Are pets in the bedroom a problem?

If you listen to most dog trainers, they will tell you never to let your dog sleep with you. In my experience, this isn’t a problem with a large number of dogs and their owners (myself included).

Now, new sleep research shows that many people who sleep with their pets report they feel safer and more secure knowing their pet is there with them.  Contrary to traditional advice, they sleep better because of it.

Dog and man sleeping together

The researchers, based at the Center of Sleep Medicine at the Mayo Clinic, asked 150 people lots of questions about their sleep habits. 49% of the group owned pets and more than half of them slept with their pets.

In the discussion section of their published paper, the research team states:

Many pet owners view companion animals as family members that they wish to incorporate into as many aspects of their life as possible.  Because humans spend considerable time sleeping, a pet owner’s desire to have animals close at night is understandable. As more households include multiple pets, the challenge of securing appropriate sleeping arrangements is increased.

and

Some participants in this study identified advantages to having a companion animal in the bedroom or even on the bed. Some respondents described feeling secure, content, and relaxed when their pet slept nearby. This appears to be especially true for single sleepers. The value of these experiences, although poorly understood, cannot be dismissed because sleep is dependent on a state of physical and mental relaxation.

This study is a small one, but the significance of the figures shouldn’t be dismissed.  The research team concludes:

More respondents perceived their pets to not affect or even benefit rather than hinder their sleep. A smaller percentage of patients acknowledged that their pets had undesirable effects on their sleep. Health care professionals working with patients with sleep concerns should inquire about the home sleep environment, and companion animals specifically, to help them find solutions and optimize their sleep.

Source:  Mayo Clinic Proceedings – read the full research paper here

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3 responses to “Are pets in the bedroom a problem?

  1. I can relate 🙂

    There was another article, I think it was sometime earlier this year, that claimed sleeping with pets would expose the human to a myriad of diseases. Despite the ‘threat’, people still prefer to sleep with their pets.

    • Considering that the average person loses 1 million skin cells a day – which feed the population of dust mites in just about every home – I fail to see the concern about pets in bed.

      • Run A Muck Ranch

        I think a more credible threat, at least in our case, is that Crabby will die of asphyxiation due to a pillow ‘compress’, a sad result of his incessant snoring.

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