Restless Nights? Sleep With a Pet


Kick your human bedmate out and draft in your pet if you want a good night’s sleep. That’s what Queensland researchers have found in a new study — people sleep easier with pets in their bed rather than with a human partner.

The results come from an online study into sleep patterns, which more than 13,000 Australians participated in earlier this year.

Professor Drew Dawson from Central Queensland University says about 70 percent of respondents were regularly woken at night, but it was humans doing it far more than pets. “People reporting partners who snored and partners who got up to go to the toilet and therefore turned the lights on,” he said.

However, there are other reasons why you might want to avoid sharing a bed with a pet — it could make you ill, according to a study published last year.

“The risk of contracting something is rare, but if you’re that person who gets a disease from a pet, rare doesn’t matter that much,” the paper’s co-author Bruno Chomel, a professor at the University of California-Davis school of veterinary medicine and an expert in zoonoses, the transmission of disease from animal to human, said. “I know this will make me unpopular, but pets really don’t belong in your bed.”

The American Veterinary Medical Association takes a different view. Says AVMA president Larry Kornegay, “I’ve been in practice for 40 years and I see the bond between people and their pets and the positive effects pets can have on humans, which I believe outweighs any risk, whether you sleep with a pet or not.”

Kornegay admits his own teenage daughter sleeps with the family’s miniature Schnauzer.

Dog trainer Cesar Millan, of TV series “The Dog Whisperer,” also thinks sleeping with dogs is fine, although he believes the dog should be invited up each night, just to show it who’s the real leader of the pack.

“Then choose the portion of the bed where the dog sleeps,” he writes in his book ‘Cesar’s Way‘. “Sweet dreams.”


Related Stories:

6 Ways Pet Therapy Helps Animals

Who Is Trying to Destroy the Humane Society?

The Call of the Wild: Is It Better for Dogs to Live Inside or Roam?


Picture by Jez Page

Love This? Never Miss Another Story.


Kay M.
Kay M.2 years ago

i love sleeping w/my pets. that's the thing i miss most when i travel.

Patricia M.
Patricia M.2 years ago

have to agree with the article about human partners disturbing one's sleep, especially snoring husbands... However I now have an American Staffordshire Bull Terrier that snores worse but I hardly notice it as much as I did the uneven pattern of a human snore...

As for my bed, there have always been dogs sleeping in it, even when when I was partnered with a human male... Either you like dogs and realize my dogs are family or hit the road, fella... And do not get this wrong folks, I am now widowed, loved my man and miss him, so do not think I am, in anyway, a man-hater...

Nowasdays at least 3-4 dogs share my bed a night; occasionally must send bed-hog AmStaff off cause he refuses to budge from my side of the bed... However, my angelic little furry girls sleep on the other side of my bed almost hardly moving at all during the night...

Sandra Streifel
Sandra S.2 years ago

Our Dobermans used to sleep under the covers with me, because I think with short hair they used to get cold in the winter. We have a Papillon now, and he is always warm with lots of long hair, so he likes to sleep at the foot of the bed--you would never know he's there.

I think the Vet that specializes in zoonoses is a bit too focussed on animal diseases that transfer to people--other than fleas, I don't think it's that much of a problem

Margret Webster
Margaret Webster2 years ago

Ten years ago, I rescued a 5 1/2 week old Cockerpoo, weighing 3 lbs. Her mother had gone dry and couldn't nurse her.
She has turned out to be the sweetest dog I have ever owned.Since she is getting older, where she sleeps , in the winter,it's cold for her at night, so I take her to bed with me. She sleeps with her head on her pillow and she's good for the night.
I have found that I sleep better with Suzy next to me and beside that she loves being cozy and warm next to me.

Magdika Cecilia Perez

thank you

Magdika Cecilia Perez

thank you

Fiona T.
Fi T.2 years ago

Pet is always our best companion for the soul

Dale Overall

Have always slept with my cats since being young. My sixteen year old Tortishell now sleeps on her cat bed beside my bed as she refuses to stay on the bed since going blind-she must have fallen off at one point while I was out when she was able to still jump up, so sleeping beside my bed is something that I have had to adapt to. Certainly miss her furry self beside me at night but she has to do what comforts her the most. Since she will allow no other cats to reside with me her "Mom" just has to allow her to sleep the way that brings her the most carefree feeling.

Darla Taylor
Darla Taylor3 years ago

I sleep with my cats all the time though my husband is still in the bed too. I have one cat that sleeps on my feet, one that sleeps on my "lap" area and one that sleeps on the pillow above my head. I miss them when they're not there and don't sleep as well. One of our cats sleeps with my husband so our bed is pretty full! :)

Terry Vanderbush
Terry V.3 years ago