NOISES OTHER THAN SNORING: Dogs Cats and Pets, Oh my!
As I started my last post on Sleeping With a Partner and Noises found here (LINK TO SNORING NOISE POST) I covered some ways to deal with sharing a bed with a noisy partner who snores. Sharing a bed lends itself to many other circumstances that do not involve snoring. As I mentioned in my last post … I’ve been sleeping next to someone for now 100+ days…and he still wakes me up whenever he is awake, usually kissing my neck and arms and back and cuddling with me until I come out of whatever REM cycle I was having or the REM cycle I try not to resent him for preventing and perhaps even interrupting me from entirely because he needs less sleep than what I need.
Sharing a bed with someone is never an easy adjustment. Besides snoring, there are many other noises that come with sleeping next to someone. Maybe they’re like that guy I’ve been sleeping next to—super into cuddling (he actually wakes me up to ask if I want to “snuggle” … which I soon discovered did not mean cuddling to him) and requires 5-6 hours of sleep before he has enough energy to jump out of bed at 6-7 AM (in the first 60+ days of the Never Ending Date sleeping next to each other he woke me up three times minimum: between 3:30 and 4:00 AM, between 5:30 and 6:00 AM, and at 7:30 AM when he was out of the shower and getting ready to go to his office) or if I’m lucky, 7:45 AM which is the latest he will wait before he lets me know he wants to go to work. Usually this means he still wants to make-out for a while and mess around, something I’ve been told by my two-decades older female friends is something I will REALLY APPRECIATE SOMEDAY and SHOULD NOT BE ANGRY ABOUT (highly emphasized by multiple older women who insist that this type of sex drive goes away with men…sleeping with someone eventually means sleeping next to someone instead of sleeping WITH one another). So needless to say, 100+ days into the Never-Ending Date and I’ve experienced all kinds of noises, so with that, here I go with part 2 of some of the best ways to get sleep when learning to SLEEP WITH A PARTNER instead of your cat … dog … childhood blanket … ambien… boyfriend pillow… crowbar for your first-floor walk-up’s lack of security… brave and independent self.
Today we will address a big issue in part 2: Dealing with the Noises, Things that Interrupt Sleep (Snoring not Included): Dogs, Cats, Animals, Oh My!
Animals that make noise and wake you up earlier than desired or in the middle of the night. This one is a big deal, especially if the animal sleeps in the bedroom or even less convenient, in the bed. I have ended a perfectly good fifth date after he brought his dog over to my place for a sleepover night. A fifth date and sleep over with an animal is essentially like meeting the child and entering the world of exclusivity …or at least not actively using other dating apps or giving guys your number without mentioning you’ve been seeing someone more lately. It’s a step that comes before NOT being single, BEFORE meeting the parents, and BEFORE deciding that you could be with them. Pets are not always easy to adjust to. In this case, 5th-date Nate’s dog was not only expected to sleep upstairs with us in my bedroom, but he was a pillow-mate. I think my face was met with claws and scratches and under the bulky body of a 55-pound male bull-dog whose farts could easily be mistaken as a building gas-leak. Quick hacks for dealing with animals:
1. Walk the animal as close to bedtime as possible to prevent them from needing to go first thing in the morning. No matter how drunk you are, no matter how tired you are, a quick pee outside beats a middle of the night paw on your head followed by a shower of drool that is not yours across your lips.
2. Get a bed for the animal that is next to the bed so the pet owner does not feel you reject their beloved beast furry friend (DOG/CAT – I don’t think I would be okay with another kind of furry friend in the NYC Manhattan area) or make waking up with the furry friends balls in your face and enduring several panic induced wake-ups believing your building really does have a gas leak or that someone is blaming it on the dog…although you are 99 percent certain that nothing human could make a smell this bad the furry friend a deal-breaker in the potential post-5th date possibilities. Most of the time an animal is fine with this adjustment as long as they can see their owner and have a space that is not your pillow. Some bedding companies have really cool beds for pets (dog beds) like these: (Insert links for dog beds and companies that offer dog beds)
3. Invest in treats that help the animal “chill-out” or remain calm. Some animals can get pretty possessive when it comes to their owner. If the pet is in your bed and a new place for the first time, this can be a VERY big change. If they usually sleep in the owner’s bed and you’ve taken their spot, it can also create some behavioral anxieties. I swear by these dog treats and their ability to calm a dog down before a trip, in a new place, before you go on vacation, or even from loud noises like construction or fireworks/thunderstorms
4. Do not feel bad waking up an owner who might sleep through the animal noises indicating they need to go outside. This is true for people who live in small apartments where walking a dog might not be a comfortable thing to do right away. Wake up the owner and let them know, “Your dog’s balls and barking have indicated to me that you need to take them on a walk.” Or just nudge them until they’re aware and can hear the barking or see the dog/cat needs to be fed/walked/put in a different room so both of you can sleep.
5. Set Boundaries when it comes to animals and the relationship. When they stay at your place, they can get a dog-walker for the animal perhaps or have a neighbor or roommate watch the furry pal for the night. I have used Rover before for dog-walking and dog-sitting last minute in the city. Link: https://www.rover.com/ They can head back to their place early in the morning before work or on the weekends, before you meet back up for brunch to get ready/work out/spend time with their furry friend. Maybe it is just a matter of getting a baby gate set up so the dog or cat does not enter the bedroom because you’ve agreed to make it a no-pet-zone. Whatever it is that will help ensure you can both get a good night’s rest (without having to clean poop or pee out of your rug/couch/wood floors) in the morning should be a compromise. Also prep before-hand by buying some pet-safe cleaner should an accident occur.
6. Be sensitive to the fact that this animal is equal to a family member in most cases and is not likely to disappear from this individual’s life for a long time. I had a boyfriend who was allergic to cats, and he got an allergy shot to make sleeping at my place tolerable for him. We also purchased a baby gate and made the bedroom a no-cat-zone. I did not like hearing my cat meow for the first week because she wanted to jump on the bed and suffocate me in my sleep by laying on my head/face cuddle with me like she did every day of my life when I was single…but I did it so that I could be in a relationship with someone for a few more years (maybe I should have listened to the cat?). Baby gates and a small investment
I love animals, so being able to welcome someone’s pet into your life regardless of whose place or space you’re in is always a positive thing for the person who is responsible for caring for the critter. It’s a win-win if you can both find ways to mitigate any ways this furry family member interrupts anyone’s sleep so he/she continues to provide joy, stress-relief, exercise, and comfort for both of you.