Pet ownership can come with a huge set of perks for people who own pets. The CDC reports that more than 60% of Americans have pets, and roughly half of those people share their beds with their dogs or cats. They're just so cute, how can you say no to that fur baby that wants to join you for cuddles? However, whether you own a pet you sleep with or you are considering a pet and want to plan where and how your pet will sleep, you may want to learn more about sharing a bed with an animal before you decide if sleeping with pets is right you.
To make the smartest and most informed decision regarding your sleeping situation and sleep quality (for both you and your pets), it can help to know how sleeping with pets affects your quality of life and the way that you sleep. If you've decided that pet ownership is for you—or you have already begun sleeping with your animals and don't want to stop — it can also help to learn how to optimize your sleep quality with your furry friends beside you in bed.
To figure out if inviting your furry friend to share your bed is the right thing for you to do, read our helpful guide to sleeping with pets. You can learn about the benefits and drawbacks of having your pet in bed, how pets can affect the quality of your human sleep, what to expect once you invite your animal into bed, and, if you do choose to sleep with your pets, what kind of mattress you should sleep on so you can optimize sleep quality for both you and your canine or feline loved one.
Will my pet affect my sleep?
If you are thinking about sleeping with pets, you may be considering how nice it will feel to have a warm, cuddly body in bed with you. Co-sleeping can help lower anxiety and make people feel loved and safe in bed.
However, many dog owners or cat owners forget to consider other factors about sleeping with pets before they decide to have a dog or cat in bed. That is, dogs and cats are creatures that need comfort for sleep, too. No matter how well behaved, they often have to move around, stretch out, and adjust positions to stay comfortable. Dogs tend to circle before they lay down for sleeping, and may do it repeatedly throughout the night as they change positions or find new places to sleep. This can pose challenges if you have decided to try co-sleeping.
Movement by a creature that is not yours (or a human partner that you're used to sleeping with) may just affect the overall quality of your sleep. In fact, a survey found that people who were co-sleeping with their pet took about four minutes longer to fall asleep to sleep than those who did not share a bet with their pet. In addition to taking longer to fall asleep, people who chose to co-sleep with their animals said that they felt tired when they woke up, although the drowsiness didn't last all day.
When deciding whether you want to sleep with your pet, it's important to consider those extra Zs you might lose. Shorter sleep times can lead to exhaustion and difficulty with mental health. However, in reality, four minutes is not a huge amount of time in the grand scheme of a whole night of sleep. And, human-animal co-sleep can improve your health in other ways—like boosting oxytocin and helping your brain generate more happy chemicals that last throughout your day. Therefore, if you really want to try human-animal co-sleeping, but you are worried about your mental health, the four minutes of sleep you might lose is most likely not going to be enough of a drawback to keep you from letting your animal cuddle up with you in bed.
Besides the movement and readjusting of an animal can do can affect the quality of your falling (and staying asleep), one last consideration to keep in mind about how pets affect your sleep is whether you have allergies to the hair or dander that your pet sheds. Even with no health issues, dogs naturally shed hair and skin—just like humans do. Some people have pet hair allergies that are mild enough that they do not interfere with their daily lives since enough distance is kept between the pet and a pet owner's face.
However, letting dogs or cats sleep in your bed, and letting them lay their face on the same surfaces as you, may worsen allergy symptoms and reactions. If you are bedsharing with allergies, the materials you are allergic to will be hard to avoid and can exacerbate breathing and allergy issues. Ultimately, You don't have to worry about pet allergies and sleeping in bed with pets as long as your allergies are not severe. (If you are wondering how severe your allergies are, consider seeing your doctor or allergist who can test this for you and make sure that sleeping together is safe, and that you can get good sleep even if you're mildly affected by sharing the same bed as an animal you're allergic to.)
As long as you and your partner don't have severe allergies and clean your sheets and pillows often, sleeping with your pets shouldn't have much of an impact on your breathing during your sleep. (Also, it's important that every once in a while, you clean your foam mattress, too!)
Should we get a new mattress since we got a dog or a cat?
Now that we've established that you may get a little bit less sleep than a person who chooses not to sleep with their pets, let's talk about the mattress you'll be sleeping on if you decide to sleep with your pets. Is there a "best mattress for pet owners?" Is one mattress type better than the rest for you and your dog or cat to share? Is it worth it to get a new mattress when you decide to let your dog or cat sleep with you, to ensure everyone's quality of sleep is as good as it possibly can be?
This may seem like a crazy question and by no means do you have to get a new mattress just because you got a new pet, but certain mattresses are better if you plan to sleep with your furry friend. Why? Think about it. Just like a partner, animals move around on the mattress, get up in the middle of the night, and jump in and out of bed. Chances are if you can feel the mattress moving every time your pet moves, you aren't going to get much sleep. If you're planning to let your pets share your bed, you may want to consider getting a mattress with a low-motion transfer.Memory foam mattresses are great for this because they have very little motion transfer.
At Leesa, our mattresses pass the wine glass test, where a glass of wine sitting on the mattress won't spill if you get on the mattress with it. While you probably won't jump into a bed where a glass of wine is just sitting on the mattress (although you may get in bed with a glass of wine), it shows you how little motion transfer the mattress offers. This is why you might consider a Leesa memory foam mattress when you get a pet. It's not a MUST if you want to fall asleep with your pets, but it is a way to ensure you're getting the best quality sleep possible if you end up sleeping with pets regularly.
What are some risks and benefits of sleeping with pets?
Sleeping with pets is clearly safe and possible, but it's also a personal preference. To make your own decision about whether sleeping with pets is for you or not, check out the following benefits and risks. They can help you decide whether the perks of sleeping with your dog or cat outweigh the potential risks
- Sleeping with your pet can make you feel safer and more secure.
- Petting your cat or dog releases oxytocin in the brain, so sleeping with them has a similar effect. You may feel less stressed and more relaxed with them in bed with you.
- Sleeping with your pet, just like sleeping with your partner, strengthens your physical and emotional bond. Plus, if you get the best mattress for sleeping with a pet, you can bond when you want to and sleep when you don't.
- If you haven't noticed, your pet is probably really good at napping. In bed with you, they'll fall to sleep quickly and their rhythmic breathing can be therapeutic.
- A pet may snore or twitch in their sleep, which can be a problem for light sleepers.
- Just like your partner, your cat or dog may hog the bed. Like snoring or twitching, this could keep you from getting the sleep you need. This can be especially true on a twin mattress size since there's less room to start with.
- If you have allergies or asthma, letting your pet in your bed may aggravate that. While they may be cute, it's not worth it if sleeping with them makes you sick.
- Consider how much time your pet spends outside and make sure they're clean before they get on your mattress.
What kind of mattress is best for people who like sleeping with pets?
Like we said before, a foam mattress is going to give you the least amount of motion transfer and allow you and your pet to sleep better. So, as far as the best mattress for pet owners goes, it's probably a foam mattress.
What about mattress size? While your puppy or kitten may be tiny now, you need to think about how big they'll get. If you're planning to share a bed with your pet, especially a dog, a twin or twin XL size mattress probably won't cut it. For most adults, a twin is tight just sleeping alone, but add a 20, 30, or 50-pound animal and it's going to be really hard for both of you to sleep.
A full, queen or king-size mattress is probably the best mattress for sharing with a cat or dog. This gives you plenty of space to sleep and allows your furry friend to spread out, too.
Pro Tip: It's smart to invest in a good mattress protector for your foam mattress, whether you let your pet in your bed or not. A mattress protector provides a barrier between your mattress and life, so the dust, dirt, and pet hair don't ruin your favorite mattress.
If you are going to let your pet sleep with you, you're in for a constant nap companion and a lot of cuddle time. Just make sure you make the right changes, updates, and choices so that you're both getting the sleep you need. Ready to get a good night's sleep? Let Leesa guide you to the best mattress for you and your furry family members.
Tips for sleeping with your pet
If you've considered the benefits and drawbacks of sleeping with pets, and you know that having your cat or dog in bed is the right thing for you, you'll want to take all of the steps you can to ensure that your sleeping experience is as good and restful as it can possibly be for everyone involved.
To do that, keep in mind the following tips for optimizing sleep. Each of these considers how to ensure everyone's comfortable in bed, that people can sleep restfully and peacefully, and that bed remains a sanctuary for relaxation and rejuvenation, even if your pets are always present as you're drifting off.
- Get the right mattress: The mattress you choose for sleeping with your cats or dogs can really affect the quality of your sleep. A low motion transfer mattress like one made of memory foam is going to offer you a much stiller night in bed, regardless of who is sharing the bed with you. For the last chance you'll feel anyone's movement in the night but your own, consider getting a memory foam mattress like Leesa. Also, make sure you pick the right size mattress so everyone has space.
- Clean your bedding regularly: Everyone should keep their bedding clean by washing it once a week. However, a pet owner who has a dog or cat should wash their bedding even more often. Dogs (and some cats) spend lots of time romping outside, often in the dirt or mud. Also, cats use the litterbox as their bathroom, then walk around the house with debris and germs from the litterbox on their feet. Having pets in bed is simply going to make your bed a dirtier place. To counteract that, consider washing all your bedding twice a week. Also, regularly throughout the year, make sure you clean and replace pillows, and also take steps to clean your mattress, as well. Keeping your bed clean can make the bed feel better for everyone to sleep in, and it can eliminate things like small bugs or mites that are a result of your furry friends' presence.
- Take regular trips to the vet: It's all around pretty safe to share your bed with your animals. However, animals can pick up strange diseases and parasites from simply spending time outside or with other dogs or cats. Many of these diseases are, unfortunately, contagious to humans, so you wouldn't want to share a bed with your pet if they're sick and could transmit diseases to you. To ensure everyone's in good enough shape to share a bed safely, make visiting the vet a routine event. At a preventative visit, vets can make sure your animals aren't suffering from something contagious that you can't see, and they can also make sure that your animal receives all preventative medications, like a tick treatment, to help increase the chances they stay well no matter what they encounter.
How can Leesa help with better sleep?
Leesa can help with better sleep no matter where you are sleeping or who you are sharing a bed with, but it's a particularly useful mattress company to buy from if you're going to be sleeping with pets. Leesa offers multiple sizes of a memory foam mattress, so you can choose a low motion transfer surface that won't wake you up if your animal moves, and you can also pick the size of the bed that will allow room for everyone to stretch out, whether you have a siamese cat or a St. Bernard dog.
Leesa also lets you try a mattress risk-free for a 100-days, so you can make sure everyone can sleep comfortably on the mattress once you get it—and if not, you can return it and get your money back (with no money wasted on finding the just-right mattress for you and your whole family, furry- and non-.)