Who doesn’t love snuggling up to a fluffy dog or cat? While it is a well-known fact that owning pets can be beneficial to their owners’ health, sleeping with these furry friends can actually be quite harmful and make it difficult to get your best night’s sleep.
A recent APPA study found that more than half of dogs and cats sleep with their adult owners. That is a lot a pet hair getting caught in between the sheets.
Those with allergies to pet dander will find themselves much happier whenever they find an alternative spot for their furry friends to rest for the night. Most people will benefit from giving their sinuses a break from the strain of hair saturated air, but hypoallergenic pets can make this process less stressful.
Obviously, sleeping with pets increases the opportunity to have your sleep disturbed by an animal’s movement and natural disruptions in their own sleep cycles – after all, we can’t assume our sleep cycle is the same as our pet’s sleep cycle. Many animals experience a more active REM stage of sleep, which often times results in restless leg movements, growling or barking, and sudden waking. Some pets, especially dogs with a history of more aggressive behavior, may become more protective at night, especially when sleeping with their owner. Therefore, understanding your pets behaviors is an important factor when choosing whether or not you should be snuggling up with your pet pals.
Getting pets out of the bedroom once they have become accustomed to sleeping with you is a much more difficult problem than washing out pet hair. Most vets believe that pets should be kept out of the bedroom altogether if you don’t intend on them sleeping with you. Training dogs to stay off the bed is typically easier than with cats, but either animal can pose a challenge, especially when you are trying to get them to stay in the same room, but not on the actual bed.
Overall, it is important to understand both you and your pet’s sleep preferences and behaviors before making long-term decisions that can influence behavior and become habit.