Protect your sleep and your pets on Bonfire Night this year.
Fireworks, while a dazzling display of celebration, can be a source of disruption when they light up the night sky, especially when you're trying to get a good night's sleep. If you have pets, their sensitivity to loud noises adds an extra layer of concern which can impact your ability to fall asleep too.
So, be it Bonfire Night, a holiday celebration, a local event, or spontaneous fireworks, there are steps you can take to minimise their impact on your sleep and ensure your pets feel secure.
1. Create a Safe Space for Pets
When creating a safe space for your pets, consider the following:
- Quiet Room Selection – Choose an interior room, preferably one without windows facing the direction of the fireworks. This minimises the impact of both visual stimuli and noise (1).
- Familiar Items – Place familiar items in the safe space, such as your pet's favourite blanket, toys, and bedding. Familiar scents can provide a sense of security (2).
- Background Noise – Consider playing soft, calming music or turning on a white noise machine to drown out the fireworks sounds. This can help create a soothing atmosphere within the safe space (3).
- Enclosed Spaces – If your pet has a crate they feel comfortable in, consider placing it in the safe space. Crates can provide a sense of security for many animals (4).
2. Keep Pets Indoors
Ensure the safety and well-being of your pets during fireworks displays by keeping them indoors:
- Secure All Exits – Check doors, windows, and any other potential escape routes to make sure they are securely closed. An anxious pet may try to bolt, so prevention is key.
- Leash for Outdoor Time – If your pet needs to go outside for a bathroom break, use a leash. Keep a firm grip to prevent sudden escapes due to fear (5).
- Identification – Confirm that your pet's identification is up-to-date. This includes a securely fitted collar with an ID tag and a microchip with current contact information.
3. Close Curtains and Blinds
Visual stimuli from fireworks can be as distressing for pets as the noise. What’s more, the lights can also have a negative impact on our sleep quality too, Manage the visual impact with these steps:
- Close Window Coverings – Use blackout curtains or heavy blinds to block out the flashes of light caused by fireworks. This can help reduce the visual disturbance for your pets.
- Dim Lighting – If possible, keep the lights in the room dim. This not only minimises the visual impact of fireworks but also creates a more calming environment.
- Create a Cozy Atmosphere – Add soft blankets or cushions and pillows to your pet's safe space. A comfortable and cozy environment can help mitigate anxiety.
By incorporating these detailed measures into your plan, you can significantly reduce the disruption Bonfire Night has on your sleep and enhance the comfort and safety of your pets during the fireworks displays too. Tailor these suggestions to your specific pet's needs, as individual animals may respond differently to various calming techniques ( 6).
4. Provide Distractions for pets:
Offering distractions can help shift your pet's focus away from the unsettling noises. Here are some distraction techniques you can try during the fireworks this year:
- Interactive Toys – Provide toys that can engage your pet's attention, especially those designed to dispense treats. This not only occupies their mind but also creates a positive association with the loud sounds.
- Chew Toys – For dogs, consider offering durable chew toys. Chewing can be a calming activity and also helps to release pent-up energy.
- Frozen Treats – Freeze a portion of your pet's favourite treat or make pet-friendly ice cubes. The process of licking and chewing can be both soothing and distracting.
Providing a distraction is a good way to keep your mind and your pets’ minds off the fireworks this bonfire night (7).
5. Comfort and Reassurance
As far as comfort and reassurance goes, this works both ways. Your presence and reassurance can make a significant difference in helping your pet feel secure:
- Sit with Your Pet – Spend time with your pet in their safe space. Your calming presence can provide a sense of security.
- Gentle Petting – If your pet enjoys physical contact, engage in gentle petting or stroking. This tactile reassurance can be comforting.
- Calming Phrases – Speak to your pet in a soothing and calm tone. Reassuring words and a gentle voice can help alleviate anxiety.
- Avoid Punishment – If your pet displays signs of fear or anxiety, avoid scolding or punishing them. This can increase stress and worsen their reaction to fireworks (8).
And in turn, once reassured your pet will give you the reassurance that they’re okay you need to get a good night’s sleep too!
6. Stay Flexible with Sleep Schedule
Adjusting your sleep schedule can help you navigate around peak fireworks times and promote better sleep:
- Sleeping Earlier or Later – If you anticipate fireworks during a specific time frame, consider adjusting your sleep schedule. Going to bed earlier or later might help you avoid the peak disturbance.
- Napping – If feasible, incorporate short naps into your routine on days when fireworks are likely. This can help compensate for potential disruptions during the night.
- Consistent Wake-Up Time – Maintain a consistent wake-up time to regulate your circadian rhythm, even if your bedtime fluctuates due to fireworks.
7. Consult a veterinarian if you’re concerned about your pet
If your dog or cat’s anxiety during fireworks displays is severe, consulting with a veterinarian can provide additional support:
- Behavioural Consultation – Veterinarians specialising in behaviour can offer tailored advice and strategies to manage your pet's anxiety.
- Prescribed Medication – In some cases, veterinarians may recommend medications or supplements to help calm anxious pets. Always follow your veterinarian's guidance and prescriptions.
- Desensitisation Programs – Veterinary behaviourists can guide you through desensitisation programs, gradually exposing your pet to recorded firework sounds in a controlled and positive manner.
- Therapeutic Options – Alternative therapies, such as pheromone diffusers or calming wraps, may also be suggested by your veterinarian.
Remember that each pet is unique, and the most effective strategies may vary. Observing your pet's behaviour and consulting with a professional can help tailor your approach to meet your pet's specific needs during fireworks displays (9).
8. Engage with Local Authorities
Communicating with local authorities and event organisers can contribute to a more pet-friendly and sleep-friendly environment during fireworks displays:
- Contact Event Organisers – Reach out to those organising the fireworks display in your community. Express concerns about the potential impact on residents and their pets, and inquire about any measures they might take to minimise disturbance.
- Suggest Alternative Timing – If possible, propose scheduling fireworks earlier in the evening when more people are awake. This could reduce the impact on those who need to sleep early or have pets sensitive to the noise.
- Promote Pet-Friendly Events – Encourage organisers to consider pet-friendly events, where quieter fireworks or alternative celebrations are employed to minimise distress to animals.
7. Invest in Noise-Cancelling Headphones
Noise-cancelling headphones can be an effective tool for humans in helping minimising the impact of loud sounds during fireworks displays:
- Choose Comfortable Headphones – Invest in comfortable, over-ear noise-cancelling headphones designed for extended wear, especially if you plan to use them during the night.
- White Noise or Calming Sounds – Use headphones to listen to white noise, calming music, or nature sounds. This can create a soothing auditory environment and help drown out fireworks noise.
- Safety Considerations – Be cautious when using headphones, especially if you need to remain alert to potential alarms or emergencies. Adjust the volume to a level that provides relief without compromising safety.
By engaging with local authorities, staying flexible with your sleep schedule, and using noise-cancelling headphones, you can take proactive measures to minimise the impact of fireworks on both your sleep and your pets' well-being. Tailor these suggestions to your specific circumstances to create a customised approach for a more peaceful experience during fireworks displays.
8. Practice Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques
Incorporating mindfulness and relaxation techniques into your routine can help manage stress and promote better sleep during fireworks displays:
- Meditation – Practice meditation to calm the mind. Focus on deep, slow breaths and let go of tension with each exhale. Meditation can create a mental space that is less reactive to external disturbances.
- Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) – PMR involves tensing and then gradually releasing each muscle group in your body. This systematic approach promotes physical relaxation, making it easier to unwind before bedtime.
- Guided Imagery – Use guided imagery to transport your mind to a peaceful and serene place. Visualisation of calming scenes can shift your focus away from external disturbances.
- Breathing Exercises – Engage in rhythmic breathing exercises. Inhale slowly, hold your breath briefly, and exhale completely. This can activate the body's relaxation response.
- Yoga or Stretching – Gentle yoga or stretching can release physical tension and prepare your body for sleep. Focus on slow and deliberate movements to promote relaxation.
Achieving a restful night's sleep during fireworks displays involves a combination of proactive measures and mindful practices. By creating a safe space for your pets, staying informed about local events, and engaging with local authorities, you contribute to a more pet-friendly and sleep-friendly environment.
Taking steps such as providing distractions for your pets, offering comfort and reassurance, and considering professional advice from a veterinarian can make a significant difference in how your pets experience fireworks. Adjusting your own sleep schedule, investing in noise-cancelling headphones, and practicing mindfulness techniques further empower you to navigate through disruptive events with greater ease.
In the end, the goal is to create a balanced approach that respects the celebratory nature of fireworks while also prioritising the well-being of residents and their pets. By implementing these strategies, you can foster a peaceful coexistence with fireworks, ensuring that both you and your pets can enjoy restful nights even during festive occasions.
For advice from our resident Sleep Expert Dr Sophie Bostock, check out our “ How to deal with noise when you’re trying to sleep” blog post.
Sleep Better with a Bensons for Beds Bedroom
If you’re considering investing in a new bed or mattress in the near future, you’ll find everything you need both online and at your local Bensons for Beds store. We have an expansive collection of mattresses to suit every sleeper, as well as beds in sizes ranging from single up to super king size.
If you’d like to place an order or discuss our product collection in a bit more detail, our experts are on hand to help. Pop into your local showroom or contact the Bensons for Beds customer service team on 0808 144 6160.