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Do you sleep better when a pet sleeps in bed with you?

21 Mar, 2023
Jürgen Swinnen

Cat or dog, most pets like a warm place at night. Of course, they also like to be with their owner. But what is the impact on your sleep when a pet sleeps with you? Do you sleep better or worse when a pet sleeps in bed with you? In this blog, we explain.

Can my dog or cat sleep in bed with me?

Sleeping with a pet is not detrimental to health or hygiene. In fact, American research (2018) by Christy L Hoffman shows that sleeping with a pet actually makes you sleep better.

Although we should be careful with the interpretation of this research, sleep expert Inge Declercq (UZA) indicated when asked in Knack after Chris Dusauchoit spoke about the research on Belgian Radio 1.

Sleep quality remains a subjective experience that cannot be properly measured. So it is very personal whether sleeping with your pet is good or bad, it depends on your personal situation.

Is sleeping with a pet good or bad?

There are several factors that all factor into this question. First, of course, your sleep pattern itself. Some people sleep better when they are alone, or with a partner or pet next to them. In some cases, you may find sleeping with a pet to be a positive experience:

  • A pet gives off heat.
  • A pet is stress-reducing
  • You feel comfortable and safe with your pet

But it could also have negative consequences, consider:

  • Your pet wakes you up at night
  • Your sleep efficiency is lower
  • From a hygienic point of view, you don’t like it

So, check carefully whether you have positive or negative experiences in your personal situation . You might feel safer or more comfortable if your dog sleeps with you, and is more likely to fall asleep. But perhaps your dog unconsciously keeps you from your deep sleep at night.

Is it dirty to sleep with a pet?

‘He who sleeps with the dog gets his fleas,’ the proverb goes. But is sleeping with your pet really that dirty? Fortunately, that’s not too bad. Cats keep themselves clean very well. With dogs, they may carry dirt from outside, but this has no negative impact on your health.

According to Chris Dusauchoit, sleeping with animals is not dirty, as is often reasoned, but actually improves the immune system. You might need to wash your bedding more frequently if your dog or cat sleeps in bed with you. You should also pay some extra attention to the ventilation of your bedroom.


Sleeping with pet: Placebo?

Chris Dusauchoit also refers to a Canadian study regarding cardiac arrhythmias. This showed that sleeping with a pet returned as variable. But it is believed that this is a placebo effect.

You may feel safer or secure sleeping next to a pet, but if this is the conviction you need to fall asleep, half the game has already been played.


Conclusion

Whether you sleep better next to your pet is very personal. It can be either positive or negative depending on your situation. Just keep in mind that your pet may leave hair behind, or you may have to change your bed more often.


Do you sleep better when a pet sleeps in bed with you? Most Frequently Asked Questions

It could be that you are allergic, for example, or don’t sleep well next to your pet. Then it is wise not to leave your pet in bed or in your bedroom.

Cats like safe places, and, of course, warmth. Because you as the cat’s owner create a sense of security for the animal, they like to come crawling next to you as soon as you go to sleep.

Sleeping with your cat can cause you to fall asleep more easily, and experience less stress. It may also be that your cat is actually keeping you awake by moving around or taking up a lot of space.