Humans have slept next to their pets for centuries. Some pet parents are less enthusiastic at the thought of sharing a pillow with their pooch or feeling their cat at their feet. But for others, it’s part of their nighttime routine: when they go to bed, so does their pet.
We surveyed pet parents to see where each dog owner and cat owner alike stand. As it turns out, 49% of pet parents sleep with their pets next to them, while only 27% of pet parents don’t.
Can sleeping with your pet next to you disrupt your quality of sleep? Or, does it improve it? Pets are pretty cute, so we’d like to think it improves our sleep, right?
Cuteness aside, there are many arguments for both. When you sleep with your pet near you, you may feel safer and more secure. Plus, if you’re away from your furry friend all day, you’ll want to soak up as much time as possible with them when you are home.
On the flip side, pets and humans are different types of sleepers. If you sleep light, waking up to your pet tossing and turning throughout the night may be detrimental to your sleep.
So, will sleeping next to your pet inhibit the doctor’s orders to get eight hours of shut-eye each night? Here’s what we know.
1. Pets and Humans Sleep Differently
For starters, pets and humans sleep differently. Dogs are polyphasic sleepers, meaning they sleep more often throughout the day and in shorter increments.
Humans, on the other hand, are monophasic sleepers. They sleep once over a twenty-four-hour cycle and typically don’t bake naps into their daily routine.
According to our survey, 30% of respondents wake up more often throughout the night than pet parents that don’t let their pets on their mattress — likely because pets wake up more periodically than humans.
Dogs, for instance, are lighter sleepers than humans because they stay alert for any sounds that could indicate their home (or den), human, or favorite toy is in danger.
2. Sleeping with Pets Helps Our Mental Health
There are many pros to sharing your bed with your canine or feline: they’re warm, they make us feel safe, and (if we’re lucky) they may be good cuddlers. But above all that, sleeping with our pets statistically reduces anxiety. Pets help reduce depression, anxiety, and loneliness — among other things.
From a sleep perspective, most people feel safer, less lonely, and better protected falling asleep when their animal is near.
If you live alone, for instance, you can count on your pet to alert you when something goes bump in the night. Beyond that, most humans are companion-oriented, so they enjoy the warmth and affection they gain from cuddling up to their companion.
Some cultures even believe that sleeping next to dogs will protect them from evil spirits.
3. The Bed is More Likely to Get Crowded (and Dirty)
From a disciplinary perspective, dog trainers suggest that dog owners make their dogs earn the privilege of being on the bed. Pet parents who gloss over this portion of training may suffer the consequence if your dog feels entitled to their share of the bed.
From a health standpoint, letting your dog sleep with you in bed can be dangerous if you suffer from allergies. Allergies can lead to breathing problems, and breathing patterns affect sleep. If your pet worsens your allergies—or if they bring allergens into the home that you are allergic to — it’ll likely harm your sleep.
Allergies and training aside, if you share your bed with someone else, adding an animal can make things a little cramped.
If you notice your quality of sleep has regressed since your furry friend started sleeping near you: don’t fret. There are still ways to keep your pet near! You can have them sleep in a crate or in a bed next to you.
Letting your dog sleep on your bed may be part of your routine, but if it’s disrupting your sleep cycle, it might be worth kicking them to the curb (just not literally!).
So, What’s the Verdict?
There’s no definite answer. Ultimately, it depends on each person — and each pet. Deep sleepers can sleep perfectly well—if not better—knowing their furry friend is at their feet.
That said, 27% of pet parents say their sleep habits permanently changed once they let their pets sleep in bed with them. When you invite your pooch into bed with you, you’re taking the risk that it will change how you sleep forever, positively or negatively.
Light sleepers should take caution next time they snuggle up with their furry friend, but if you’ve been sleeping with your pet for years and haven’t experienced any problems, don’t let us stop you!
It’s National Sleep Awareness Week. To celebrate, we’re giving away a Purple Sleep Suite valued at $5,000, with a Purple mattress, two Purple Pillows, two Plush Pillows, one set of Purple sheets, a duvet, a mattress protector, and the accordion bed frame. Enter at www.purple.com/giveaways.