Sleeping dog and cat
February 8, 2018 | by David C. Chang MD

Getting a good night’s sleep is vital for your overall well-being. This includes physical, emotional, and metabolic health. Sleeping in bed with your pet may not be good for your quality of sleep. It may even be harmful.

Dogs, especially, may track pollen, dirt, and grass into bed, causing continuous exposure while you are sleeping. If you suffer from allergies or asthma, this can lead to worsening allergic symptoms both day and night. Ideally, the bed should be free of allergens. Avoiding pets in bed can be a first step. Skin sensitivities can worsen with fur and dander exposure, especially if your pet is the snuggling type, which can lead to irritation of your exposed skin throughout the night. Though rare, pets can transmit infections, as well as fleas and ticks (less rare).

If you suffer from insomnia or fragmented sleep, your pet may be playing a part. Pets jumping or moving in bed can pull you out of a deep sleep. Large or multiple pets can also limit the amount of space in bed, causing cramped conditions. A snoring pet doesn’t help either. Your pet can easily make up for lost sleep. Unfortunately, you might have a harder time making it up as you go through your busy day.

Sleep deprivation or fragmentation, even for one night, may adversely affect your daytime functioning. This includes concentration, mood, and overall lack of energy. In addition, your overall metabolism can be compromised, which can lead to challenges in losing weight. Furthermore, two appetite-suppressing hormones, ghrelin and leptin, are affected negatively by sleep deprivation. This can lead to weight gain, as a result of increased caloric intake.

If you sleep with your pet, you are in good company. However, it may not be in your or your furry friend’s best interests. As much as you may want to comfort and snuggle with a pet, it’s best to avoid sleeping in the same bed.

This article originally appeared in Costco Connection magazine. Read the full story that outlines the pros and cons of sleeping with pets here.

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Written By: David C. Chang MD