The pros and cons of sleeping in the same bed with your pet.
We love our pets so much that we are ready to let them into our own bed. More than half of the owners admit that they sleep at night with their dog or cat, or even with several pets at once.
Let’s figure out all the advantages and potential dangers of sleeping with furry pets, and also tell you how to do it right.
Table of Contents
Feeling of comfort and security
First of all, let’s not hide it, it’s just very nice – to hug a dog, feel how it presses against you. The warmth coming from the pet, the touch of its fur, the measured heartbeat, its calmness and relaxation – all this helps us to calm down, relax, feel cozy and safe, and sleep soundly.
Thus, a survey conducted among almost a thousand women showed that if there is a dog in bed with them, they sleep better and feel more comfort and security than in the presence of another person or cat.
It is worth noting that these feelings are mutual – pets sleeping next to their owners, whom they fully trust, relax better, feel safe and enjoy. In addition, sleeping with the owner helps to establish unique, very close emotional bonds between him and the animal.
Benefits for mental health
Communication with pets relieves stress and anxiety, reduces the feeling of loneliness, grounds, calms, improves mood. And when your fluffy friend sleeps next to you, the beneficial effect for mental health only increases.
Benefits for immunity
Having pets in the house, and even more so sleeping with them, means that you are in close contact not only with them, but also with their microbes. On the one hand, this can be dangerous, and on the other hand, beneficial for health, as your immune system learns to fight a greater variety of bacteria and viruses.
Especially beneficial is communication with pets for infants and older children, whose immune system is still developing. Thus, contact with two or more dogs or cats in the first year of life significantly reduces the risk of allergic diseases.
Therefore, do not drive your pet out of the children’s crib if he settled there for the night.
Benefits for the cardiovascular system
When we pet a dog, our blood pressure and heart rate normalize. And if we cuddle up to it all night, our heart and blood vessels say thank you.
Pets, however, are not always good sleep companions. Cats are nocturnal animals, and they can easily make a thud on the bodies of sleeping owners at three in the morning, or start to chase a toy that fell under the cupboard with a bang.
Dogs are much more reliable in this regard, as they tend to sleep soundly at night. However, in their sleep they can snore, howl, bark, squeak, twitch, get up from time to time to change their place and position, stepping on your feet, and thus wake you up. You may not even notice it, but such micro-awakenings, pulling you out of deep sleep, cause a surge of the stress hormone cortisol, which makes your sleep even more fragmented and superficial. For those who already suffer from insomnia, this is especially harmful.
But if you wake up in the morning refreshed and rested after spending the night with a dog, such problems are unlikely to affect you.
Microbes, parasites and allergies
If you already suffer from asthma or allergies, it is better not to let pets into your bed. On their fur, pets can bring various allergens from the street into your bed, primarily pollen from plants, and also their own fur and dander, which are often allergens, will be abundant on your bedding.
In addition, pets can carry pathogens of various infectious and parasitic diseases: bacteria, viruses, fungi, helminths, ticks, fleas. Therefore, it is better for people with weakened immune systems to refrain from sleeping with pets. If both you and your pet are healthy, and he is treated for worms, ticks and fleas, the risks are minimal.
Some dogs, if accidentally disturbed in their sleep, reflexively show aggression, and may even bite their beloved owner. If a dog has a tendency to such behavior, it is better not to let it into your bed, especially to children.
If you have weighed all the pros and cons and decided to allow your pet to sleep in your bed, here is how to do it right, so that your health does not suffer, and peace and harmony reign in your bed at night, and in the end you and your fluffy companion sleep well:
Make sure you have a wide enough mattress, so that no one will be cramped Wash your bedding regularly, good hygiene is the key to health Walk your dog well in the evenings before bed, so that it will sleep soundly Wash its paws when it comes from the street, so that less street microbes and dirt get into your bed Do not allow pets to lick your face, so you reduce the risk of infection with any infection Stick to a sleep schedule.
Like humans, animals also have internal biological clocks – circadian rhythms – that guide the alternation of sleep and wakefulness cycles. If you regularly go to bed and get up at the same time, this will help synchronize your circadian rhythms with your pet and provide you with a sound, uninterrupted sleep. Do not forget to regularly show your pet to the vet, give him vaccinations, give him drugs for worms, treat him for ticks and fleas.