Ask The Sleep Doctor – Pets and Sleep?

Sleep doctor ready to answer questions

Dear Dr. Rosenberg,

What do you think about pets in the bedroom and bed? My wife likes to sleep with the dog in the bed. I am having problems with this since I am a very light sleeper and feel this is interfering with my sleep.


That is an excellent and timely question. The answer depends on the individual. Mayo Clinic recently published a survey on pets in the bedroom. They found that over 50% of pet owners allow their pets to sleep in the bedroom. 20% found their presence disruptive to their sleep while 41% did not, and even thought it beneficial to their sleep. Therefore, the bottom line is that it is an individual issue. I would discuss this with your wife. Maybe a good compromise would be to allow the pet to sleep in the bedroom on his own bed or in a crate, but not in the bed. See if that works. If not, your sleep is really more important than anything else is.

Dear Dr. Rosenberg,

Can exercise help with insomnia? I have been trying to get my husband to start an exercise program. He is overweight, depressed, and sleeps very poorly. What do you think?


Great idea. There are several recent studies showing that regular moderate exercise, such as walking 30 minutes a day, promotes sleep. In one study, after 16 weeks, those with insomnia who exercised were able to fall asleep and stay asleep much longer than a control group practicing sleep hygiene alone. We believe exercise increases body temperature and stimulates the later drop in temperature that signals the onset of sleep. We also know that exercise decreases anxiety and depression and improves immune function–all of which can promote better sleep.


Dr. Robert Rosenberg, D.O., FCCP, DABSM

Robert S. Rosenberg, DO, FCCP, is the medical director of the Sleep Disorders Center of Prescott Valley, Arizona and sleep medicine consultant for Mountain Heart Health Services in Flagstaff, Arizona. Dr. Rosenberg is board certified in sleep medicine, pulmonary medicine, and internal medicine. He is a contributing sleep expert blogger and his advice has appeared in Women’s Health, Prevention, Ladies’ Home Journal, Parenting, and O Magazine, among others. Dr Rosenberg is a weekly newspaper columnist addressing sleep Q&As. Dr. Rosenberg appears on TV and radio and lectures throughout the country on Sleep Medicine. His book Sleep Soundly Every Night, Feel Fantastic Every Day  is a best seller. Dr Rosenberg’s latest book is The Doctor’s Guide to Sleep Solutions for Stress & Anxiety. Visit Dr Rosenberg’s website which is a wealth of information on sleep topics.

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