Sleeping with your beloved pet is fun, enjoyable and relaxing. But is it dangerous for health? Can I take a dog, cat or other animal into my bed? Experts say.
“Master, I’m with you!”
Even if a person does not intend to share his bed with a pet, the latter may have his own opinion on this matter. And if he does not lie down next to him when the owner goes to rest, he will definitely knock out a “place in the sun” for himself when he falls asleep.
And interestingly, it will have a good effect on his health!
“Pets that share a bed with their owner tend to have a closer bond with the person who cares for them. Sleeping with the owner speaks of a high degree of trust in him, says the veterinarian Dana Varble. “Dogs and cats that sleep with their owners also have additional health benefits, including increased levels of joy and feel-good hormones in the body.”
Do other animal species benefit from sleeping with their owner?
Veterinarian Dana Varble I’m sure not — “with very rare exceptions.”
How does sleeping with a pet affect a person?
If it is useful for cats and dogs to share a bed with a “two-legged friend”, then this is not always beneficial for a person.
“Animals can move, bark, or otherwise interfere with a person’s sleep. In cats and dogs, sleep is not continuous, they will inevitably wake up, walk around the bed, possibly touching their owner. Animal activity leads to fragmentation of human sleep,” warns Dr. Vsevolod Polotskydirector of sleep research and professor at the Faculty of Medicine Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
“These micro-awakenings are devastating to health, as they bring a person out of deep sleep,” adds Kristen Knutsonassistant professor of neurology and preventive medicine Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. “Experts have linked them to the release of the stress hormone cortisol, which can make sleep even more shallow.”
However, there are also studies that prove that having a pet in the bedroom can be beneficial for people.
“People with depression or anxiety symptoms can benefit from sleeping with a pet because many pets are one big pillow or blanket. When people sleep with them, they may feel like their pets are taking away their anxiety and anxiety,” says sleep specialist Dr. Raj DasguptaAssociate Professor of Clinical Medicine Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California.
On a note!
In 2017, specialists mayo Clinic’s Center for Sleep Medicine an interesting study was initiated. According to its results, it was revealed that more than half of the people observed in the clinic take their pets to bed. At the same time, they believe that their pet is “unobtrusive and even good for sleep.”
But 20% of those surveyed admitted that their furry friends interfere with their sleep and worsen the quality of a night’s rest.
What else do the studies say?
To understand in detail the question of whether it is useful to sleep with your pet or not, scientists from different parts of the world took it. A lot of research has been done on various aspects of human life. What conclusions did you get?
In a 2017 study, scientists installed sleep trackers on dogs and their owners to measure how well they get rest when they sleep in the same room. It turned out that both pets and their owners rest at night equally well. However, the quality of the person’s sleep immediately deteriorated as soon as they moved the dog from the floor to their bed.
In a new 2021 study published in the journal Sleep Health, scientists observed adolescents from 13 to 17 years old. They asked them to wear sleep trackers for two weeks to track the quality of their night’s rest. At the same time, about a third of all teenagers slept with their pets. But as the study showed, this did not affect the quality of their dreams.
“Teens who frequently slept with their pets showed similar sleep profiles compared to those who never slept with their pets,” the study authors said.
“All of this is to say that having pets in a room or bed isn’t such a bad thing,” Dr. Bhanu Prakash Kollasleep medicine specialist Center for Sleep Medicine. — Having your pet around can give you more psychological comfort, which can improve the quality of your sleep. However, if patients report that their pet’s movements or other activities disrupt their sleep, we encourage them to consider moving their pet to another location and see how this affects their night’s rest.”
Who shouldn’t sleep with their pet?
Despite several studies supporting sleeping with a pet, some people should balk at the idea of sharing a bed with a pet. And there are good reasons for that!
“This is especially harmful for patients with insomnia and other sleep disorders, people with a delayed sleep phase (so-called night owls) and patients with sleep apnea, when people wake up from holding their breath in a dream and cannot fall asleep afterwards,” says the doctor. Vsevolod Polotsky.
Co-sleeping with a pet does not necessarily cause or create the conditions for insomnia. But it can “reinforce” sleep disorders. After all, every time sleep cycles are interrupted, the ability of the brain to repair itself at the cellular level, create memories and prepare the body for productive work in the morning is disrupted. In addition, studies show that people who wake up frequently during the night are at greater risk of developing dementia, or dying prematurely from any cause.
At risk are also people who have a history of asthma, allergies, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). For them, sleeping with a furry pet can turn into torture.
“However, my patients with asthma or COPD often tell me that their pet doesn’t shed, so doctors don’t have to worry. But I always repeat to them: remember that possible allergens are in the saliva and on the skin of animals. When you put it in your bed, you’ll be exposing yourself to allergens for eight hours of sleep a night. This, along with the movements of animals, can interfere with your sleep,” the doctor warns. Vsevolod Polotsky.
What animals should not be taken into your bed?
If everything is clear with the usual pets — cats and dogs, then is it possible to invite other representatives of the animal world to your bed?
Veterinarian Dana Varble sure it’s not worth it.
“I work with exotic pets. Many of them have specific requirements for the content and safety of being near them. Some of them must be in the aviary. And while I know there are many people who are very intimate with their ferrets and guinea pigs, these are not the kind of animals to invite into your bed. As well as many others.”
It turns out that only cats and dogs get a ticket to sleep with their owner. But is this not enough?