Post provided by The Sleep Help Institute. Letting pets sleep in your bed is a somewhat controversial subject.
Practically every pet owner has an opinion on whether it’s a good or bad idea, with some pet owners swearing by the comfort and companionship they enjoy from sleeping with their pet, and others appalled at the idea of sharing their bed with an animal and all the allergies and dirt that can come with them. But about half of dog owners let their pets sleep in bed with them at night. Although there are some risks and drawbacks, the benefits of sleeping with pets may outweigh the risks for some pet owners.
Why it’s Not a Good Idea to Sleep With Your Pet
Sleeping with pets it’s always a smart move. Consider these points when you’re deciding if it’s worth it to allow your pet to sleep in your bed.
There’s a chance of sharing illnesses or diseases. Although it’s rare, it is possible for illnesses and diseases to spread between humans and pets. You could get sick if your animal has been exposed to a harmful illness that can pass to humans. However, this is not common and if you and your pet are in good health, you shouldn’t be too worried about catching diseases from sleeping with your pet. If you’re immunosuppressed and less able to fight illnesses or generally not in good health, it is a good idea to avoid sleeping with your pet.
Your pet can introduce irritants. Allergies, fleas, and other irritants can make you uncomfortable and keep you up at night. If your pet has untreated fleas, they’ll bring them into your bed with you, where they may bite you as you’re trying to sleep. If you’re allergic to your pet, it’s not a good idea to sleep in close quarters with them, even if you’re taking treatment medication. Even if you’re not allergic to your pet, they can bring in pollen, dust, and other allergens that are deposited in your bed as you’re sleeping together.
Animals may have more disrupted sleep. Humans tend to sleep for long stretches of time, several hours each night. But animals may have different sleep cycles, which means they may get up during the night and disturb you as they adjust, scratch, clean themselves, get up to stretch, and more. Animals, like humans, can even snore at night. Even if you don’t wake up during their disturbances, they might lessen the quality of deep sleep.
Why it’s a Good Idea to Sleep With Your Pet
Although there are drawbacks, there are some benefits to sleeping with pets.
You may feel more comfortable with an animal in bed. Sleeping with a dog or cuddling with a cat can be especially comforting and make it easier for you to relax and fall asleep at night. It may make you feel more secure, and can even make you feel more safe if you’re concerned about robberies or intruders if you have a dog or other large animal in bed with you.
You can bond while you sleep. If you don’t get a lot of time to spend with your pet during the day, you can catch up a bit at night. Simply sleeping together can offer a closer bond and companionship.
You’ll be closer to attend to needs. With puppies especially, dogs can be needy at night. Sleeping in the same bed can make it easier if you need to let them out to relieve themselves or they just need some love and attention while you’re sleeping.
Ultimately, it’s your choice whether you allow pets in your bed or not. There are some risks and drawbacks to sleeping with pets in your bed, but there are also distinct benefits pet lovers may appreciate. You can’t go wrong: if you prefer to keep your bed human only, you can avoid some of the risks of sleeping with pets in your bed. You can also put a pet bed at the feet of your bed if you want them sleeping in your bedroom, but not with you. But if you think it’s worth it to sleep with your pet, you can enjoy some of the benefits including closeness and a feeling of comfort and security at night.
Amy Highland is a sleep expert at SleepHelp.org. She loves taking naps during thunderstorms and cuddling up with a blanket, book, and cats.