Does Sleeping with Your Pet Influence Sleep Quality?
With three out of every five Americans sharing their home with at least one pet, one thing is for sure – we love our pets!
It’s also been discovered that many U.S. pet owners also share their bed with Fluffy or Fido. In 2015, a Harris poll found that over 70% of pet owners allow their “fur children” to snuggle under the covers, while only a mere 10% kept their pets out of bed altogether. And nearly 80% of cat owners and 70% of dog owners allow their pet to share their sleeping quarters, if not their actual bed.
With that many American pet owners sharing sleeping space with their pets, it begs the question…
Does sleeping with your pet impact your sleep?
Pros and Cons of Sleeping with Pets
Believe it or not, there have been multiple studies conducted on the benefits of sleeping with pets, and there have been some pretty notable benefits found in sharing your bed with your pooch or kitty, including social support and heightened feelings of personal security.
And only 41% of pet owners that were surveyed by the Mayo Clinic’s Center for Sleep Medicine stated that they found their pets to be obtrusive or disruptive to their sleep.
In fact, research has shown that just being in the same room as your dog can lower your blood pressure and heart rate while in a stressful situation.
However, sharing your bed with your furry friends can pose some challenges and even potential risks.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, being in close quarters with your pets can expose you to the possible spreading of bacterial, parasitic, and viral zoonotic illnesses – which means that they can be passed from animals to humans.
And the Providence Medical Group conducted a sleep survey that indicated that pets can cause some sleep troubles, as well, such as snoring, kicking, and taking up too much room in bed.
Another study by the Anthrozoos Journal also found that people who co-sleep with their pets may find themselves taking longer to fall asleep and being more likely to wake up feeling unrested, in comparison to those that don’t share their bed with their pets.
Pointers for Pet Co-Sleeping
Before deciding to give your pets the boot, remember that there are some definite advantages to sleeping with your furry friends! Check out the following tips to help ensure that you and your pet sleep more soundly and comfortably.
Visit the Vet Regularly
Making sure that your pet has regular checkups with their veterinarian can help prevent, identify, and treat any possible diseases, as well as keep them free from fleas and ticks. Most veterinarians recommend that household pets get a checkup at least once per year, and any young pets will need to see the vet on a monthly or bimonthly basis in order to get up-to-date on their vaccinations.
Don’t Skimp on Bath Time
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), indoor dogs should be bathed at least once every 90 days, and even more frequently if they regularly spend time outdoors. Cats are much more self-supporting and tend to clean themselves quite often, but they too might require a bath if they get especially dirty. Brushing both your cat or dog on a frequent basis will aid in keeping them clean, and will also help you to identify and remove any fleas or ticks before they end up in your bed.
Wash the Sheets More Often
Most homecare experts recommend washing your sheets once a week, whether you share your bed with pets or not, but if your pet is known to get dirty fairly regularly, your best bet is to wash them twice per week instead – and be sure to use hot water to remove germs, dust, and dirt!
Stay Open to New Arrangements
If you find yourself having to fight for space in your own bed, it might be time to change things up and move your pet to his own sleeping area. Create an inviting and comfortable sleeping space on the floor near your bed, and stay strong against any possible whining or begging.
Once you’ve made up your mind that co-sleeping is no longer an option, be sure to correct your pet and move them back to their own space if they try to get into bed with you, as allowing them back under the covers with you even once will just confuse them and prolong the process of becoming familiar with the new sleeping arrangements.
For pet owners that find that the benefits of sleeping with their furry friends outweigh any possible deterrents, go ahead and maintain your routine, by all means. But if your pet’s snoring or tossing and turning is beginning to hinder your sleep, don’t feel bad about changing your current arrangement. Remember that your sleep comes first!