When I was interviewing to become Sleepy’s Snooze Director I was asked a simple question, “Do you have any interesting or unusual sleeping habits?” To which I had to respond honestly, “I sleep with my 50 pound dog”.
Daisy, and her toys, getting comfortable on my bed.
Daisy, my 5 year old Beagle/Yellow Lab mix, has slept at the end of my bed every night since the day I brought her home. I adopted Daisy when she was 10 weeks old, and after sleeping in a small crate for the majority of her life, my Queen size bed opened up a new world for her. My family had dogs in the past who were never allowed to sleep on the bed, but Daisy was different. Daisy was my dog, and I wanted her to sleep wherever she was most comfortable.
Perhaps my answer wasn’t as unusual as I thought. According to the American College of Veterinary Medicine, 62% of Americans allow their pets to sleep in their bedroom or on their bed. There are, of course, positives and negatives when allowing your pet to sleep on your bed. If you allow your four-legged friend to sleep with you, the most important thing to keep in mind is ensuring that your sleep is not disrupted.
Having enough space in the bed can be a serious point of conflict between you and your pet. Despite obvious issues like the size of your pet and the size of your bed, sleeping position can also play a role in your comfort level. Similar to humans, there are a variety of different canine sleeping positions. Being able to share a bed with your pet and still sleep in your preferred sleeping position is very important for a good night’s sleep, for both you and your pet. Luckily for Daisy and I, I am a side sleeper and she curls up into a ball when she sleeps, so space isn’t an issue for us.
Sleeping near your pet can also cause unwanted wake-ups. Whether it’s a wagging tail hitting a bedside table, whining because of a nightmare, or a need to go the bathroom in the middle of the night, your pet can prevent you from sleeping soundly through the night. Over the past 5 years there have been a number of times that Daisy has woken me up in the middle of the night for various reasons, but she needs a good night’s sleep just as much as I do, so those nights are few and far between.
Personally, the positives of having Daisy sleep with me outweigh any of the negatives. There is a heightened sense of security and safety when she is in the same room as me. Having her near me allows me to worry less and I sleep more soundly. According to Dr. Rose from Baylor College of Medicine, there are both psychological and physical benefits to sleeping with your pet. She says, “pets can create a sense of safety, security and comfort, and the rhythmic beating of their heart as well as the release of bonding hormones such as oxytocin may aid the owner with their own sleep”.
Allowing Daisy to sleep with me was my decision, and although it isn’t right for everyone, it was right for Daisy and I. If letting your pet sleep in your bed isn’t for you, give them their own place to relax at the end of the day. Providing your pet with a comfortable pet bed to sleep on can help ensure a great night’s sleep for everyone. Where you allow your pet to sleep is an individual decision that only you as an owner can make. Just make sure that whatever your decision may be, you don’t lose sleep over it!
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Contributor: Elizabeth Murphy, Snooze Director