Advantages and disadvantages of sleeping with your pet

Today many people claim to share a room or bed with their dogs and cats

Domestic animals, such as cats and dogs, have a very important role in modern society and, in many cases, a preponderant place in the homes of their owners. So much so that many people claim to share a room or bed with them.

“It is clear that pets, especially dogs and cats in the houses, play an important role, being sometimes like other members of the family, they have important relationships with them and, in cases of people who live alone, they are an important part in socialization given the obligation to leave the house with their owners “, says in an interview with Infosalus the coordinator of the group of Movement and Behavior Disorders during sleep of the Spanish Sleep Society (SES), Dr. Enriqueta Gómez Siurana.

The fact of having to go out with them, for example, “indirect beneficiaries of sleep, for example in patients with insomnia who should not be too early and must keep the time to get up constant”, specify doctor Gómez. Thus, “taking the pass to the pet at night facilitates the alarm the time to go to bed and having to take it out in the morning forces them to get up at a predetermined time”, concedes the expert.

However, also in people with insomnia and other sleep pathologies, such as sleep apnea-hypopnea syndrome, restless leg syndrome or parasomnias, and other alterations, this fact can aggravate the problem, which is why the Sleep Units have always recommended as a measure in sleep hygiene not to share a room or bed with animals during sleep “, specifies doctor Gómez.

“The main reasons for this recommendation are the specific aspects related to pets, such as the emission of sounds, movements or smells, which can cause an increase in the difficulty in conciliation and maintenance of sleep, without forgetting other health issues such as trigger certain allergies and the spread of diseases, although it is assumed that an animal that shares a house must be cared for and comply with all vaccination and veterinary control measures, as well as adequate hygiene, “the SES expert details.
Dr. Gómez says that “there are few studies on the effects of sharing a room or bed with animals.” Even so, we can lose some advantages of this fact, chosen by half of the people who have pets, according to the expert.

In the first place, “more time is spent with the animal”, begins the doctor Gómez, who also mentions studies that specify that it sleeps with the pet in the same room or bed “beneficiaries of the social and psychological health of the people, especially they have people who live alone, “insists the SES member.

On the other hand, “on an emotional level, pets can generate a kind of comfort, companionship, and act as substitutes for human support, others feel safe, affect separation anxiety and help in stressful situations,” adds Doctor Gomez.


Disadvantages

The SES member also mentions certain disadvantages of sharing a bed or room with the pet. “Regarding health, they are possible sources of disease transmission and cause allergies or asthma,” insists the expert.

On the other hand, according to an Australian survey published in 2014 cited by Dr. Gómez, pets “increase the vulnerability to disturb sleep. Sleeping with dogs in bed has a negative impact on latency and quality of sleep in healthy adults. “, explains the expert who, however, warns that the aforementioned survey does not differentiate between noises that animals pass during the night or the type of dog

Furthermore, sleeping with a dog, for example, in bed or in the bedroom can impact the psychological behaviors of animals, “especially what affects the reason why they are allowed to share the night in the same space”, Distinguishes Doctor Gómez.

“If there are other animals in the same house that are not allowed to sleep in the bed or in the room, it can generate aggressiveness and competitiveness in the dogs; on the other hand, if the dog is allowed to share a bedroom to avoid other unwanted behaviors like defecating or wetting the bed, we may be contributing to rude the animal, “says the expert.

Finally, there is the sexual aspect of humans. Sleeping with a pet in the bedroom or on the bed “can interfere with the sexual relations of the couple causing conflicts,” recalls Dr. Gómez.