There’s a common misconception that sleeping with a pet contributes to a bad night’s sleep. According to the Sleep Foundation, 20 percent of people who allow their pets in bed experience disturbed sleep. However, research indicates that sleeping with your pet can be beneficial. Since 66 percent of Americans sleep with their pet, this is a crucial topic worth considering.
The success of this discussion also lies in whether you are a light sleeper or if you consistently achieve efficient sleep even with your pets’ presence. So, if you are struggling to get enough rest, know that it might be your pet, or maybe you need an original mattress.
Pro: Boost Oxytocin
Sleeping with your dog releases the feel-good chemical called oxytocin in the brain. The chemical is responsible for promoting theta brainwaves associated with sleep, meaning you’re likely to sleep deeper when you are with your pet.
Pets like to cuddle, which stimulates the production of this chemical. Oxytocin is also associated with good moods and better health.
Interacting positively with pets increases oxytocin levels in adults and lowers cortisol levels in children. Cortisol induces appropriate responses to stress and alters heart rate and immune system response.
If you suffer from chronic pain, cuddling a pet can take your mind off the pain when trying to sleep. The chemical also mitigates anxiety and stress, which can help you sleep better despite the pain.
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Con: Restricted Room
Pets can take up space and prevent you from having a full range of motion as you sleep. Even if you have a small dog that you trained to stay at the foot of the bed, they will likely still hinder sleep mobility. If your pet snores or kicks, this can cause significant disruptions to your peaceful sleep.
Pro: Stronger Pet Bonding
In addition to boosting oxytocin, sleeping with your dog can strengthen your bond and give you the feeling of comfort and companionship.
Sleeping with your dog lets them know that they are part of you, and the good thing is that it is easy to train a dog when you sleep next to them. They also tend to protect you more and will quickly alert you if anything bad happens.
Con: Less Partner Bonding
Having a bond with your pet sounds nice. However, this sleep arrangement can get in the way of your bond with your partner. This arrangement can cause conflicts as a pet in bed promotes cuddling for the pet at the expense of a human partner.
Pro: They’re Cute
Watching over your sleeping pets isn’t just a comforting and adorable pastime. Watching your pet sleep has actually been found to have psychological benefits on your emotions. If you sleep with your pet, embrace the cuteness for optimal benefits. Watching your pet sleep can also be comical. Your dog’s sleeping position, for instance, says a lot about them.
The common culling up sleep position is a favorite for dogs kept outdoors or dogs suffering from separation anxiety. When your dog lies on its side, it means they are comfortable and restful in their surroundings. If your dog sleeps sprawled out on its stomach and looks as if they are flying, the dog could be in its restful position but ready to take off as soon as they hear you move.
The “dead roach” position where your pet sleeps on their back with legs extended in the air means they are confident, restful, and secure indoors, as this is the most vulnerable dog position.
Con: Dirt in Bed
Although sleeping with pets brings joy to many people, it may also cause allergies and germ exposure with the dirt and dander they carry to bed.
Pets bring microorganisms into your homes, such as harmful bacteria, viruses, or parasites which can put you at risk of zoonotic diseases. Pets also tend to carry odors, which can ruin your sleep experience.
When You Sleep With Your Pet
People lack awareness of the impact pets have on their sleep patterns. You are three times more likely to move when your dog moves in bed, even though your pet might not notice it.
You are also four times more likely to stay awake when your pet is active. If you wish to minimize disturbances as you sleep, let your dog sleep elsewhere in the bedroom.