Most dog and pet owners have bought beds designed for their pets – some can be a major investment. Yet statistics show that more than 70 percent of pet owners give their animal friends access to their personal beds.
Is anyone getting any sleep with all this bed sharing?
While most of these animal lovers report that they keep their pets at the foot of their beds, more than 20 percent of them report cuddling with their pets at the head or center of their beds.
Pet owners who deny their four-legged friends access to their personal sleeping areas are in the minority, so there are obviously some benefits, as well as boundaries, to make this such a popular practice.
The Benefits of Sleeping with Your Pets
A survey completed by the Mayo Clinic found that more than 40 percent of people who sleep with their pets have a positive experience when doing so. Only 20 percent of respondents considered sleeping with their pets to be disruptive, which shows that the majority of people who co-sleep with pets don’t experience frequent sleep disturbances as a result of that arrangement. They more than likely benefitted from extra bonding time, enhanced mutual trust, added warmth, and companionship.
Some owners may also have peace of mind that their pets aren’t tearing up papers or knocking over the trash when they’re snuggled up next to them all night. For those who leave their pets at home while they work during the day, sleeping together at night is often seen as a chance to spend quality time together.
Your Bed, Your Rules
If sleeping with your pet gives you a sense of security or an added level of warmth, you may not see the need to establish rules for your animal friends. But it’s still a good idea to think about the ways that your pets may interfere with your sleep. You can then make changes that allow everyone involved to sleep comfortably.
Here are just a few of the rules that you may want to implement:
- Have your pets take turns. When pet-involved sleep disturbances are reported, they often occur when more than one pet is in the bed. If you sleep with more than one pet normally, experiment with having those pets rotate nights in your bed.
- The size of your bed should expand with the size of your bedmates. You may sleep comfortably in a double or queen-sized bed, but you need more space with each pet that you invite between the covers.
- Protect your personal space at all costs. What should you do with the cat that enjoys sleeping across your neck, or the dog that wants to sleep so close that their body heat makes you sweat? You can set boundaries by placing body pillows and blankets around your personal space. You may also use training techniques to keep them at a respectable distance.
- Stick to an evening and morning routine. Pets are less likely to wake you up too early or keep you up half the night if they adjust to a predictable pattern. This requires some adjustment of your personal schedule, but it could improve your quality of sleep in the long term.
- Use a throw blanket to limit access. If you're amongst that 70 percent of pet owners who welcome their furry friends into their beds, consider limiting their bed access to the area covered by a throw blanket. This keeps pet dander and hair off your bed sheets, and ensures that you have adequate room to move around.
- Wash bedding frequently. If you allow your pets direct contact with your sheets, make sure that you wash your bedding at least once a week. Proper grooming for your pet is also critical because you don’t want your mattress to smell like musty dog or unwashed kitty.
The decision to sleep with a pet is a personal one. But if you decide to do it, chances are you will be making your furry friend very happy – as well as yourself.