The number of households in the UK with a pet is at an all-time high, leading to more than 5,000 owners turning to Google to ask questions such as ‘should a pet sleep on the bed?’ and ‘what are the benefits of allowing my dog on the bed?’.
Research by the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research shows that more than half of owners (56 per cent) allow their pets to sleep with them at night. Georgia Metcalfe, founder of French Bedroom, and psychologist Barbara Santini state five reasons why sharing a bed with our dogs may actually be good for everyone involved.
It has been proven that a dog in the bed can mitigate anxiety and improve mood andenvironment for rest, combatting insomnia in the process.
Barbara states, “Sleeping with pets encourages the production and release of more oxytocin. When our oxytocin levels are high, we are more likely to experience total body relaxation.”
Georgia adds, “This will stimulate theta brainwaves, which occur during REM sleep and helps our mind make memories as well as increase creativity.”
Sharing a bed with an animal may benefit the immune system even more due to the close proximity together.
Barbara says, “Pets encourage the diversity of microorganisms in a home and research shows that your immune system strengthens when exposed to a diversity of microorganisms.”
It is also proven that pets help lower blood pressure in humans, and babies are less likely to have allergies when brought up around them.
Increased comfort and security
Pets provide a sense of safety at night. Georgia says, “Pets create a secure and cosy atmosphere with their warmth, steady heartbeat, and protective nature.”
Barbara adds, “Dogs heighten comfort, especially for people who feel lonely. If we have a nightmare dogs can wake us up, helping ease the problem.”
Fresher bed linen
Having a pet involves cleaning the house more often due to added build-up of dirt – the extra washes can help with allergies and dust, especially during summer.
Georgia comments, “Nine out of ten of us wash our sheets every two weeks, but that’s not hygienic enough and won’t keep allergens away during summer.”
Pets provide an extra reason to keep the house in order so sleeping with them and washing the linen every few days on a warm cycle will prevent an accumulation of dust in the fibres.”
The benefits of having pets sleep on the bed aren’t just for humans: animals will have a higher trust level. This will help make communication and training easier, as well as improve the relationship.
Georgia says, “The feel-good hormones that are released for people have the same effect on animals. Dogs will feel like part of a pack and cats will view this as an extra level of protection.”
Barbara adds, “Pets are an extension of the family that bring us great joy and allowing them to sleep on the bed has many benefits for both them and us. If you don’t already, let them on your bed tonight and see if you experience the additions they bring to our health, immune system and more importantly, sleep.
“If you want to be close to pets but worry about sharing a bed, why not treat them to a luxurious bed of their own that can be placed next to yours. There will still be positives from being close, but any concerns around hurting them or feeling like you may be disturbed will go away.”