Should pets be in the bedroom?

I’m the first to admit that I’m a crazy cat lady and I like nothing more than cuddles with my Bertie in bed in the morning, but there are a lot of people who don’t agree with pets being allowed in the bedroom at all although nearly half of all pet owners let their pets sleep with them in the bedroom. So is it a good idea to welcome your pet into your bedroom? Fitted bedroom specialists DM Design has analysed the arguments both for and against this decision:

The case for pets being in the bedroom

A study carried out by the Mayo Sleep Clinic, a leading clinic based in Arizona, USA, supports the case for welcoming your pets into your bedroom.

After surveying 150 patients — 49 per cent of whom owned at least one pet — the researchers found that over half of those with animals in their let them sleep either in their bedroom or on their bed.

However, the study also revealed that those who did felt safer, more secure, more relaxed and had a better night’s rest. On the other end of the scale, just 20 per cent of those with pets said that they experienced interrupted sleep due to their pets ‘snoring’, ‘wandering’ or ‘whimpering’ when they were in the bedroom – I can see where they’re coming from with this. My parents don’t let Bertie sleep with them because he wanders around in the middle of the night knocking things off the windowsills and tries to ‘clean’ the telly. Since I’ve been on my own with him this week, I’ve let him have free reign of the house at night but he has woken me up several times. 

Dr Krahn also pointed out from the study’s results that people who slept alone — whether due to being single or because their partner had to occasionally travel or work at night — “more often spoke of the beneficial companionship stemming from a pet in the bedroom or on the bed”. It does make me feel less lonely having a giant tabby cat plonking himself down on my face as I’m trying to sleep. He is the most affectionate cat and he’s great company.

 

The case against pets being in the bedroom

Although the Mayo Clinic has released studies in favour of having pets in the bedroom, the institute — or more specifically their Sleep Disorders Center — believes that people who have difficulty sleeping should consider keeping their pets out of the room.

In a survey of 300 patients, of which 157 had one or more pets, 53 per cent of pet owners suggested that their sleep was disrupted to some extent on a daily basis. Snoring was also reported in 21 per cent of those with dogs, as well as seven per cent of those with cats. Luckily, Bertie doesn’t snore but he does make quite a lot of noise when he’s messing around during the night as I explained earlier. 

With these results in mind, John Shepard, the medical director of the Mayo Clinic Sleep Disorders Center, advised: “Every patient has to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of sleeping with pets and make a personal decision about the sleeping arrangements in the household. Some people are very attached to their pets and will tolerate poorer sleep in order to be near them at night.” I can totally understand this – luckily I haven’t had to be up early for work this week, so I’ve been happy to have broken sleep and have let Bertie do is own thing during the night.

Meanwhile, Derek Damin, of Kentuckiana Allergy, Asthma & Immunology in Louisville, USA, believes that people who have asthma or obviously pet allergies should refrain from letting their animals on their bed or even in the bedroom. This is “to give your nose a few hours a day to recover”, Dr Damin explained. I think this is one of the reasons why Bertie gets put downstairs at night as my dad is allergic to him, however he sleeps on their bed during the day, so his hair will already be in the bedroom.

However, he was keen to add: “But if you’re not allergic, there’s really no big issue with having a dog in the bed. It’s fine as long as it doesn’t disturb your sleep.”

It appears then that so long as there aren’t any issues with allergies, personal preference takes precedence when deciding whether or not to allow pets into the bedroom – what are your thoughts? Do you let your pets sleep in the bedroom?

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