Do you share your bed with your pet? Our Bedroom Report suggests that Australians are divided on the answer to this question, with one in five allowing their pets up onto the bed.
Our furry friends can bring comfort and security, but they’re not always the best bed-fellows! If you’ve ever woken up to find a furry butt in your face, or found your cat trying to take a swipe at your toes in the middle of the night, then you’ll know what we mean.
So, should you really sleep with your pets or do they belong outside of the bedroom?
There are a lot of positive advantages to sleeping with pets. Studies suggest that sharing the covers with our cats and dogs can help to reduce depression and stress. Cuddling with our pets has been shown to increase the flow of oxytocin, the love chemical, which has a powerful effect on the quality of our sleep as it so happens! Oxytocin can increase theta wave activity in our brains - this is important during the REM sleep cycle. Our pets can also play an important role in helping us to mitigate anxiety in a number of ways, both by helping us to feel more safe and secure, and by improving our mood and this can help to ease insomnia.
Many of us also simply like the companionship of sharing our beds with our pets. It’s often the case that people sleep better with their pets beside them than they do alone.
So, what are the potential drawbacks of sharing your bed with your pet? Well, firstly pets can carry bacteria and parasites, which could make you sick. Parasites like round worms or ticks for instance could be passed to you through sharing a bed. If your pet is kept clean and regularly checked at a vet however, then this shouldn’t be a big concern.
They can also cause allergies and introduce dander into your bed, which can attract dust mites and other pests. If you suffer from allergies then it’s best to train them to sleep away from, or at least at the end of the bed.
Light sleepers also often complain that their pets keep them awake at night, this can be especially the case for cats who tend to be active at night, but dogs can also be disruptive as they tend to act on their dreams, snore and even bark in their sleep!
If you’re familiar with any of the sleeping positions below then you’ll also know that pets tend to take up a lot of space, which can impact on your comfort level.
If you wake up easily, then it might be best to encourage your pets to sleep elsewhere, or at the very least relegate them to the end of the bed. A larger mattress can help to improve comfort as it provides everyone with more room to sleep.
Some people are also concerned that allowing pets on the bed may encourage behavioural issues. It’s often thought that getting up on the bed can cause dominance issues in dogs for example. Whilst the idea that Fido is thinking he’s at the top of the pecking order when he’s on the bed has been discounted, you should watch their behaviour carefully. Growling or barking could be a sign of resource guarding and should not be allowed. Get your pooch their own bed if they are showing signs of possessiveness over yours.
At the end of the day, bringing Fluffy to bed with you is a personal choice. Sharing a bed with pets can come with a whole host of benefits, but for many people it can simply be too disruptive.
If you do decide to welcome your pets onto your bed, you should make sure to set some boundaries to ensure that everyone gets a good night’s sleep.
Establish an area where they are allowed to sleep and teach them to stay there.
Remove your pets from the bedroom if they show any signs of aggression.
Keep your pets above the covers. This will prevent them from tracking dirt into your sheets.
Take your pets out before bedtime to prevent any accidents.
Use a mattress protector, this will help to keep your mattress free from dander and dirt.
Looking for more guidance and advice on getting the best night’s sleep with pets in your bed? Speak to our friendly experts in-store today!
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Bedshed is one of Australia's largest mattress, bedding and bedroom furniture retailers. We carry ranges of beds, bedroom suites, children's bedroom furniture, headboards & bases and mattresses from brands like Sealy, Sleepmaker, Tempur, Kingsdown, Dreamsense and Insignia, as well as a wide range of manchester and pillows.