According to a survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association, around 85 million families in the United States own a pet. Dogs are among the most popular, followed by cats, then fish. While you might not be sleeping with your fish anytime soon, you may want to consider the benefits of sleeping with your cuddlier furry family members – and no we don’t mean your hamster, tarantula or any other small rodent that might get caught in a sheet monsoon when you roll over at 2 a.m. A study by Mayo Clinic revealed that sleeping with your pooch pal may actually improve your sleep – as long as you’re both healthy and only the human is under the covers. While more research needs to be done, we’ve put together a verified pros and cons list of co-sleeping with your beloved pet.
1. Provides Security - One of the more popular reasons for getting a pet is protection and security. A dog is particularly good at providing this feeling, even while you’re sleeping. Keeping your canine close to you, especially if you’re alone, can help ease your mind and feel protected.
2. Helps Calm You - A dog’s enthusiastic and loving personality is transferable to humans, which is why it’s no surprise that a survey done by Mindlab International says it’s more effective to stay calm while being with your dog than grabbing a glass of wine.
3. Provides warmth - Skip the electric blanket during the colder months by cuddling with your pet. Not only will you stay warmer, you won’t be bothered by all the suffocatingly heavy blankets. Keeps tabs on your animals to make sure they aren’t overheating and that they are drinking plenty of water.
4. Reduces anxiety and stress - According to a survey done by Purina, 62 percent of dog owners say their dogs help them de-stress after a long day of work. Similar results have also been found with young children: the 12 percent of children who grew up with a dog, versus the 21 percent who didn’t, suffered far less anxiety.
5. Helps with Insomnia - Around 60 million Americans suffer from a sleep disorder and, while scientists disagree on the best ways to treat it, it’s hard to ignore the more natural route of snoozing with your pet. As you’ve now read, a cat or dog can help make you feel more secure, calm and stress free – which will, in turn, assist with reducing certain sleep disorders.
Unfortunately, there can be some risks of sleeping with your pet, depending on a few factors such as size, temperament, breed, and the health of your pet.
1. Inflamed allergies - If you’re already suffering from allergies or allergic to your pet (basically 10 to 12 percent of the population worldwide), keeping them in close proximities while you sleep will only exacerbate your health issues further.
2. Sleep disturbances - Just like humans, pets tend to move around in the middle of the night. If you’re a light sleeper with a pet that moves around a lot, chances are you will be awakened several times throughout the night.
3. Bed hogging - If you have a large pet or a small bed – or worse, both – it might not be the best idea to share your lack of space.
4. Interference with intimacy - Uh. Awkward. Do I need to say more?
5. Higher chance of catching an illness - This goes both ways for you and your pet. If one of you is sick or injured, there is a higher chance of infecting the other.
It’s best to assess your own situation when deciding whether to sleep with a pet or not. It really comes down to one main question: Am I getting a better night’s sleep? If not, find another place for them to sleep that doesn’t disturb you. If it’s working, then keep calm and carry on sleeping with your pooch.