Who doesn’t love a nice cuddle with their pet? Dog or cat, it’s nice to curl up and doze off with your furry friend. They’re just too darn cute.
But have you ever thought about what it does to different avenues of your life when you allow your pet to sleep in your bed, night after night? There is lots of debate around it, but the truth is, pets don’t make great sleeping pals. In fact, they can prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep, and they can come between you and your partner. While it might seem silly to think that sleeping with your pet can have dire consequences, it actually is a bad habit that can have troubling repercussions.
If you allow your cat or dog to join you in bed, instead of your little furball, think of them more as a moving, stretching, twitching body that will potentially wake you up while you sleep. Pets don’t generally seem to care whether or not you are comfortable, or whether or not you want them climbing over you while you try and rest.
Pets in the bed will lead to a disrupted sleep. They can bring you out of your deep sleep or REM state, which can mean that your body and brain are not getting the rest you need. Being pulled out of deep sleep can also cause you to have a difficult time falling back to sleep, which can set your mind running off in a million different directions. Or instead after being woken up, many people will enter a half-sleep state, where they are aware of their surroundings.
Furthermore, it can take longer to fall asleep in the first place when your pet is licking your face or shoving its paws into you pillow. And this can be a troubling cycle to get into. The longer a person is awake because their dog is kicking them in the back, the longer it takes the mind to relax and shut down for the night.
When a person doesn’t get enough uninterrupted and restful sleep during the night, they often feel groggy, distracted, moody, or sluggish throughout the day. Improper sleep can lead to all sorts of short and long term physical and mental consequences.
Dirt and Allergens
Most pets shed, and with their hair comes something called dander, or flakes of skin that carry traces of the animal’s saliva. This is what causes allergic reactions in most people that sneeze when pets are around. Furthermore, these flakes can become the diet or dust mites — microscopic bugs that are looking for their next feast.
Having pets in bed means that their hair or fur, skin flakes, saliva, and bugs that eat that saliva end up in bed, too. Not to mention the dirt and dust that the pets carry around from rolling in the grass ends up in your nice linens. Taken together, this is a recipe for respiratory reactions, and unsanitary conditions.
If you have a (human) partner, allowing your pet to sleep in your bed will likely have an effect on your sex life. Pets can get territorial, or even downright aggressive when couples warm up to each other between the sheets. They literally come between you and your partner and this can spell doom for a relationship.
As you can see, sleeping with a pet affects the quality of sleep, and this in turn can have an effect on your physical and mental health, as well as the health of your relationship. You might say that your pet loves sleeping with you but let’s not forget who the boss is. It is up to pet owners to train their pets and set boundaries. If your pet insists on sleeping somewhere soft, investing in a pet bed will be well worth it, but you might want to reconsider allowing your pet to sleep beside you in bed.