an overnight at Auntie Sandy’s is like telling my husband his kids are having an overnight anywhere! It’s pretty freaking amazing.

So when my eldest told me she doesn’t want to sleep in Auntie Sandy’s room I thought it was so odd. She worships this woman. When I asked her why she sheepishly told me that Charlie, my Aunt's adorable Yorkie, keeps her up all night moving about and scratching. Her words exactly - “Mom, the next day I’m just exhausted.”

This got me thinking. I know many people struggle with sleep when bed sharing with their toddlers, or are kept awake at night from their partner snoring. I also know a lot of people who sleep with their pets, so it would make sense that those who bed share with their pets also struggle with sleep, right?

According to a recent survey of pet owners by the American Pet Products Association, nearly half of those who participated slept with their dogs and 62% slept with their cats, 13% of those cats slept with children. A 2012 Harris poll revealed that more women slept with their pets than men, while cats were the more common bed fellows compared to dogs.


Is it a good idea to sleep with your pet?

First I’m going to ignore the scary “Bed Sharing With Pet” headlines like the potential to contract the bubonic plague, cat scratch fever (nope, not the song), or meningitis. You have a higher chance of becoming George Clooney’s third wife than contracting any of these illnesses.


There are reasons though that cuddling up with Fido at night may not be a good idea.

  • If you’re an allergy or asthma sufferer, it’s probably not the best idea to share a bed or even have them in your bedroom throughout the night. For those who choose to sneeze and sniffle throughout the night and continue to sleep with your pets you may need to consider weekly allergy shots and start using a HEPA filter to help you get a better night sleep.
  • When you are continually waking up feeling exhausted throughout the day, you have to ask yourself if you are able to get the best restorative sleep at night. Having to take your pet out in the middle of the night or the normal noises that come with a dog or cat can cause too many wakings throughout the night, which interrupts all the REM sleep your body needs. If sharing a bed with your pets is causing you insomnia, it may be time to make some changes.
  • If your marriage is lacking intimacy due to your pets being in your bed, it may be time to have Rover sleep elsewhere. Your partner may be missing your cuddles and it could be time to get the romance back on track.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Am I tired when I wake in the morning? Am I falling asleep throughout the day? Do I have difficulty focusing at work or with my family and friends?
  • Is my marriage suffering because of the lack of intimacy? Is it an ongoing battle between my partner and I?
  • Am I concerned that my pet is making my allergies worse at night or that I could contract a serious illness from my pet?

But Can sleeping with your pet be good for you?

As I tell all my families who have a family bed: if what you are doing works for your family, and you are all able to get the healthy sleep you need to function and be a thriving family unit, who am I to tell you to stop? It’s the same with your pets. If you don’t have asthma and your sleep isn’t disrupted throughout the night, then sleeping with your pet is perfectly fine. Actually sleeping with your dog or cat has been proven for some to help with insomnia due to stress and anxiety, and works better than using any other form of sleeping aid. Better health can be promoted as studies have shown this arrangement can reduce blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and general feelings of loneliness.


I’m ready to get my pet out of my bed. How do I do it?

If you do sleep with your pet and feel that changes need to be made, it may take some time and lots of consistency. It’s tough to train a pet to sleep in a new environment. If you are consistent with removing them from your bed, it could take a few weeks before new habits are created. It also may be a good idea to call a professional trainer that can help develop a plan and coach you through it.

So if sleeping with your pet works for you it’s okay, just make sure you have good flea and tick control, cuddle up, and sleep on.


I provide free child and family sleep support on my Facebook page. I invite you to join our sleep community as I work towards Good Night Sleep Site's mission of a healthier rested family unit. For more sleep tips please visit Good Night Sleep Site and visit me on Instagram and Twitter. Join our movement and #BringBackBedtime.

 RELATED: You May Be Suffering from Allergic Rhinitis and Not Know It


When Couples Live Together But Sleep Apart

Is it Sleep Divorce? Or Just Sleep-Filled Nights?

When Couples Live Together But Sleep Apart

AR - There are two reactions to this new sleep trend: Which side are you on?  | Health | YummyMummyClub.ca

When the topic of sleeping in separate quarters comes up in conversation, I find you get two reactions. You will get those who recognize this as trouble in the marriage, and with headlines like “sleep divorce,” it’s no wonder that stigma exists. But then you also get the other reaction, you see eyes light up and smiles appear with the possibility of a sleep-filled night.

More and more couples are sleeping in separate rooms and it's not because they no longer love each other or their marriage is doomed. They are choosing to do so because they simply aren’t sleeping well together.

A recent survey conducting through Ryerson’s Sleep and Depression Laboratory showed that 30-40 percent of couples sleep in different beds due to better quality sleep. At times when sharing the same quarters, studies show that the movement of your partner, noises such a snoring, and having different sleep schedules can force one's brain out of deep sleep frequently throughout the night. While you still may be getting the right quantity of sleep, but the concern now is that they quality of sleep you are getting isn’t sufficient to ones health.

Am I writing this to force all partners to sleep in different rooms? Of course not. If what you are doing is working for you, and your family is able to function as a healthy family unit, then cuddle up and snooze away. But if the thought of separate rooms has crossed your mind, or better sleep overall is on your to-do list, I think it’s important to open up that conversation.

First, though, you can take some steps to better your sleep instead of making the transition to different rooms.

Create your own sleep tool kit

Earplugs and eye masks are the perfect solution at times if noise or different sleep schedules are an issue. Maybe you have a partner who snores or one that needs to wake up early in the morning to get ready for work and light prevents you from catching that extra hour of sleep.

Fact! If your partner snores frequently, it’s important not to kick them out of bed. Send them to the doctor's office instead to see if the frequent snoring isn’t a red flag for the common sleep disorder: sleep apnea.

Make it a double

Separate blankets are a must for every blanket hog. Personally, this was the best decision my husband and I ever made, besides getting married and having kids. We both like our blankets and would battle over the blankets nightly. Finally we threw in the towel and purchased our own duvets. Now there are no fights for real estate in bed, and we can still cuddle together, and then retreat to our own blankets to go to bed.

Create a sleep plan

Sleep routines in your bedroom could differ for multiple reasons. Perhaps your partner works shifts and doesn’t get home until the very early morning, or one of you is a night owl and finds it hard to go to bed when the other does. Regardless of the reasons, if you put an agreed upon plan in place, you’re likely to stay more committed to it, and therefore sleep better because of it.

If you’re usually heading up to bed later then your partner, can you perhaps aim to go to bed together at least a few nights a week? In doing so, we can have an easier bedtime for your partner and maybe even get you in a better sleep routine where now an earlier bedtime becomes more of an every night thing. Bonus! You get to spend more uninterrupted quality time with your partner.

And if sleeping in separate quarters is what will work for you and your partner, then that’s okay! Take away the stigma of a doomed marriage.

Marriages can actually flourish in this situation because now we are working with two well-rested individuals, which is always a good combo for a happy marriage. It’s not important how you spend time with your partner while you are sleeping. What’s important is how you spend time while you are awake. You can still spend quality time at bedtime together before heading to your own rooms. Join Good Night Sleep Site’s movement and #BringBackBedtime – our free resource with tips and ideas to help you and your partner connect again at bedtime.

I provide free child and family sleep support on my Facebook page. I invite you to join our sleep community as I work towards Good Night Sleep Site's mission of a healthier rested family unit. For more sleep tips please visit Good Night Sleep Site and visit me on Instagram and Twitter. Join our movement and #BringBackBedtime.

 RELATED: Does Your Relationship Need a Sleep Divorce?


We Know It's Hard But Stop Trying to Teach Your Baby to Self-Soothe

This isn't the skill we need to teach them.

We Know It's Hard But Stop Trying to Teach Your Baby to Self-Soothe

Why teaching your baby to self-soothe may not be helping | YummyMummyClub.ca

Self-soothing. You’ve read every article you can on it and your head is swimming with the difference of opinions. Most sleep experts will tell you that your child needs to learn how to self-soothe in order to fall asleep on their own. Those who are opposed to sleep training will tell you that self-soothing doesn’t exist and all you are teaching your child is that you have abandoned them.

Well, what if I asked you to forget trying teaching your child to self-soothe? Let’s forget that term all together because at the end of the day you aren’t teaching your child to self soothe. Instead you are showing them that they are capable of falling asleep on their own.

Capability. THAT is the amazing skill for your child to learn.

They show us the signs, and sometimes pretty early on, but often we mix them up and confuse them. Your little one may suck on their hands or fingers and we automatically assume these are hunger cues, they grimace and groan and we think it’s because they need us to pick them up and help them settle, but that’s not always the case. These are also signs that they are learning to self regulate and soothe.

So what about those who say by letting our little ones figure it out we are abandoning them. They aren’t learning that they are capable; they are just falling asleep after giving up on us.

This is saying that parents who sleep train aren’t responding emotionally or physically to their child…like…ever. We know this is simply not true. Sleep training for a few nights cannot be lumped in with emotionally and physically neglecting your child 24/7. Sleep training is not toxic stress. Please let me repeat that. Sleep training DOES NOT induce a toxic stress response from your child.

Harvard University’s Center on the Developing Child explains that toxic stress can occur when a child experiences strong, frequent, and/or prolonged adversity—such as physical or emotional abuse, chronic neglect, caregiver substance abuse or mental illness, exposure to violence, and/or the accumulated burdens of family economic hardship—without adequate adult support. This kind of prolonged activation of the stress response systems can disrupt the development of brain architecture and other organ systems, and increase the risk for stress-related disease and cognitive impairment, well into the adult years.

Is this what happens when we are teaching our babies and children that they are capable? When we are surrounding them in love and support but still providing them with lessons and frustrations so that they can learn? When the science of sleep is taught and understood, and we are working with all the ingredients of the sleep-training recipe, we can eliminate much unnecessary crying and anxiety. Our goal is to work with our baby’s basic biological needs and body clock and give everyone the gift of sleep. How a child is raised has just as much if not more to do with their overall well-being then where they slept or how they fell asleep. We can’t forget that.

Stop teaching your child to self-soothe.

Teach them that they are capable.

They can do it themselves. They can be happy and content in their sleep environment and not need you right away. They can be calm and fall asleep peacefully on their own. We want them to know that we believe they are capable. They can do anything if we allow them the chance to do it.

I provide free child and family sleep support on my Facebook page. I invite you to join our sleep community as I work towards Good Night Sleep Site's mission of a healthier rested family unit. For more sleep tips please visit Good Night Sleep Site and visit me on Instagram and Twitter. Join our movement and #BringBackBedtime.

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