Half of American dog owners and 62 percent of American cat owners report sharing the bed with their furry companions at night. But is it actually healthy to let your pets sleep with you? There have been numerous studies looking at how sleeping with your pets affects your health. There studies showcase many pros and cons.
One study looked at how sleeping with your pets can affect people suffering from chronic pain. 80 percent of those suffering from chronic pain reported a positive benefit when sleeping with their dogs. Research has also showed that pets are a comfort to those who sleep alone. The study conducted in 2015 looked at 150 patients with significant sleep disorders. Out of those 150 patients, 25 percent allowed their pets to sleep in the bedroom and about half perceived their pets as unobtrusive or beneficial for their sleep. The participants reported that their pets provided them with security, companionship, and relaxation that aided in their sleep. Pets may also help you get out of bed easier. Pets might motivate you to keep a regular schedule and encourage you to exercise, which contributes to restorative sleep. They can also help play a transitional role at bedtime by triggering a sense of routine, order, and security which contributes to good sleep hygiene.
While there are many pros there also is some cons. Sleep disturbances can occur when you co-sleep with your pets due to the animal’s movements, noises and taking up space. Some pets also snore. At the moment I have a young kitten that sleeps in bed with me. She has some breathing problems and she can give some people a run for their money in a snoring contest. Sleeping with a pet may also delay your sleep while you or your pet try to find a comfortable position to sleep in. You can also get sick if you sleep with your pets. Cat-scratch fever is an actual disease that is a bacterial infection that comes from flea-exposed felines. If an infected cat bites or scratches you the disease can be transmitted. In some documented cases cat-scratch fever has been tied to people sleeping with or being licked by an infected pet.
Ultimately it is up to you if you want to sleep with your animals. But before you do consider the pros and cons.
Breus, Michael. “Does Sleeping With My Dog Or Other Pets Help Or Hurt My Sleep?” Your Guide to Better Sleep. 20 Oct. 2018. TheSleepDoctor. 17 Jan. 2019 <https://www.thesleepdoctor.com/2018/10/20/does-sleeping-with-my-dog-or-other-pets-help-or-hurt-my-sleep/>.
Esposito, Lisa. “Is it Healthy to Sleep With Your Pets?” U.S. News & World Report. U.S. News & World Report. 17 Jan. 2019 <https://health.usnews.com/wellness/slideshows/is-it-healthy-to-sleep-with-your-pets>.
“Is It Healthy to Sleep with Pets?” Sleep.Org. Sleep.Org. 17 Jan. 2019 <https://www.sleep.org/articles/sleeping-with-pets/>.
Moss, Laura. “Pets in the bedroom may help you sleep better.” MNN – Mother Nature Network. 26 Oct. 2018. Mother Nature Network. 17 Jan. 2019 <https://www.mnn.com/family/pets/stories/pets-bedroom-may-help-you-sleep-better>.