The Pros and Cons of Sharing Your Bed with Pets

Discover the five stages of sleep deprivation and their profound impacts on the body. Learn why quality sleep is essential for your health.


We all love our cats and dogs, and so many of us enjoy sharing our beds with them at night or during the day when we are lounging around at home. However, did you know that there are both benefits and challenges to having your pets share your bed with you? With bed sharing being so common around the world, it's important to recognize the pros and cons of sharing this space with our furry friends.

In this article, we're going to explore the pros and cons of sharing your bed with your pets, including some of the health benefits that you might not have realized were possible. We’ll help you decide whether or not you want to bring your pet to bed or leave the cuddles on the couch instead.   

The Benefits of Sharing Your Bed with Pets

#1: Enhance Your Mental Health

One of the first benefits of sharing your bed with pets, whether you have a cat or dog, is an improvement in your mental health. With nearly half of all pet owners sharing their beds with their cats or dogs, it’s a joy to know that it enhances our well-being. One study showed that pet owners do not lose a lot of sleep compared to non-pet owners. 

In fact, service dogs that sleep in the same room as their owners can help them overcome emotional challenges, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) if they encounter episodes throughout the night. A study on veterans showed that they are among the most sleep-deprived due to their PTSD, but service dogs can help them sleep better and experience fewer nightmares. Pets in the bedroom can help with anxiety and loneliness, even reducing cortisol levels or stress as you cuddle them close before a good night’s rest. 

#2: The “Pet Effect”

One of the most important benefits that you can experience if you allow your feline or canine companions in bed is an improvement of the “pet effect.” For those who don’t know, the “pet effect” is the idea that pet owners experience a physiological and physical benefit to spending time with their pets. This, as mentioned above, can reduce nightmares, enhance the feeling of protection, and also improve people’s subjective sleep quality scores. This was even the same for one-third of children, as reported in another study for Sleep Health

It is important to note that the “pet effect” seems to depend on the species of the animal. For instance, cat owners typically had their pets in bed as a sign of intimacy and comfort, enjoying fewer sleep disturbances. On the other hand, dog owners had a similar effect, but entailed a more pronounced feeling of protection. The “pet effect” also allows people to feel less stressed and more relaxed while also potentially improving their immune system.

#3: Improved Immunity with Early Exposure

For those who get early exposure to pets sharing their beds, especially children, there is an improvement in their immunity. A study on bed environments showed that while the body encounters an abundance of dust and other microorganisms in bed, pets can actually contribute to this bed dust and improve people’s immune systems as they grow. 

Now, that’s not to say that those with allergies will feel the same impacts, but for those without, sharing your bed with your pets can help you have a stronger immune system. For those with kids, having pets around the home can actually help kids avoid becoming allergic to things like dust mites and more.  

The Challenges of Bed Sharing with Pets

#1: Sleep Disturbances

Despite some of the emotional benefits, pets can cause sleep disturbances, which can be bad for your overall sleep health. One study showed that people who sleep with their pets can often wake up more throughout the night, often starting to watch TV or engage in other activities despite it being nighttime.  

The main reason for the sleep disturbances is that many pets do not sleep the same way as humans. In fact, cats and dogs tend to be somewhat nocturnal, taking naps throughout the day. It is this activity throughout the night that can keep people up, as well as the noises that they make. Many people believe, because of this, that having pets in bed can be detrimental to one’s sleep. 

#2: Allergies and More

Now, as mentioned, having pets in the bedroom sharing your bed from a young age can help with immunity, but it can also exacerbate people’s allergies. For those who have allergies to pets, dust, and more, you may find that you wake up congested, with a cough, or even feeling under the weather after sharing a bed with your cat or dog. 

If you are immunocompromised, sharing a bed with your furry friend might seem like a good idea, but you can be exposed to bacteria, viruses, and even parasites. This can be harmful to your health, and it is a major reason why people who have weaker immune systems often are encouraged not to share beds with their pets. 

#3: Reduced Sleep Efficiency

Not all pets impact sleep efficiency the same, but cats tend to be the most likely to reduce one’s sleep efficiency. According to the Sleep Foundation, this is largely because of their nocturnal nature. However, other studies have said that dogs can also cause more sleep disturbances than cats. 

When dogs move in bed, which can often be more noticeable than cats, some researchers say that they tend to wake their owners and cause them to also be disturbed (Source: Animals). More research definitely needs to be conducted, but one thing is for sure: researchers have reason to believe that pets affect sleep efficiency negatively.

Final Thoughts on Pets and Bed Sharing

Sharing your pet with your cat or dog may seem like a beneficial situation for both of you, but there are some challenges to consider. From your overall health to improving your sleep efficiency, it is important to look out for yourself and your well-being.


Written by

Marie Soukup

Marie Soukup is a seasoned copywriter, editor, and Integrative Nutrition Health Coach with a certificate from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition (IIN). With five years of experience working with brands across diverse industries, Marie is passionate about holistic health and crafting compelling content.

Copyright © Neybox Digital Ltd.