Should You Sleep With Your Pets?

Updated: Oct 11, 2020

If you have a pet, chances are, you treat them like they are your own kids. That means lots of attention, great toys and a coveted snuggle spot in your bed. And if the latter for you is true, you’re far from alone. A survey by the CDC found that 56-percent of dog owners and 62-percent of cat owners sleep with their fur-babies in bed.

But have you ever wondered whether it’s actually healthy to sleep with your pet in your bed? Here, we’re breaking it down into everything you need to know.

1. If you have allergies, think twice A lot of pet owners have mild allergies to their pets that can be managed on a daily basis. But, these allergies can actually be exacerbated if you are sleeping next to your pet every night. Where you might vacuum your house every day, you probably only wash your sheets once a week. So if you are semi-allergic to your pet, you probably want to avoid sleeping with your pet. 2. It is healthy so long as you take your pet for regular checkups A lot of people wonder if it is healthy to sleep with your pet. If your pet has their shots, tick medication and is regularly checked by your veterinarian it should generally be safe for you to sleep with your pet. If you’re worried about your pet tracking in unwanted germs from outside and bringing them in bed, vets recommend a 50/50 mixture of rubbing alcohol and water to decontaminate paws. 3. But, your pets sleep cycle might keep you up Some pets keep you up at night. Sometimes they kick and bark while dreaming, other times they just take up way too much space. But, animals actually sleep differently from us and it could affect our own sleep cycle. Where us humans are monophasic sleepers with one sleep cycle over 24 hours, dogs, for example, are polyphasic sleepers and average three sleep and wake cycles per night. And because of their protective instincts, dogs can stay alert for hours, even when sleeping, which makes them might lighter sleepers than us. 4. It can make you feel safer, though While your light-sleeping dog might annoyingly wake you up when they hear your kids come home or your partner sneaking a midnight snack, a study by Human Nature found that co-sleeping with your dog does provide some with a feeling of safety and security. Knowing that they can wake you in case of an emergency is often settling for owners. 5. Pets can enhance relaxation and make you sleep better Many pet owners already know this, but having your pet in bed can actually be very relaxing and comforting. Having something to snuggle and pet can both calm you down at the end of the day and keep you company. Now, these anecdotes are backed by stats. A Mayo Clinic study found that 41-percent of pet owners reported sleeping better with them in bed. And researchers at the University of Alberta found that people had less anxiety while sharing a bed with pets, "They felt more relaxed and safer so they weren’t anxious as they were trying to sleep.”

So, should you sleep with your pet in bed? There is no straightforward answer. But, if your pet is healthy, clean and they don’t take up too much of the bed or snore too loud, chances are, you could have a great night's sleep with them by your side.

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