Wisnieski, Medlin Getting Worldwide Attention for Research

Kayla Medlin

WisnieskiAbove: Kaylan Medlin. Right: Dr. Lauren Wisnieski


Lincoln Memorial University-Richard A. Gillespie College of Veterinary Medicine (LMU-CVM) Assistant Professor of Public Health and Research Lauren Wisnieski, PhD, and Kayla Medlin, LMU-CVM Class of 2025, have been enjoying international attention thanks to their recently published research on pets and sleep disorders.


“It’s been really exciting to have people interested in and talking about this research. I think a lot of people can relate to the topic so it has been fun engaging with people and hearing their personal stories about their pets,” Wisnieski said.


‘The association of pet ownership and sleep quality and sleep disorders in United States adults,’ was published in the CABI journal Human-Animal Interactions this month. It found that owning a dog was associated with greater odds of having a sleep disorder and having trouble sleeping while having a cat was associated with a higher chance of having leg jerks.


Since publication, it has been mentioned by CBS Morning, NBC, Chicago Star, MSN, AOL, and the Today Show. In the UK coverage includes The Sun, The Telegraph, MailOnline, The Independent, Belfast Telegraph, WalesOnline, and numerous other regional press.


“On the one hand, dogs and cats may be beneficial for an owner’s quality of sleep due to the social support that pets provide – pets offer a sense of security and companionship, which may result in improvements in levels of anxiety, stress and depression,” Wisnieski said. “Yet on the other hand, pets may disrupt their owners’ sleep.”


Wisnieski graduated from Michigan State University in 2019 with her PhD and did a one-year post-doctoral program at Kansas State University. She took her first teaching position at LMU in 2020.


“Understanding both the positive and negative aspects of pet ownership can help us encourage a healthy human-animal bond between pets and their owners. Kayla and I are continuing to investigate effects of pet ownership using publicly available datasets. We may also conduct a more detailed sleep survey to collect information about where the pets sleep and what is disrupting pet owners’ sleep.”



"My dog, Gumbo, inspired the research topic because he frequently wakes me up throughout the night to let him in and out from under the covers,” Medlin said. “I was shocked to see how many people related to my experience and also the findings of our research paper. The media attention that our study received taught me how invested owners are in their relationships with their pets."



The paper can be read open access: https://www.cabidigitallibrary.org/doi/10.1079/hai.2023.0005



Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) is a values-based learning community dedicated to providing educational experiences in the liberal arts and professional studies. The LMU-Richard A. Gillespie College of Veterinary Medicine is located on LMU’s main campus in Harrogate, Tennessee, with additional academic facilities in nearby Lee County, Virginia. LMU-CVM is an integral part of the University’s medical programs and provides real-world, community-based education in a collaborative learning environment. For more information about LMU-CVM, call 1.800.325.0900, ext. 6600 or visit us online at vetmed.LMUnet.edu. 


Return to Newsroom