How Many People Sleep With Their Pets? The Surprising Answer!

Many owners treat their cats and dogs like family members and even let them sleep in bed with them. If you have a pet, chances are you let your furry friend snuggle with you every night when you go to bed. While not every cat or dog owner lets their pet sleep in their bed, a 2023 survey¹ conducted by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine found that about 46% of pet owners snuggle with their pet at night. That’s quite a lot when you share a bed with a pet that takes up more space than you do!

But why do people like to sleep with their pets? And is sleeping with a cat or dog healthy, or are there health risks? We’ve gathered some statistics on people who sleep with their pets, as well as some health risks you should consider when sleeping with a furry friend. So keep reading to learn more!

Why Do We Enjoy Sleeping With Our Pets?

Little girl sleeping with dog in bed
Image Credit: Yuliya Evstratenko, Shutterstock

Another survey¹ of people who sleep with their pets, commissioned by mattress company Sealy, found that 54% of pet owners allow it because pets are considered family. (It also found that 58% of respondents in a relationship preferred to sleep with their pet rather than their partner)! The same survey found that 47% of people who let their pet sleep with them find it easier to relax when their cat or dog is with them, while 42% say they feel safer when their pet is in bed. And 51% of parents say that having a pet in bed reduces anxiety and stress.

And in a survey by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 46% of respondents said they sleep better with a pet in bed. The study also found that younger people are more likely to sleep with their pets than older people (53% of GenZ versus 36% of baby boomers).

So many people are sleeping with their pets every night for a variety of reasons!

Is Sleeping With Your Pet Healthy?

While sleeping with a pet offers some benefits, such as extra warmth in bed and a feeling of less anxiety and security, there are also some disadvantages¹ of sleeping with a cat or dog.

One such disadvantage of cuddling with your pet is disrupted sleep. A 2018 study¹ found that people who sleep with their dog are more likely to wake up at night because their dog is active. And it’s not just your pet’s movements that can wake you up while you sleep; if your pet snores, it can also wake you up. And if you’re a light sleeper, you’re more likely to wake up.

In addition, sleeping with a pet exposes you to more allergens and parasites, viruses and bacteria.

If you have a dog, the risk of it biting you increases if you sleep with it. Some dogs are easily awakened, and one study found that 6% of dogs¹ that bit people were asleep or resting just before they bit. So if your dog is jumpier than most, sleeping with him may not be the best idea.

Tips for Sleeping Safely With Your Pet

As you can see, sleeping with your pet has both positives and negatives. If you decide to let your pet sleep with you, there are ways to make it safer for both of you.

  1. If you want your pet to sleep with you but not be disturbed, try setting up a cozy sleeping area for your cat or dog next to your bed. It may take some time for them to get used to it, but in the long run it will be beneficial for both of you, while giving you the sense of security that comes with having a pet.
  2. Keep your pet clean to reduce the risk of fleas, ticks, parasites and allergens.
  3. Purchase a mattress large enough for you, your pet and any other sleepers in the bed. This ensures that all people and pets have enough room to move around at night without disturbing each other.
  4. Make sure your pet always stays on top of the blanket or comforter. This not only helps keep allergens and dirt out of the bed, but also ensures that your pet doesn’t feel restrained at any time.
  5. Wash your bedding regularly! This and keeping your cat or dog clean reduces the chances of allergens, dirt and the like getting to you.
  6. Consistent sleep schedule is important, but also consider your cat or dog’s routine. For example, let your dog out just before bedtime each evening so that he or she is not too active after bedtime. Or consider what time your pet wakes you up most often. That way you can make sure you sleep at a time that will keep you awake.

woman in blue tank top lying on couch with black cat

Final Thoughts

Many pet parents sleep with their pets (almost half!), and sleeping with a cat or dog can bring some great benefits, such as reduced anxiety and stress. But there is also a risk of disturbed sleep or allergens, parasites and more when you leave your pet in bed with you. That doesn’t mean you should stop sleeping with your pet, though, as there are some steps you can take to make snuggling with your cat or dog at night a healthier experience.

So leave your pet with you at night if it makes you feel better; just do it in a way that makes you both happy and doesn’t cause sleep deprivation!

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