Sleeping with Pets: Tips for Quality Rest
There are a lot of conflicting opinions out there about whether or not your pets should be allowed to sleep in your bedroom. Some say that this habit puts your health and safety at risk, but is that true?
It turns out that with the proper circumstances, you can sleep with your pet worry-free. There can even be some mental health benefits to getting some deep sleep with your furry friend. That said, it's important to be aware of the situations where you might want to think twice before letting your pet climb into your bed.
Prioritize Pet and Human Health
The most common factor that might prevent you from sleeping with your pet is allergies. If you or your pet has allergies, then it's best to keep a healthy distance at night.
Even if you're not allergic to pet hair or dander, pets can pick up pollen or other allergens throughout the day. Close proximity to those allergens for several hours a day isn't going to bode well for your sleep quality or overall health.
Remember that pets can have allergies too, so keep an eye out to make sure you're not causing issues for your beloved dog or cat.
Create and Stick to a Routine
Creating a bedtime routine for yourself and your pet is the key to maintaining proper sleep hygiene. Optimize your bedroom for sleep by removing any work or recreational activities. Only sit in your bed when you're ready to go to sleep and keep it comfortable with a good mattress topper.
Just as you have your own bedtime routine, create one for your pet. Whether it's a night walk or a quick grooming session, this will help let your pet know that it's time to wind down for bedtime.
Remember, the key to adopting new habits is consistency. Don't switch up your pet's bedtime routine sporadically, as this may cause some confusion and make it more difficult to bring them to bed.
Maintain Healthy Boundaries
Whether you've decided to sleep with your pet in close quarters or not, you need to be consistent with your boundaries.
If your dog isn't trained, you might want to start with the basics before working on their sleep routine. Especially if your dog shows signs of resource guarding or aggression, you'll need to address those issues before hopping into bed with them.
Having your pet in the bed with you might not work with your lifestyle. If you still want to feel closer to your pet without inviting them into your bed, you can show your love by setting up a comfy and cozy pet bed near your bed. This way, you get some space from your pet while still keeping them nearby.
What Are the Benefits of Sleeping With a Pet?
If you already sleep with your pet, you've probably wondered if this habit is actually doing you any good. Here are just some reasons to keep your furry friend close as you doze off.
Interacting with pets reduces cortisol levels, which is a hormone associated with stress. These interactions can also positively impact your blood pressure and heart rate.
Feeling of Security
Sleeping close to your dog helps you feel safe, especially if you own a larger breed. You can rest easier knowing that dogs deter intruders and that your dog is ready to protect you from harm.
Cuddling with your pet releases oxytocin, a chemical in your brain that promotes closeness in relationships.
You've probably already noticed that hanging out with your pet improves your mood. If you're able to sleep with your pet, your chances of bonding with the help of oxytocin improve.
If you decide that sleeping with your pets isn't for you, don't worry. There are still plenty of ways throughout the day that you can show your pets that you care.
For more information on sleeping with your pets and which breeds make the best napping companions, check out Tommy John's infographic below.