Sleeping with Pets: Benefits and Drawbacks
Whether you want better sleep or can’t leave your furry friend alone at night, you’ve found comfort in sharing a bed with your pet. But sleeping with pets has pros and cons that you also need to know. It’ll help you to maintain a healthy lifestyle by making the right decision.
So, this article talks about the potential benefits, drawbacks, and tips for sleeping with your pet. It will benefit you if you have children and are worried.
Should Pets be Allowed to Sleep In Your Bed?
Allowing your pet to sleep with you is a matter of personal choice. While some owners love to sleep with their pets, others feel disturbed by the movements of their pets. According to a survey, more than 55 per cent of pet owners have reported sleeping with their fur babies. And more than 86 per cent have said their puppies love to sleep near them.
Though for a caring owner, sleeping with a pet brings a lot of comfort, the experience entirely depends on the overall situation. And the decision should always be mutual for both you and your pet. You need to ensure you don’t get allergies from their fur. Also, you need to check whether your pet is getting a good night’s sleep in your bed.
Benefits of Sleeping With Pets
If you love to sleep with your pet and are interested in knowing its benefits, scroll down!
Comfort and Security
Various studies have proven that sleeping with pets, especially dogs, can provide comfort and security to many people. That’s because dogs are associated with a sense of protection. Since dogs increase home safety, it can enhance the sense of comfort of owners. If you love to sleep with your dog and find more security and comfort, it’s because of this reason.
Improved Mental Health
Pets are always associated with positive vibes in homes, improving their owners’ mental health. It’s one of the sleeping with pets benefits that you need to be aware of. People suffering from anxiety might feel lonely and isolated from society, which can be controlled or cured with the help of a pet. If you are an introvert by nature or too stressed, sleeping with your furry friend can refresh your mind with a positive charm.
Bacteria and viruses around us can harm our immunity. So, despite including nutritious meals in our diet, these can affect our immune system. But, having pets at home can decrease the chances of bacteria or virus growth, according to studies. Hence, if you’re still wondering is sleeping with your pets is healthy, the answer is yes.
The presence of pets, especially cats and dogs, is associated with our overall health. As mentioned above, pets can boost our mental health by reducing stress, anxiety, fear and depression to a great extent. These mental conditions are directly linked to physical conditions, such as blood pressure, heart rate, and diabetes. Therefore, if you own pets and start sleeping with them, it can gradually improve your overall health by protecting you from common health issues.
Drawbacks of Sleeping With Pets
However, there are some downsides to sleeping with your dog or cat, which are listed below.
Sleeping with your pet can be risky if you’re allergic to pet fur. That’s because, during sleep, you’ll be more prone to touching or inhaling their fur, which can lead to skin allergies or other symptoms. Continuing to sleep with your pet can increase your sensitivity to the allergen. For this reason, it’s always better to check whether you’re allergic to pets before you start to bring one home.
Pets bring more allergens and naturally carry plenty of germs, like bacteria, microbes, viruses, parasites, etc., to your bed. As a result, you become more vulnerable to zoonotic diseases.
The risk increases if you have a weak immune system or are sensitive to pet allergens.
Given that, it’s best not to encourage your pet to lick or kiss your face as that increases your risk of zoonotic diseases. For the same reason, you should not be sleeping with pets in bed if you have any open wounds.
Decreased Sleep Quality
Sleeping with pets can be mentally and emotionally satisfying, but it can disrupt your sleep and quality.
According to a study, pet movement, specifically dogs, could increase human movement by three times during sleep and their probability of remaining awake increased four times.
The sleep quality also depends on the type of pet you have. When compared, dogs cause less disruptive sleep than cats. But the fact is not established and still needs scientific verification.
A primary reason is that animal sleep patterns differ from human sleep patterns. Hence, a natural discord arises that becomes disruptive.
If you sleep with your dog and experience disruptive sleep, try making your dog sleep in another room or create a separate cosy spot for him beside your bed.
Some pets, especially dogs, tend to get aggressive when their sleep gets disturbed due to any reason. Hence, they are more likely to bite the person they are co-sleeping with. Furthermore, if a child sleeps, the chances of them requiring medical attention are also raised.
Hence, it is advisable to exercise double precautions when sleeping with a pet. If you tend to move around the bed or your pet has the habit, it is best to create a separate bed for your pet. It reduces the chances of you facing any potential pet aggression.
Does The Kind of Pet Make a Difference?
The kind of pet you have does have a significant impact on your sleep quality. So, let’s check out how the pets fare on this parameter.
Since dogs chart the list of pet animals, they are the most widely studied and researched animals. Most research indicates that dogs have a positive impact on human sleep. However, the effect might vary depending on the breed of the dog, its size, disposition, etc. and your sleeping partner, personal preference, etc.
Another brownie point is the strong trainable trait of the dogs. Dogs can be trained to get help and wake up people suffering from diseases like narcolepsy, sleepwalking, nightmares, obstructive sleep apnoea, etc.
However, the crux also lies in training the dog the right way and ensuring that both you and your dog face minimal disruptions at night. Setting the proper grounds from the first will ensure a positive answer to, ‘Is sleeping with your pets good for them?’
It is advisable to create a separate bed in your bedroom for the dog to create a win-win situation.
Compared to dogs, cats have a more detrimental effect on the quality of your sleep as they cause more sleep disturbances and lower your sleep quality. Every cat owner sleeping with them can vouch for getting their face kneaded by their hungry pet in the morning.
However, the fact remains that if your cat is trained not to sleep on the head and is calm enough not to chew bedsheets and cause sleep disturbances, you are likely to reap the benefits of snuggling with your pet.
For reiteration, a study indicated that the impact of pets on sleep depends on you and how well-behaved pets you have.
Apart from dogs and cats, people also keep pythons, rabbits, birds, etc., as pets. Many have fragile bones that can break easily if you roll over them during sleep. Furthermore, their potential to transmit diseases is much higher.
Hence, it is safe to never sleep with them and give them their sleeping space.
Safety Concerns for Children
Children and infants are pretty fragile, and pets tend to sleep on their faces or chest, obstructing their breathing. Consequently, the risk of children facing SIDs and suffocation increases if they sleep with a pet in their bed.
Furthermore, the children’s immune system is still developing and hence, is fragile. It increases their chances of getting infected with zoonotic diseases. Pets can quickly lick or chew your baby’s pacifier or children’s toys. It can cause meningitis and other fatal infections to the child without you realising its root cause.
Hence, no pets must sleep with your child in the first few years. Later, they can share the bed when they are in the safe age group.
Tips For Sleeping With Your Pet
The risks might lead you to believe that sleeping with pets is dangerous. But it can be beneficial, provided you follow the correct guidelines. Here, we share a few vital tips to follow when sleeping with your pet.
Use a Properly Sized Mattress
You should always sleep on a large enough mattress to accommodate you and your pet. It should have adequate space for both of you to move comfortably without clashing.
Wash Sheets And Bedding Regularly
Maintaining good hygiene is the best way to arrest the spread of germs. For instance, a regular wash of your bed sheets, blankets, accessories, etc., helps you remove unwanted allergens and keep things safe and hygienic.
Stay Up to Date on Vet Visits
Your pet’s health is as vital as your health. Therefore, your pet should be vaccinated for all prescribed vaccines for its species. The pet should also be periodically checked by a vet to remain updated with tick and flea treatments and all deworming schedules.
It would keep the pets healthy and make it safe to sleep with them.
Do Not Let Them Lick or Kiss Your Face
The saliva of pets carries germs and other allergens. Hence, if they lick or kiss your face, the risk of zoonotic diseases for you rises. Given that, you should train your pets from the beginning not to lick or kiss your face.
Walk Your Pet Before Bed
Like humans, pets also need to be tired enough to experience deep restless sleep. A walk before bed does just that and more. It gives the pets a chance to pee and do other bathroom jobs, which keeps your mattress safe against night soiling.
The second benefit is that it helps the pet burn off excess energy. As a result, it reduces hyperactivity, making them less likely to be aggressive or experience restless night’s sleep.
Keep a Consistent Bedtime Routine
Pets also have a circadian rhythm like us. Going to bed at the same time and waking up at nearly the same time helps humans and pets adhere to their circadian rhythm. Sticking to this routine promotes more restful sleep and causes fewer sleep disruptions.
Sleeping with your pets has its advantages and drawbacks. However, if you take proper precautions and maintain good hygiene and care, you can mitigate the drawbacks of sleeping with your pets and enjoy its benefits. This way, you and your pet will get the cosiness and warmth from each other and reap its physical and mental benefits.
Is it healthy to sleep with pets?
As long as you both are healthy, it is entirely safe. In fact, recent research from Mayo Clinic Proceedings suggests that sleeping in the same room as your dog—as long as he isn’t tucked under the covers—might even improve your sleep.
Why do people sleep with animals?
Many people — especially those who are single — discover that having a pet nearby improves their ability to fall asleep. Co-sleeping with your pet is a great idea because it can offer you comfort, security, and relaxation.
What are the effects of sleeping with your dog?
People who sleep with their dogs report an increased sense of security, companionship, and relaxation. These people feel safer and more secure at night.
Does sleeping with your dog create a bond?
You and your dog can become closer by spending time together in a peaceful environment like the bed. Replicating that experience with your dog will help you develop a closer bond with them because dogs are pack animals and frequently sleep together in a puppy pile when they can.
Do dogs love sleeping with their owners?
Yes, most dogs love sleeping with their owners. Being near their owners makes them feel safe on an instinctual level. Once a dog moves into your house, you join its pack. Because you make them feel secure and at ease, they enjoy sleeping with you. Dogs and their owners form an emotional bond while sleeping together.
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