If you prefer sleeping with your pooch rather than your partner, then we absolutely do not blame you. At least your pooch won’t steal your quilt, right? However, there could be some potential health risks when sharing a bed with your pet, as well as stopping you from getting some action with your partner.
So, I teamed up with Joy Richards, Sleep Expert at HappyBeds to take a deep look into whether we sleep sounder next to our partner or our pup, and explored the health risks associated with sleeping with our pets.
The Benefits of Sleeping with a Pet
It goes without saying that you should only let your pet sleep with you once they are fully trained. You definitely don’t want any accidents in the middle of the night, and you also don’t want them to claim the bed as their own territory.
Pets can massively reduce stress, which I guess is why my university used always to bring in random petting zoos during exam week. If you’re going to bed feeling stressed about your job, your relationship or money troubles, having your best friend, AKA your pet, besides you will make you feel a little calmer.
Joy says, “Studies have shown that sleeping with or having any contact with a pet can raise oxytocin in the body, which is easier described as the ‘love hormone’. This hormone can help depression and anxiety, as well as stress.”
If you’re someone that spends a lot of time out of the house, leaving your pet on their own, then letting them sleep with you can be a way of making it up to them. It will mean that they are still by your side for a fair few hours a day, rather than just between getting home from work and your bedtime.
The Downsides of Sleeping with a Pet
The most obvious point to make would be that we would need to change our bedsheets more frequently. Cats and dogs are often outside and can be carrying anything in their fur, so ensure that you’re changing it every few days. “Having fur in the bed increases the risk of disease, causing asthma or allergic reactions”, Joy adds.
If you’re determined to sleep with your dog or cat, and you have signs of asthma, then you need mattresses with hypoallergenic features.
If you’re sleeping with both your partner and your pet, then your pet could be getting in the way of any intimacy in the bedroom. Most people wouldn’t feel comfortable with their fur-babies watching them, so it would be a case of choosing a healthy sex life, or cuddling up to your dog a few nights a week.
Some people will exclaim that they can’t sleep with their pet because they constantly move during the night, therefore waking them up and giving them a restless sleep. Joy adds, “I have had clients say that their partners snore, move around and just generally are a nightmare to sleep with, so I think this one all comes down to personal preference and how well behaved their dog or partners are”.
“I think whether you sleep with your pet or not comes down to personal preference. Of course, it increases the chance of getting a disease or asthma, but if you have a hypoallergenic mattress, you’re changing your sheets frequently, and you’re usually fit, and well, then I think the positives outweigh the downfalls.
If you have a stressful job, or you’re worried about something financially, then your pet will calm you down a little bit. If you don’t feel comfortable letting your pet share a bed with you, then just having their bed inside your bedroom will be a massive help.”