Is It Really Healthy to Sleep with Your Pet?

Is It Really Healthy to Sleep with Your Pet?

That wagging little tail makes you feel good after a long day, doesn’t it? And who doesn’t love to spend time with their furry buddy? Most pet owners encourage their pets to sleep with them for several reasons. It’s a good feeling when you are physically touched and it makes your oxytocin levels rise which makes you content. Also, the thought that someone sleeps beside you makes you less depressed and stressed. So is cuddling with someone. Plus, most people are away from their pets for most of the day and keeping them in the bedroom is an easy way to catch up and spend time with them. For these reasons and many more, we love it when our pet family sleeps with us. But the questions are, is it really healthy to sleep with your pet? And is it risky to let your pet share the bed with you? Does it affect your relationship with the pet?

Benefits of Sleeping with Your Pet

Sense of Security

Usually, most people say the reason they get pets is related to safety and protection, especially if it’s a dog. Keeping your pets close to you when you are vulnerable or when you sleep can fulfill this need. Some people feel safe when someone sleeps beside them and a pet is a great substitute you can go for if you live alone or if your family is away. So, sharing your bed with your pet can make you safe, both physically and emotionally.

Stress Reduction

Individuals with insomnia experience different levels of depression, anxiety and stress. The emotional disturbance of these disorders makes it harder for one to sleep. Pets, on the other hand make you feel relaxed, calm and relieved. Warm body and rhythmic breathing of your pet also provide you with a soothing effect. Their touch raises your oxytocin levels in your brain which ultimately make you feel good, falling asleep with reduced stress levels. According to recent research published by Mayo Clinic, keeping your pet in the bedroom can actually improve your sleep.

Emotional Bonding with Your Pet

Pets usually like to spend time with their owner, they like to be near their owners, and without a doubt, sleeping with their owner makes them happy. Sleeping with a human partner raises your intimacy level. It works just the same way for your pet and vice versa.

Drawbacks of Sleeping with Your Pet

Even though things are like that, pet experts advise pet owners not to sleep with their pets. The reasons they convey are primarily related to poor behavioral patterns of the pet and severe illnesses in the owner. On the other hand, vets say that if both pet and owner are healthy, you don’t need to avoid sleeping with your pet. Again, a survey conducted by Queensland University in 2014 depicts that people who sleep with their pet takes longer time to sleep than a normal person by 4 minutes and that they tend to wake up tired. The results of these studies are a bit confusing. So, let’s discuss it in detail.

Allergies and Asthma

Still not sure whether is it really healthy to sleep with your pet? Well, if you suffer from pet allergies or asthma, your pet should not even be allowed in your bedroom. The problem here is that pet allergens are not confined to your pet’s body but they can exist on other surfaces such as clothes, carpets and bedding. So, even when your pet leaves the room, allergens remain inflammatory to you making it harder for you to sleep.

Health Concerns and Diseases

Your pet spends most of its daytime outside and interacts with objects and other animals that you usually tend to avoid. And your pet is not 100% clean. The CDC has estimated that pets transmit 60% of human pathogens. If you keep your pet clean and up to date on vaccinations, you are all set to sleep with your pet. However, the transmission of zoonotic diseases, plague, parasites and meningitis are very dangerous outcomes one might face when they sleep with their pets.

Sleep Disruption

Even if you are not a light sleeper, the movements of your pet can disrupt your sleep, especially the movements of large pets. As you may already know, dogs dream just like we do and they grunt and kick in their sleep which may disturb your sleep and I don’t think I have to mention the noise they make when they scratch.

If You Still Want to Sleep with Your Pet…

No matter what pet experts and vets say, a pet lover will still want to sleep with his pet despite all the reasons not to. So, here are a few tips for you.

  • Choose a mattress in good condition that is large enough for you and your pets with good edge support and sound motion isolation as in a memory foam mattress.
  • If your pet wakes up during the night, do not play or offer snacks. Instead, make sure you provide your pet with adequate playtime and proper meals during the day.
  • If you have pet allergies, allergy shots to build up tolerance are recommended.
  • When you first take your pet home, decide on a place for your pet to sleep and stay consistent so that it will be easier for you to remove the territory later.  

If you are suffering from asthma, allergies or if you have a weaker immune system, you should not be sleeping with your pets at all. It is also advised not to let your children or infants sleep with pets for your pets may bite your kids, especially if they have been having a nightmare. If you are pregnant, you may avoid sleeping with your pets as well. So, is it really healthy to sleep with your pet? Well, I hope you found your answer!

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