People who own pet animals think of their furry friend as another family member. Whether it is eating or going on a walk, we often see them doing things together. Ask any pet parent, and they will name their pets as one of their closest companions.
And it is the same for the pet. Whether it is a cat, dog, or any other creature, they form a bond and enjoy the company of their person. It is common for pet-owners to snuggle and hold their pets during the day. But should the pet sleep in bed with you at night is a debatable question.
While sleeping with your pet has similar benefits as sleeping with your loved ones, it has some downsides as well. Read on to find out how sleeping with your pet can affect you and your fluffy friend!
Why should you sleep with your pet?
Most pet owners love sleeping with their pets as it gives them a sense of comfort. Apart from that, co-sleeping with your pet has various benefits such as:
Reduces loneliness and depression
Dealing with mental health problems on your own can be difficult. Pets provide the necessary companionship to keep you motivated. Sleeping with your pet can help fight loneliness and reduce mental health symptoms.Â
Many therapists recommend service animals to fight depression and loneliness. But even if your pet isnâ€™t a service animal, it can help with your mental health problems simply because of the bond you have. Many pet owners feel relaxed while having physical contact with their pets. The same relaxing effect comes to play when you co-sleep with your pet animal.Â
A petâ€™s schedule can also help you structure your day better and motivate you to wake up and sleep on time every day. A good nightâ€™s sleep goes a long way in reducing anxiety and depression.Â
Increased sense of security
People often associate dogs with security. While it is true that they are vigilant animals who guard your house, they can also provide more than just physical security. This stands true for all animals. Sleeping with your pet creatures can help you develop a sense of emotional security, as it creates a feeling of being there.Â
For people who are separated from their loved ones, a pet can provide the required comfort and support. If you live alone or are worried about someone breaking into your house, a pet can help you feel safe. Knowing that there is someone with you, be it a cat or a dog can make you feel more confident when sleeping at night.Â
Strengthens bond with the pet
Co-sleeping is beneficial not only for you but also for your pet. Just like you, your pet also feels lonely or scared. Sleeping with the owner makes them feel safe and comfortable. If you have recently brought home a pet, then co-sleeping is a great way to bond with them.Â
If your pet is still young, then the new environment can be scary for them. It is best not to leave them alone at night. Instead, you can comfort them by sleeping and snuggling with them. Even if it is an old pet, sleeping together builds a different level of bond with your pet. If you stay away from your pet all day, it is good to reassure them with your presence at night.
Pets are known to reduce stress for healthier sleeping. Simply petting or snuggling with an animal helps you feel relaxed and happy. According to research, physical interaction with pets decreases the levels of cortisol. Cortisol is secreted when your brain senses a stressful situation. Lowering your cortisol levels makes you feel less anxious and stressed.
Additionally, interacting with pets also releases happy hormones. A study showed that dog-owner interaction increases the ownerâ€™s oxytocin levels. Oxytocin is a hormone associated with empathy and bonding, which increases the ownerâ€™s sense of security. Sleeping with your pet has the same effects as it increases physical interaction with your pet.
Improves sleep quality
Pets are fluffy creatures that keep you warm when you sleep. Though blankets and thermostats can maintain the room temperature, a pet provides the warmth and comfort of sleeping beside someone.Â
Besides, most pets are light sleepers and can alert you if something is wrong. Knowing this can provide you with the necessary sense of security that helps you sleep better. Pets also keep your blood pressure levels low, which lets you have an uninterrupted sleep throughout the night.Â
If you struggle with insomnia, it is a great idea to sleep with your pet. They help you battle mental health problems which are often the cause of sleepless nights. Pets help you deal with anxiety and depression, improving your sleep quality in general.Â
Reduces allergies later in life
Pets play around everywhere, especially outdoors. This introduces them to a host of microorganisms that enter the house with them. When you sleep with your pet, you are exposed to this bacteria, which in turn builds your immunity against them.
Exposure to a wide range of microorganisms also reduces allergies later in life. This is beneficial for growing children, as their immune system isnâ€™t developed yet. Children that live with their pets from a young age are less likely to develop an allergy to pets. Even the physical interaction while sleeping with the pet can contribute to more robust immunity.
Why you shouldnâ€™t sleep with your pet
Sleeping with your pet has multiple benefits. While it is good for both the owner and the pet, some people should abstain from co-sleeping. If you fall under the below categories, it is better to avoid sleeping with your pet.Â
A child and an adult may have different allergic responses to a pet. An infant in the first few years of their life can develop immunity against pet allergy if they are exposed to animals at that age. But if you have already developed an allergy to cats or dogs, sleeping with one as an adult can trigger your allergic reaction.
For people with cat or dog allergies, it is advisable to not interact with the pet even during the day. Petting or cuddling can expose them to pet hair and dander, which causes an allergic response. Even dust and pollen allergies can be triggered by sleeping with your pets, as they carry those in their fur.
The quality of your sleep depends on how well you and your pet tend to sleep at night. Does your pet toss and turn around quite a lot? That might be disruptive to your sleep. If you are a light sleeper, your petâ€™s movement might wake you up frequently throughout the night. Not getting enough sleep every night is harmful to your health in the long run.
Some people also feel worried when their pet sleeps beside them, especially if their pet is small in size. If sleeping with your pet makes you uncomfortable, choose a spot for them to sleep in your room. This way, you can be close to them while also getting sound sleep.Â
Your pet is not house trained
Your pets are not the only ones that move in their sleep. Pet owners can also disturb the sleep of pets when they rest beside them. If a pet is suddenly woken up from sleep, it might bite or be aggressive towards people around them. Children are more prone to pet aggression as they can unknowingly disturb the pet, especially dogs.Â
Dogs have the innate habit of staying vigilant and harming anyone that trespasses their territory. When they are suddenly awoken, they might not be able to identify you as a friendly person. As pet owners are also asleep, there is a lower chance of defending themselves from such attacks.
If your pet has an aggressive personality or is not trained, it is better to steer clear of sleeping on the same bed as your pet. Pet bites can cause infections and be potentially fatal if not treated right away.
Tips for sleeping with your pet
Choosing to sleep with your pet can be an exciting yet scary moment. By following some tips, you can make the experience better for both you and your pet.Â
Take them out before bedtime
Even though pets are trained to relieve themselves in a designated place, they can have accidents. To prevent your pet from peeing or pooping in your bed, take them out right before you sleep. This will help your pet sleep better and not wake you up for pee breaks in the middle of the night.
Taking your dog out will also relax them as they will be staying indoors for an extended period. A short walk with your pet is also helpful for the owner and can help them sleep better.
Keep your pet clean
Pets carry all kinds of dirt and allergens in their fur coat. If sleeping beside a dirty, smelly pet is a concern, bathe them with shampoo and water before they retire to bed. This will make them feel refreshed and prevent them from getting dirt on your bed.Â
If your pet sheds a lot, brush them every evening to prevent getting fur in the bed. Make sure to clean them thoroughly, including their paws, after you take them out at night. Check for fleas from time to time, as they can spread to your bed and bite you.
Use separate sheets and covers for your pet and wash them frequently. This helps keep your pet clean and prevents the spread of infections.
Providing sleep training to your pets is one of the best ways to ensure both have a smooth, harmless experience. Designate a spot for your pet in your bed, and restrict them from crossing a certain line.Â
Alternatively, you can buy a pet bed and keep it right next to your own or you can also buy an ottoman bed with a lot of storage space that is suited for dogs. Either way, set clear boundaries as to where your pet is allowed and where it isnâ€™t.Â
This can prevent your pet from getting too close and harming you or themselves in the process.Â
Use a mattress protector
A mattress protector is dust- and allergy-resistant. These can come a long way when you sleep with your pet. Keep your pet above mattress covers to protect your bed from getting dirty. Mattress protectors also make cleaning mattress stains easy if your pet dirties them. Make sure to get a water-resistant one, as your pet might pee in bed.
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