It might not come as a surprise that 50% of all pet owners allow their animals to sleep with them at night; because who doesn’t love a good cuddle from their much loved dog or kitty.
On the other hand, when you wake up with only ¼ of the bed left for yourself and a wide awake animal staring at you, or a face full of butt when you roll over, you can’t help but to wonder if you’ve made the right decision. Who knows what bacteria and germs you may be exposing yourself to, or the impact it could be having on your sleep and well-being.
For the love of all things sleep, and our furry companions, let’s dive into some of the benefits as well as some of the risks associated with sleeping with your pet.
1. Animals Help Reduce Stress
Modern living is as stressful as ever, and depression and anxiety are becoming common. Experiencing these things is also linked to insomnia, and we’ve all experienced how stress can keep us up at night. Thankfully, and science supports this, pets are awesome companions for helping people relax. They help us to feel calm and relieved, give us something to focus on other than ourselves, and when it comes down to it – ‘man’s best friend’ makes us feel loved.
2. They Make You Feel Safe
Similar to the first point, pets have a long history with humans and part of that is their protective nature. Dogs in particular can be very protective of their owners, and they’re not afraid to make it obvious. They’re also much lighter sleepers than humans (at least most of them are) and are much more active when sleeping. Thanks to this, we can often rely on them to alert us to anything out of the ordinary. These attributes make them pretty efficient alarm systems, and their ability to show us that they want to protect us (and even just their company) can make us feel a lot safer, which in turn will help us rest a little easier.
3. They Love Sleeping With You
Your pets view your bed as there little sanctuary, which they associate with affection and comfort. This helps to strengthen the bond between you and your family pet, which is super beneficial for pets that spend most of the day alone. They’re also warm and cuddly which is never a bad thing.
1. Pets Don’t Shower
Pets are a little bit less concerned with their hygiene than most of us. As such, they can carry bacteria or parasites. Normally this isn’t a big deal for dogs around the house, but when they’re sharing a bed with you the situation changes. That being said, if you clean your doggo and make sure they are wormed regularly this shouldn’t be too much of a concern. T
2. They Can Affect Your Sleep
Dogs are active for around 20% of the night, as a result this can reduce your sleep quality. Sleep is really, really important to our overall well-being and people are getting less and less of it. Henceforth, we encourage people to do whatever they can to make sure they’re getting long, quality sleep. Animals waking you up several times a night is definitely not ideal. By the same token it is also important to note that in some cases pets are more active and disruptive when they aren’t sleeping close by. This could mean your pets running around the house, barking outside, scratching at the door – all while you’re trying to get some shut eye.
3. They Forget Who’s Boss
Once they’ve made themselves at home in your bed, you may find it difficult to change that. Speaking from personal experience, it takes multiple attempts at removing my cat from the bed before she gets the message. With some animals, allowing them into your bed might encourage their dominant behaviour. The bed was for the boss of the house, now they’re in the bed; they’re also the boss. A good measure to control this is designating a spot for your buddy, and making sure they stay there. A good way to do this is having a pet bed on your bed, and making sure your pet knows that is their space and the rest is yours.
TIPS FOR SLEEPING WITH PETS
1. Invest in a mattress that can fit everyone on it. Mattresses with reduced partner disturbance will also make a massive difference as your pet’s movements throughout the night won’t disturb your sleep.
2. Make sure you give your pet attention through the day so it doesn’t need it at night. If you’ve neglected your pet all day then suddenly invite it into bed, chances are it’ll want a playful cuddle at the bare minimum. To avoid midnight bouts of tug o’ war, get it over and done with during daylight hours.
3. Try not to change sleeping arrangements often. If you bring your pet home and it sleeps outside for a week, then in your bed, then in the laundry etc etc you’re both going to have a bad time. Decide where you want your furry friend to sleep from as early as possible and stick to it.
SLEEPING WITH PETS ISN’T FOR EVERYONE
For the most part, the risks are minimal, but there are some groups of people we’d recommend steer clear of sleeping with pets.
Infants and Young Children
Animals woken up suddenly may react adversely and bite or attack. This is not all that common, but should be taken into account when considering letting your dog sleep with young children. Some pets may also try to sleep on or close to the mouth, which can block airways. You should not allow animals to sleep with infants.
People with immune disorders, bad asthma, or severe allergies aren’t advised to sleep with their pets. Pets can pick up all sorts of germs and infections that would have adverse effects on an already compromised immune system, so some precautions should be considered – such as not sharing a bad,
At the end of the day sleeping with your pet won’t cause any major health issues. It’s all up to personal preference. So if your fur baby has claimed a spot on your bed, there’s nothing to stress about. Keep calm and cuddle on.