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Share a Bed With Your Furry Friend? 6 Ways to Get Better Sleep

Pets aren't always the most courteous bedmates. Here's how you can get a good night's rest while co-sleeping with your pet.

McKenzie Dillon Writer
McKenzie, a Certified Sleep Science Coach and proclaimed mattress expert, has been writing sleep content in the wellness space for over four years. After earning her certification from the Spencer Institute and dedicating hundreds of hours to sleep research, she has extensive knowledge on the topic and how to improve your quality of rest. Having more experience with lying on mattresses than most, McKenzie has reviewed over 150 beds and a variety of different sleep products including pillows, mattress toppers and sheets. McKenzie has also been a guest on multiple radio shows including WGN Chicago as a sleep expert and contributed sleep advice to over 50 different websites.
Expertise Certified Sleep Science Coach, Certified Stress Management Coach, Bachelor of English.
McKenzie Dillon
3 min read
A couple sleeping in bed with their dog in the middle of them
Ghetea Florin/EyeEm/Getty Images

Sure, there's research out there that suggests it's best not to sleep with your pet. But that's easy to say when you aren't looking into the eyes of a fluffy, cuddly animal trying to sneak into bed with you. 

Luckily for pet owners, there are benefits to your mental health and general well-being from sleeping with your pet. A survey by the Slumber Yard found that one in four adults who own a pup would rather sleep with their dog than their own significant others -- for good reasons. 

The participants explained how sleeping with their pooch reduced stress, promoted a sense of safety, decreased loneliness and even helped improve their sleep. There's even science to back these claims, as cuddling with your pet releases a naturally occurring chemical in your body called oxytocin. This chemical boosts feelings of happiness and helps reduce stress. It can also promote the production of theta brain waves that occur during focus, meditation, prayer and sleep. 

To many dog owners, if sleeping with their pet means washing the sheets more often, so be it. Just make sure you and your four-legged friend are getting enough sleep.

For more tips on getting better rest while co-sleeping, here's why you should use two comforters when sleeping with a partner and how to sleep cooler next to a hot-sleeping S.O.

Getting the best rest with your pet

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Sleep helps regulate mood, memory, knowledge retention, decision making, your immune system and more. Animals need 11 to 16 hours of sleep to properly function and feel fueled for their day. The key to sleeping well beside your pet is to set boundaries, and properly arrange yourselves so neither you nor your pet experience recurring disturbances in the middle of the night. 

Here are a few ways you can keep your furry companion in bed with you without compromising your sleep (or theirs)

1. Don't forget to do this at bedtime

You should always take your pet outside to let them do their business before tucking yourself into bed. A bedtime potty break prevents them from having to use the bathroom in the middle of the night, limiting nighttime disruptions. 

2. Give your pet their own spot on the bed

Your animal should have his or her own spot on your mattress where they can consistently sleep, like you or your co-sleeper probably do. It's best to keep your pet near the bottom of the bed on top of the covers. This ensures you and your pet aren't disturbing each other while you're sleeping, and your sheets stay cleaner against hair, pet dander and dirt. 

3. Prevent wear and tear for your mattress 

Speaking of hair, pet dander and dirt, a mattress protector is helpful when it comes to keeping your mattress free from stains and household allergens. Your bed is in more danger of wear and tear when owning an animal. With a mattress protector, your bed stays fresher from accidents and muddy paws, and you extend its shelf life. 

4. Go to bed at a regular time

Bedtimes aren't just for your kids, nieces or little cousins. People and pets can both benefit from going to bed at a regular time each night. It helps set our circadian rhythms, or our body's internal clock that runs our sleep wake cycles. Eventually, your body will begin to recognize when bedtime nears and produce melatonin, a chemical that helps you fall asleep. 

5. Consider a larger mattress 

Sharing a mattress with your four-legged friend is a lot easier when you have enough space for you and your co-sleepers. If you sleep with another human and a pet, you should at least have a queen sized mattress. If you have a medium to large dog, you may even want to consider a king-sized bed. Otherwise, you spend the night rearranging yourself or accidentally nudging each other when getting comfortable. 

6. Don't skip their vet visits  

Not only is it important to maintain cleanliness when you co-sleep with your pet, but you should also ensure your animal is feeling good and healthy. Stay up to date on all vaccinations or shots for your pet to prevent you from getting sick. 

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.