5 Things About Sleeping with Your Pet

By Chad Taylor on February 15, 2016

Your Mom said “get that dog off the bed.” Your Dad said it wasn’t healthy to sleep with an animal. Your Grandma may have believed your cat was going to smother you. Well, the Mayo Clinic has given you the green light. It’s a limited study (and more will probably follow), but make yourself and your pet comfortable for a good night’s sleep.

5 Things About Sleeping with Your Pet

Are you tired of defending the fact that the dog has his own place at the bottom of your bed – or on his own pillow above your head? Go with the experts – Mayo Clinic because that’s a name that’s respected everywhere and, right now, they’re saying that dog or cat might not just have a place in your life, they may have a spot on your bed.

  1. The truth. Only 150 people who visited the Center for Sleep Medicine were involved – and only 49% of them owned pets — so expect more studies to follow. Things like the size of the pet, whether the participant had pre-existing sleep disorders or health problems are not part of this survey. Plus, the results were self-reported. But, if you sleep with your pet, you’re going to find this study is a step in the right direction.
  2. The numbers. About 3 in 5 Americans own a pet according to a 2011 Harris poll – but that included fish (they never sleep with you) and birds. Who knows – maybe even a lizard or two. Still, statistic show that pet owners are on the increase.
  3. Who sleeps with a pet? Of the 150 participants in the Mayo study, 49% slept with their pet. The AKC estimates that 45% of pets sleep with their humans while 26& are in a crate and another 17% sleep in their own bed in the bedroom.
  4. Does the animal disrupt their sleep? Well yes, 20% reported that their animal bother their sleep – mostly by “wandering, snoring and whimpering”. But then there was the lady who let her parrot sleep in her room (we assume not the bed) even though it woke up and squawked at 6 a.m. every morning.
  5. The 20% are outnumbered. And, they’re outnumbered by more than 2 to 1. 41% of those who slept with their pet or had the pet in the bedroom said that the pet helped them get a better night’s sleep. Whether they found the dog on their feet cozy or the cat touching them soothing, they welcomed their pets into the bedroom.
  6. What do the experts say? Dr. Lois Kahn who ran the Mayo Clinic study noted that she felt that more than one pet in the bed or bedroom probably increased the risk of bad sleep and that dogs were probably more compliant and ready to cuddle up while cats might wander, but those are just best guesses. She said, “I wouldn’t be at all surprised if dogs follow their humans (into quiet and sleep), and cats do what they want”. We don’t know if she’s a dog-lover, a cat-lover or both!
  7. Another study by another sleep expert – suggested that humans need to take inventory. Do they sleep take a personal inventory of their sleeping habits with or without the pet? Dr. Charles Bae. Sleep medicine expert at the Cleveland Clinic does say “pets can help people with anxiety and help people relax” – another OK to sleep with the pet in your bed or bedroom.

If your dog dreads getting on the bed because he or she has to sleep on a lump or in a hole, that could tell you something important about your sleep, too. No matter who or what you sleep with, you always sleep on your bed. Make sure it’s supportive and comfortable. If it’s not, check out all the options including buying a latex bed at a great price over the Internet.