Article by Ryan Ely of Real Sleep by Real Simple
Sleeping with or without your pet beside you in bed revolves largely around personal preference. However, the latest studies show that choosing to sleep next to your furry friend might be more beneficial than banning him or her to the floor. Your pets are like your children, they need training, love, comfort, and they depend on you for everything.
For most dog owners specifically, this parental instinct sticks with them through the night, as nearly 56% of dog owners allow their pets to sleep with them in the bed because it makes them feel more comforted. We don’t just grant them access to our human bed out of the goodness of our hearts. We actually find contentment in the arrangement as well. This sleeping arrangement isn’t for everyone, but 41% of pet owners that consistently sleep with their pets found that it didn’t affect their sleep quality at all. And in some cases it even made them sleep better.
Not only is the feeling of your pet curled up next to you emotional comforting, but they can make you physically more comfortable by keeping you warm. Sometimes fleece sheets or an excessively large heated blanket will not be enough to keep you warm through the night. If you sleep with a human companion by your side, you might want to snuggle up with them for a source of heat. However, if they don’t like to be bothered, or you if sleep alone, try inviting your pet into bed with you. Animals, especially dogs are great for warmth and will normally curl up next to you without you even having to signal it.
Sleeping with your pet can also relive stress. In some college campuses puppies are brought in during final exam times in order to help the students to de-stress. Studies show that owning a dog or cat can actually lower your blood pressure significantly and can be extremely helpful if you suffer from hypertension. Another study measured the blood pressure of individuals as they performed different tasks. The results found that the blood pressure of the people in the trial was lowest while they were petting a dog, and highest while talking to another person. Because dogs and other pets naturally serve as a calming mechanism, sleeping with them is a perfect time for them to work their magic on you. A study performed in the U.K. showed that the best way to calm down and relax was to play with your dog.
Sleeping with your pet can also make you feel physically safe. Dogs especially are pretty light sleepers and will wake up fully alert if there’s any sort of disturbance of noise nearby. Sometimes this can backfire and your dog gets up and starts creepily growling at the door when it’s just a car driving by or someone else in the house flushing the toilet. Either way, it’s nice to know your pet has your back when you are in your most vulnerable state. Sleeping with your pet can be especially reassuring if you sleep alone. Even if you have a tiny pup next to you, it’s still someone to share your fears with and comfort you if you can’t sleep.
Helps Insomnia & Depression
Sleeping with your pet can also fight insomnia and prevent depression. Pets are a wonderful addition to the family though they can sometimes be a burden. They come with the same love and affection that a new baby would bring. If you’re sleeping with a pet, it’s most likely your dog, but cats can co-sleep as well. It might be harder for you to train your cat but they love snuggling just as much as your dogs do. The only problem is that cats are typically active throughout the night and you probably don’t want them running in and out of your bedroom at all hours of the night, disturbing your sleep. They do however come with the same health benefits as sleeping with your dog. They’re warm, comforting, and can provide you with a source of security.
While again, sleeping with your pet is largely up to personal preference, you definitely want to make sure you are okay with the few cons of the sleeping arrangement. Before your cat or dog decides to climb under the covers with you, make sure they didn’t just come from exploring the mud puddles in the backyard. The last thing you want is dirt and bacteria all over your pillows and sheets. You should also give it a trial run before getting your pet too used to their new bed. Big dogs or restless dogs can move around a lot and disturb your sleep more than help it. Some dogs even snore.
Sleeping with your pet has proven to have many health benefits, but it is not for everyone. Try it out and you might just find your next cuddle buddy has been roaming around in your house all along. For more great information about all things sleep related, please visit REAL SLEEP by REAL SIMPLE.
Did you enjoy this blog post by Ryan Ely? Do you sleep with your pets? Comment and share your thoughts below.