Should pets sleep in your bed? Sleep expert lists pros and cons

Man sleeping on bed at Home with his French Bulldog.
Let sleeping dogs lie... in your bed? (Getty Images)

Across the UK, millions of people happily coexist with their pets who are often spoiled, pampered and beloved as members of the family. It has been estimated that more than half (57%) of UK households are home to pets of all shapes and sizes - the equivalent of 38 million pets, according to UK Pet Food.

Calling Britain a ‘nation of pet lovers’ is an understatement. Over Valentine’s Day, around a third of Brits said they gave their pets gifts, with most people spending anywhere between £10 to £25 to shower their furry friends with love.

Research by Jollyes also revealed that millennial pet owners were the most likely to indulge their pet in some Valentine’s Day gifting, and men were more likely to buy their pets a gift compared to women (34.81% vs 26.84%).

So it’s clear that our pets are extremely important to us, leading us to share most of our lives with them. But when it comes to sleep, the nation is divided over whether or not to let their pets sleep in the same bed as them.

A YouGov sleep survey revealed that British pet owners are split nearly equally over this issue. While 47% of respondents said they do not allow pets to sleep in their beds, the rest said they would, including 29% who allow it often and 20% who allow it sometimes.

Two cute cats lying on a bed with sleeping woman in the background
Half of British pet owners said they would let their pets sleep in their bed. (Getty Images)

Women with pets were more likely (35%) to say they often allow their pets to sleep in their bed with them compared to male pet owners (23%).

There are pros and cons to allowing this, says sleep expert Ainsley Hainsworth from Bed Kingdom. Some of the benefits of letting your pet sleep in your bed might surprise you - but at the end of the day, each individual must prioritise their sleep quality.

Benefits of letting your pet sleep in your bed

Insomnia relief

Falling asleep with your pet beside you can increase endorphin levels, thus reducing stress and anxiety. In turn, this can help you fall asleep quicker, which is ideal if you’re someone who has difficulty getting some well-needed shuteye.

Security and comfort

If you live alone, sleeping with a pet can increase your sense of security and heighten comfort levels. Feeling safe and relaxed is extremely important and can drastically improve your sleep quality.


A key factor in determining whether you have a good night's sleep is body temperature. If you feel the cold more than the average person, cuddling up to a warm pet at night may be precisely what you need to drift off.


Sleeping with your pet can significantly increase your bond and strengthen your relationship. You might find that you can read their body language better, and simply be more in tune with one another, which can improve their behaviour and overall happiness as a result.

A young woman taking a nap with her dog. She is wearing nightdress and she is happy and carefree. Her dog is very cuddly and beautiful
Many Brits have strong bonds with their pets. (Getty Images)

Risks of letting your pet sleep in your bed

Sleep disruption

Our pets are living beings and therefore, move around a lot; you may find that your pet is finding it difficult to settle and won’t stay still, so their constant movement and rearranging may disrupt your sleep. One way to combat this is to invest in a bed large enough to accommodate you and your pets – this allows for any movement that does occur to go unnoticed.


Our pets can carry dirt and other unwanted guests in their fur. Fleas, ticks, and lice are all common problems, and the last thing you want is for those to end up in your bed. Dirt may also cause allergies, as well as getting all over your sheets. To tackle this, keep up to date with your pet's vaccinations and make sure they are clean after being outside. You should also wash your bedding more frequently if you decide to let your pets sleep with you, specifically every three to four days.

Behavioural issues

There are varying arguments as to whether letting your pet sleep with you causes them separation anxiety. Either way, it is important to stay vigilant, and if you notice any problem behaviours begin, consult a trainer or an animal behaviourist. Some signs to look out for include an increase in destructive behaviour, extreme vocalising like howling, barking or whining when you leave, and toileting inside the house, even if they are trained.

asian man wearing sleep mask, sleeping with his cat
Would you let your pets sleep in your bed? (Getty Images)

Should you let your pet sleep in your bed?

For some of us, the idea of cuddling up with our pets might sound heavenly, while others - who may be lighter sleepers - think it would be hell.

Hainsworth said: “No one knows our pets like we do. When deciding whether to let your pets share the bed, you should consider several different factors, such as your lifestyle, sleeping habits and your pet's temperament.

“It has clear benefits, but the risks shouldn’t be disregarded either. Keep an eye on how things progress, but if sleeping with your pet works for you, that is the most important thing.”

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