The pros and cons of sleeping with your pet
08/11/2019 // Zoey Sky // Views

Some pet owners balk at the idea of letting their well-trained pets sleep on their bed, but others don't mind letting their furry friends snooze beside them at night. According to several studies, there are pros and cons to letting your pets sleep on your bed.

A study published in Social Sciences showed that having pets in bed can benefit individuals suffering from chronic pain. According to the patients who let their pets sleep on their beds, being advised by a healthcare provider to discontinue co-sleeping with a pet may cause stress in those who have been diagnosed with this condition.

Not sleeping with a pet also increased a patient's “feelings of isolation and of being a burden to other family members” who may need to watch over them at night due to their chronic pain.

The results revealed that 80 percent of the participants believed that letting their pets sleep with them at night improved their sleep quality.

The negative effects of sleeping with a pet

Several studies suggest that co-sleeping with pets can negatively affect sleep.

Pets, especially dogs, respond to auditory stimuli and their own noises, which can cause sleep disturbances for pet owners. In one study, 53 of the volunteers who let their pets sleep in their bedroom reported that their sleep was disturbed on most nights. The researchers found that a common disturbance experienced by dog owners was snoring pets.

Differences in body temperatures can disturb your sleep. Researchers noted that people who let their pets sleep on their bed may experience disturbed sleep due to mismatches in human and pet core body temperatures. Other factors include the difference in their sleep-wake cycles.


The benefits of sleeping with a pet

Despite a couple of cons, there are definitely several pros of co-sleeping with a beloved pet.

Pets make it easier to get out of bed in the morning. Late risers can benefit from letting their pets sleep with them at night since it can help them stick to a regular schedule and encourage physical activity, two factors that are necessary for restorative sleep. Some experts believe that pets may have a transitional role at bedtime since they promote a sense of routine, order, and security, which are linked to better sleep quality.

Pets provide comfort for individuals who sleep alone. In one study, researchers analyzed data from 150 patients with sleep disorders. Their findings revealed that 25 percent of the volunteers allowed pets in the bedroom. At least half of the participants reported that their pets are unobtrusive and improve sleep.

Having a pet in your bedroom or bed can also give you feelings of contentment, relaxation, and security. This is true for those who don't co-sleep with a partner. Pet owners consider these domesticated animals as a beloved source of “unconditional support, comfort, security, and stability.”

Some might even think that the benefits cancel out any disadvantage associated with letting a pet sleep on their bed at night. (Related: Women who sleep with their pet dogs rest easier, according to a study.)

Lastly, pets can help improve your mental health. In a separate study, participants who owned a pet made positive comments about co-sleeping with their pets. They also attributed pet ownership to various benefits to their overall physical and psychological well-being, such as:

  • Companionship
  • Decreased loneliness
  • Distraction from worry about health concerns
  • Emotional bond
  • Improved mood
  • Increased sense of calm
  • Reduced depression
  • A sense of purpose

If you're curious about the benefits of co-sleeping with your pet, try letting your four-legged friend sleep on your bed for a couple of nights.

Test the new sleeping arrangements for several nights so your pet doesn't get used to sleeping on your bed right away, especially if you think you might change your mind after some time.

Sources include:

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