^Above photo: Minos, our Maine Coon sleeping comfortably on our bed. 😀

Do you allow your furbabies to sleep in your bedroom or on your bed? If yes, you are not alone on this. We do too. It’s not that we invite them over for cuddles, but our cats, a Maine coon and two Ragdolls are naturally sociable and affectionate, and enjoy human interaction.

In a survey conducted by one of the top pet insurers around, Animal Friends, found that almost half of owners who participated in the survey sleep with their pets – either in the bedroom or on the bed.

What are the pros and cons of having your pet in your bedroom? Fitted bedroom specialists DM Design points out the for and against:

Yes for pets in the bedroom

Mayo Sleep Clinic’s (a clinic based in Arizona, USA) study, supports the ‘yes’ in allowing pets into your bedroom.

In a survey of 150 patients — 49 per cent owning at least one pet — the researchers confirmed that more than half of those with animals in their homes, let their four-legged companions sleep either in their bedroom or on their bed.

But the study also showed that those who have pets in the bedroom at night felt safer, more relaxed, and had a good night’s sleep. On the other hand, only about 20 per cent of those with pets experienced some interruption as their pets move around, miaos, or tries to sleep ‘on them’ or beside them.

leon tail
Leon, playing before sleep…

The study’s author Lois Krahn commented: ‘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.”

She also stated that out of the study’s results, people who has to sleep alone — either due to being single or because their partner had to occasionally travel or work at night — “spoke of the beneficial companionship stemming from a pet in the bedroom or on the bed”.

There have been many other instances where Mayo Sleep Clinic revealed favourable results to owners for having pets sleep in the bedroom.

For example, in a study of 40 adult dog owners who had their sleep evaluated with their pets in the bedroom over a five-month period — with both the humans and dogs wearing activity trackers for the research — it was established that people slept better when the pet was on their bed. The backslash though, sleep quality suffered when people allowed their dogs to sleep under the covers too.

Regarding this study done by Mayo Clinic’s Centre for Sleep Medicine, Dr. Krahn somehow agreed: “The relationship between people and their pets has changed over time, which is likely why many people in fact do sleep with their pets in the bedroom.”

She added, “Today, many pet owners are away from their pets for much of the day, so they want to maximize their time with them when they are home. Having them in the bedroom at night is an easy way to do that. And, now, pet owners can find comfort knowing it won’t negatively impact their sleep.”

 
^Minos and Iron both sleepy.

No to pets being in the bedroom

Inspite of the Mayo Clinic’s favourable results in its study of having pets in the bedroom, its other leg, the Sleep Disorders Center — reckons that those who have difficulty in sleeping should at least reconsider to keep their pets out of the room.

In a survey of 300 patients conducted,  157 of which had one or more pets, a little over 50 per cent of pet owners admitted that their sleep has been somehow been disrupted everyday. Snoring was also a common occurrence in 21 per cent of those with dogs, as well as seven per cent of those with cats.

With the results mentioned above, John Shepard, medical director of the Mayo Clinic Sleep Disorders Center, said: “Every patient has to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of sleeping with pets and make a personal decision about the sleeping arrangements in the household. Some people are very attached to their pets and will tolerate poorer sleep in order to be near them at night.”

In addition, Derek Damin, of Kentuckiana Allergy, Asthma & Immunology in Louisville, USA, believes that people who have asthma or obviously pet allergies should refrain from letting their animals on their bed or even in the bedroom. This is “to give your nose a few hours a day to recover”, Dr Damin explained.

He however added: “But if you’re not allergic, there’s really no big issue with having a dog in the bed. It’s fine as long as it doesn’t disturb your sleep.”

In conclusion, it is a personal preference when deciding whether or not to allow pets into the bedroom. I, for one, is ok with it…our son who has had asthma doesn’t get attacks anymore when we took in our cats. I’m not sure about the reason for it, but it seems his immune system got better since.