Who sleeps in your bed at night? Are your pets allowed to sleep in bed with you and your loved ones? If you’re like many pet owners, your cat or dog is one of the family members snuggled up under the covers.
According to figures from the CDC, around 50 percent of dogs sleep in bed alongside their owners, and 62 percent of cats cuddle up with their pet parents at nighttime.
Is Co-sleeping With Your Pets Healthy?
But is this good for you? According to research done by Dr. Duthuluru, recently presented at an annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, more than 60 percent of people co-sleeping with their pet reported poor sleep quality, and a third of respondents also mentioned waking up during the night due to their pet’s movements and activity.
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So yes, there are many reasons it’s best for your pet to sleep in their own bed. Most likely, if you sleep pet-free, your sleep will be a bit sounder.
And, if you’re at all allergic to pet dander, keeping pets out of the bed will help limit your symptoms. Of course, allowing your cat or dog in the bed can increase your chances of exposure to fleas or ticks, as well as muddy paws and little bits of cat litter.
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Why Do So Many Pet Owners Allow Pets in Their Beds?
Yet for all these factors arguing against co-sleeping with your pet, there’s a reason so many people do it. Having a pet in your bed is comforting and reassuring; it’s nice to have a cozy companion right there as you drift off to sleep. In a way, the reason for sleeping with a pet are similar to why we sleep with our spouses and significant others: the need for closeness.
As Jon Methven writes for the Atlantic, “We sleep together not because it’s fiscally responsible, but because we are affectionate beings. Our minds need rest, but our minds also need camaraderie and intimacy and whispering.”
My cat, Vera, was the runt of the litter, weighing in at around eight pounds.
Despite her petite size, some nights, it feels as though she is occupying fully a third or half of the bed, taking up as much room as a tiger. But for all that — the restless nights, the awkward positions to accommodate her foot-of-the-bed spot — I wouldn’t trade her nighttime presence for anything.
She’s a warm, loving, purring comfort. And bonus: on winter nights, she doubles as a foot-warmer.