What You Should Know About Sleeping with Pets?
Do you like cuddling up with your furry friend when it is finally time to hit the hay? Some pet owners love having their pet by their side at night while for others, their bedroom is strictly a no-pet zone. The truth is there are a surprisingly large number of people who like to have their pets in bed with them as they sleep. This is a controversial topic and there are many debates on whether you should sleep with pets.
How Common Is It for Pet Owners to Sleep with Their Pets?
Based on the latest numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 60% of households in the United States have pets. Of these, approximately half share their bedroom with their pet. According to the recent American Pet Products Association APPA) National Pet Owners Survey, nearly 50% of dogs sleep in their owners’ beds. The survey found that 32% of large dogs, 41% of medium-sized dogs and 62% of small dogs sleep with their owners. It also revealed that 62% of cats sleep with their adult owners while another 13% sleep with children.
Is It Healthy to Sleep with Pets?
The question is: is it safe and healthy to co-sleep with a pet? Experts say that young children should not sleep with animals and that adults can have a more difficult time getting a good night’s sleep due to certain medical conditions.
A recent study was conducted by researchers at Mayo Clinic to measure the effect on human sleep when dogs sleep with their owners. The study had 40 participants who were healthy adults over 6 months of age. The results showed that participants who had a dog in their room gained sleep benefits, maintaining an 83% sleep efficiency. On the other hand, those who slept with their dog on their bed had a slightly lower 80% sleep efficiency.
Although participants who allowed their dogs to sleep on their bed with them had lower sleep efficiency, it was not low enough to matter. 80% is considered satisfactory when it comes to sleep efficiency. This means that sleeping with your dog beside you will not dramatically disrupt your sleep.
Naturally, people with asthma or pet allergies should not allow their dog or cat into their bed or even in their bedroom. You should use a HEPA filter and keep pets out of the bedroom so that your nose can recover for a few hours a day. But the problem is that most people will not keep their pets out of their beds, even if they discover that having their dog or cat in bed is causing allergy problems. If you are one of them, it is a good idea to get allergy shots to help in building up a tolerance to the pet dander that is responsible for causing allergic reactions.
If you do not have allergic reactions, there is really no major issue in having your pet in bed with you. It is fine if it does not disrupt your sleep.
Can Pets Help You Sleep?
If you do not have a problem falling asleep or even staying asleep through the night, you can sleep with your pet. According to experts, sleeping with your dog or cat has numerous medical benefits. Plus, you might feel calmer or safer having a dog in your bed. Many people say that this is exactly why they allow their dogs in their bed.
For some people with insomnia, having a pet with them in bed with their rhythmic breathing helps them fall asleep. Some have even said that almost all members of their family have insomnia and sleep with their dogs. Their pets help them sleep better than a dose of Ambien.
Can Children Sleep with Pets?
Like adults who own pets, young children often want to sleep with the family pet, whether it is a dog or cat. Of course, each case differs, but experts say that it is generally unwise to allow a child aged 6 years old or younger to sleep alone with a pet.
Veterinarians often advise parents to let their children show that they can handle the responsibility of sleeping with a pet before allowing them to do so alone. They say that it is extremely important for a parent to monitor their child to make sure that they use good judgment when walking, feeding or watering their pet.
Neglecting a pet’s needs, rough play, or pulling his tail are all indications that the child is not mature enough to sleep with their dog or cat. Pets may tolerate some of the mischief that comes with childhood but become fearful after a while and will eventually strike out. If your child wants to sleep with the family pet, you should wait until they show maturity in dealing with the dog or cat before you allow them to sleep together.
Although there are old wives’ tales about sleeping infants being smothered by a cat, you do not have to worry about such things. The fact is that most cats are not interested in babies because they smell strange and make random motions. However, it is still a good idea to keep pets away from babies. Because of their undeveloped immune system, babies – those younger than 3 months in particular – are more susceptible to certain types of infections.
Benefits of Sleeping with Pets
As you now know, you can freely your bed with your pet if you do not suffer from asthma or allergic reactions. In fact, there are quite a few benefits that you gain by sleeping with your furry friend.
- Security: As mentioned earlier, many people sleep with their pet, especially dogs, because of the sense of security they provide. You are at your most vulnerable while sleeping and having a dog close to you can make you feel safe and protected.
- Warmth and Comfort: People with sleep disorders like insomnia often say that sleeping with their pet helps them fall asleep and get the rest they need. It is their pet’s warmth and rhythmic breathing that lulls them to sleep. If you have difficulty falling and staying asleep, getting your pet to snuggle in bed with you might just be the solution to your problem. Pets have a warmer body temperature than humans, and can act like an electric blanket, but a much safer one. However, you should keep in mind that for quality sleep, you need a cool room temperature in the mid-60 degrees Fahrenheit. So, if you plan to share your bed with your pet, it might be a good idea to set the thermostat a few degrees cooler so that you can sleep comfortably through the night.
- Reduced Stress: A lot of people who suffering from insomnia also experience stress, anxiety and depression. They can find it difficult to fall asleep at night due to the emotional turmoil that comes with these disorders. Pets promote a feeling of relief and calm and help in counteracting anxious thoughts that are associated with sleep-onset insomnia. The level of oxytocin in your brain can increase by simply touching your pet, making you feel good. Pets are a reassuring presence that helps in lowering stress, thereby helping you fall and stay asleep.
- Improved Emotional Bond: Sleeping with your pet can help create a better emotional bond between you. It can help in increasing intimacy, like the way sleeping with a human partner does. Remember that your pet likes being close to you, so sleeping with your dog or cat makes them just as happy as it makes you.
As you can see, there are many benefits to sleeping with your pet. If you and your pet are healthy, it is perfectly fine to share your bedroom and your bed with your canine companion or feline friend.
Get the Right Mattress for You and Your Pet
If you plan to sleep with your pet every night, you should consider getting the right mattress. Nowadays, there are several pet-friendly mattresses available on the market. You can choose one to ensure that you are healthy and comfortable. These mattresses are designed to benefit people who love sleeping with their dog or cat and they are made with materials to make cleaning pet hair, dander, etc. easy. You can find the perfect mattress to fit your bed, no matter what the size. Make sure to check out the different pet-friendly mattresses available today to find the perfect one for your needs and budget.
Sleeping with pets can be warm and comforting. The good news is that there is no harm in doing so for people who do not have asthma or allergies to pets. All you must do is make sure that you and your pet are in good health. With that done, you can go ahead and share your bed with your dog or cat without having to worry about any health issues or sleep disruptions. And with the right mattress, you can make sure that keeping your bed clean, safe and healthy is not a major task.