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Is It Dangerous To Sleep With Your Pets? Here’s what you need to know

sleeping with pets

Sleeping with Pets: The Risks and Rewards

Many people consider pets their family. No wonder, as our furry friends can easily enrich any life, creating a strong bond and companionship.

And this often means they may share their owners’ beds. But how wise is that? Is it okay to sleep with pets, or can it lead to unpleasant consequences?

Today’s article will shed some light on this matter. It will share the main pros and cons of sleeping with pets, aiming to help readers find the best scenario for them and their four-pawed friends. 

Sleeping with Pets – Rewards

Sharing one’s bed with a pet is pretty common. For example, American surveys show that 56% of dog owners sleep with their dogs, and 62% of cat owners share their beds with fluffy companions (1). 

Since so many people prefer co-sleeping with pets, it’s safe to assume that this practice comes with a lot of perks. Here are the main ones:

Halloween Safety Tips for Pet Owners
Halloween Safety Tips for Pet Owners

Pets can help people sleep better

One of the biggest perks of sleeping with pets is an increased chance of waking up feeling more rested. Alex Savy, Certified Sleep Science Coach and Founder of SleepingOcean.com, says that sharing the bed with pets can increase the feelings of comfort and security. This typically helps people feel more relaxed.

Increased relaxation before sleep can aid sleep onset, helping people drift off faster and, thus, get more hours of rest. Additionally, falling asleep feeling safe and comfortable with a pet may lead to deeper sleep. Naturally, this would allow pet owners to wake up more rested and refreshed.

Pets reduce stress levels

Day-to-day life can be very stressful, and even the most mundane things can keep a person awake. However, a pet can help with that. It is believed that pets can help reduce one’s stress levels, whether by providing companionship, entertainment (they can be pretty funny), or distraction from daily worries.

No wonder there are special service animals trained to help people deal with stress, anxiety, and other conditions. Even a furry companion who isn’t a service animal can help people feel less anxious about their daily lives, improving their mental health. Naturally, reduced stress may also lead to improved sleep (as less cortisol typically means more melatonin – the so-called sleep hormone),

Pets can keep sleepers warm

There are people who always get cold in bed, regardless of how many blankets they use. That’s when hugging someone fluffy may come in handy. The pet’s body temperature can keep the sleeper warm throughout the night, allowing them to relax and enjoy restful slumber.

Pet owners often have better health

Research suggests that interacting (and sleeping) with pets can lead to decreased blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and even a reduced risk of premature death. In other words, people who sleep with pets live longer. And that’s more than enough reason to let one’s fluffy friend in bed. Cuddling with a pet may also help people suffering from chronic pain distract from it, helping them sleep better.

Sleeping with Pets – Risks

Of course, co-sleeping with pets isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. And it’s not always perfect either. So, here are the risks and downsides of sharing the bed with a four-pawed friend:

Sleeping with pets can lead to aggravated allergies

Sharing the bed with a fluffy friend would mean that the owner will be more exposed to fur. This can trigger allergies or increase existing symptoms. Of course, washing the sheets regularly may help keep allergens at bay. At the same time, sleeping with pets means owners will spend more time in contact with their fur, which can still serve as a boost for one’s allergies.

Pets can disrupt one’s sleep

It’s not a secret that pets can snore, move, bark, and make other noises during sleep. Naturally, they can easily disturb their owners and ruin their sleep. While some people can tolerate all those noises, light sleepers are easily awakened by them. 

Nighttime disruptions lead to decreased sleep quality. In the longer run, this can lead to fatigue, mood swings, low energy levels, decreased productivity, and even health issues. 

Pets can bring germs into the bed

Even if a person isn’t a germaphobe, they may still suffer the consequences. For example, more germs and bacteria may affect one’s immune function, cause virus infections, or lead to skin irritation. That’s why sleeping with pets is especially dangerous for people with sensitivities.

Wrapping Up

Sleeping with pets can be a true blessing for some people and a nightmare for others. The trick is to consider all pros and cons and decide whether the former outweighs the latter. In any case, pet owners must ensure their furry friends get all the love and affection, and it will be a win-win scenario regardless of where the pet ends up sleeping.

References:

  1. Bruno B. Chomel and Ben Sun (February 2011). Zoonoses in the Bedroom. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3298380/ 
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