Why pets shouldn't sleep in bed with you

How sleeping with your pet can affect your health.

August 27, 2020


If you sleep with your pet, you’re in good company. But it may not be in your or your furry friend’s best interests. Here’s why.

Getting a good night’s sleep is important for your physical and emotional well-being. If your pet sleeps with you, it can keep you from getting quality sleep. In fact, it might even be harmful.

For example, dogs can track pollen, dirt and grass into bed. If you suffer from allergies or asthma, this can lead to worsening symptoms both day and night. These include sneezing, rashes or other signs of a problem.

Ideally, the bed should be free of allergens. Not having pets in bed can be a first step. Skin sensitivities can worsen if you're in contact with fur and dander (flakes of skin).

This is especially true if your pet is the snuggling type. That can lead to irritation of your exposed skin throughout the night. Sometimes pets can pass on infections as well as fleas and ticks. It's not common, but it does happen.

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 how well you get through daily life. This includes concentration (how well you can focus), mood and overall lack of energy.

Your metabolism can also be compromised by lack of sleep. This can lead to challenges in losing weight. Two appetite-suppressing hormones, ghrelin and leptin, are affected negatively by sleep deprivation. This can lead to weight gain also.

Bottom line, for as much as you may want to comfort and snuggle with a pet, it’s best not to have your pets sleep in the same bed.


By David C Chang, MD

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The information provided is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be medical advice or a substitute for professional health care. You should consult an appropriate health care professional for your specific needs.