Insomnia Versus Pets: The Bedtime Battle

Pets are such a comfort. Occasionally, they are a pain, but, by and large, they are the one thing that can bring peace on the hardest of days. I always wanted to have a cat in the house, but growing up my mother never allowed it.

Needless to say, within a month of moving out on my own, I had secured a rescue kitten, brought her home with me, and never looked back. I have had cats in my home since, and am now a mother with 2 adult children. My cats are insanely sweet and bring such a sense of peace on the roughest of days.

Cats, interrupted

I have had cats much longer than I have had insomnia. That's why it was so incredibly difficult to make the decision to shut them out of my room at night.

Prior to developing insomnia, when my cats interrupted my sleep at night, I was able to readjust, and fall right back into a deep slumber with no problem. Somewhere throughout the years, insomnia showed up full force, and any slight disruption to any sleep I did manage to achieve meant starting over at square one.

I reached a point where little paws gently tapping my face and random leaps onto my back at 3:00 am became too much for me to bear.

Managing the guilt

Insomnia has required me to make many uncomfortable adjustments over the years, but this is the only one that leaves me feeling guilty on a daily basis.

In the grand scheme of things, shutting my pets out of my bedroom should be the least of my worries when it comes to securing a method for reaching sound sleep. Guilt, though - I am wracked with it every night.

You know what? During those stretches of time when I am able to settle in and fall asleep for more than an hour at a time, I am not being jarred awake by 2 cats tumbling around the bedroom floor or racing up and down the hallway like small thoroughbred racehorses.

Making it more tolerable for them

It hasn't been pleasant, but it has worked. If you have the unfortunate combination of insomnia and nocturnally active pets, I have to recommend considering cutting them off for the night.

There are ways to make it a bit more tolerable for them. I made sure to provide alternative bedding and covered my furniture with blankets so when they decided to seek revenge on me by shedding profusely on the couch and recliner, I had a little less of a mess to face each morning. In addition, I don't shun them during daytime naps. As an insomniac, exhaustion can hit me hard right after school, and there is nothing better than taking a break to regroup and rest with one of my cats in my lap or curled up close on the couch.

Have you found that your pets impact your ability to rest? Has insomnia forced you to adjust your pets' nighttime routine? Share with us in the comments!

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