How to Sleep Like a Baby—Even With a Dog in Your Bed

Most of us know from experience how easy it is to have our sleep disturbed.  Stress, anxiety, lack of exercise, snoring partners, screaming babies...

With all the unavoidable sleep saboteurs lurking in the bedroom, why are so many of us regularly inviting additional trouble by letting our pets sleep with us?

Are we crazy? Probably...but mostly just about our pets.

For most people, sleeping with a pet can actually make life better. Pets can help battle depression, keep you warm, and may even help minimize chronic pain. All this might indicate that some of us have figured out how to enjoy the benefits of pet co-sleeping while avoiding the negatives.  

It turns out there are some simple ways to protect your sleep quality and still keep your furry friends close at hand.

Here's how:

Keep Toys and Treats Out of the Bedroom

Is there anything worse than the sound of eating while you're trying to sleep? Dogs don't care what time of day it is. If they've buried a bone under your sheets and feel it's time for a snack you'll hear about it. 

Keep the bedroom treat and toy free to avoid unnecessary noises and commotion your hungry friend might cause.

Minimize Allergens in the Bedroom

Many dogs are just as sensitive to indoor allergens as their owners. And if canine cuddler happens to be of snub-nosed variety, you'll already know how quickly a little congestion will turn the volume up on any snoring.

You'll already be familiar with the standard allergy protocol:

  • Vacuum and mop regularly to minimize dust and pollen
  • Wash sheets in hot water regularly to kill dust mites
  • Use a humidifier
  • Change your HVAC filter often
  • Control any dander your dog might contribute
  • Ensure bathrooms are well ventilated
But here's the most important thing you can do:

Invest in hypoallergenic and natural bedding. 

Natural latex mattresses
and pillows are allergy-resistant and better for your sleep health than traditional bedding. They help minimize exposure to allergens and make it less likely you'll have to wake up and nudge any snoring bedmates back into silence.

natural latex doesn't break down the way synthetic mattress materials do. Sleeping on a natural latex bed helps you avoid any toxic dust you might encounter as the fibers of a traditional mattress break down.

Make Room for Fido

Depending on the size of your dog, you may have to create some additional room.

There are two ways to do this:

1. Make your dog sleep at the foot of the bed so you're not too crowded horizontally.

2. Buy a bigger bed.

Giving everyone ample room to stretch out will ensure less direct contact if someone needs to turn over or adjust.

TIP: If you and your partner are both on the shorter side you can get more width out of the traditional King mattress size since you don't need the extra length of a Cal King. 

Minimize Motion Transfer

Motion transfer is what you call it when one person in a bed moves and the other person feels it because of the energy passing through the mattress materials.

The less disturbance you feel from others, the better you'll sleep.

You might not think a dog would cause much motion transfer, but for the last 28 years the Lab has been the most popular dog in the US, and they can easily weigh in at 80 pounds or more. 

So, how do you avoid rocking the boat?

Sleep on the right mattress.

Most older mattresses have coils, which are notoriously bad at preventing motion transfer. And while memory foams have been a popular solution to that problem lately, they're terrible for the environment and treated with toxic chemicals.

The best mattress for comfort, health, and maximum motion isolation will be a natural latex mattress without pocketed coils

Not ready for a whole new mattress?

You're in luck. 

You can often help reduce motion transfer enough to sleep better with a latex topper. Just a few inches of isolation-friendly latex can help you bridge the gap to better sleep until you're ready to invest in a new natural mattress. 

Keep Your Dog Healthy

Keeping your dog healthy might be the simplest way to ensure everyone sleeps through the night. If your dog has gotten plenty of exercise and is free of ticks and fleas, there's no reason they shouldn't stay relatively still through the night. 

But, if your pet is waking up changing positions, itching incessantly, or whining, that restlessness might indicate a bigger problem. The cause could be something as simple as an ear infection or a bug bite. Discomfort can make it hard for anyone to sleep.

Why should your pet be any different?

If you suspect a problem, take your beloved pet to the vet and get it checked out. 

Remember Who's Boss

Despite all the wonderful benefits and warm fuzzies that accompany sleeping with our pets, there'll be times you need the bed to yourself. It could be as simple as wanting privacy to enjoy some intimacy with your partner. 

The dog will need to go elsewhere at some point. 

Crate training your pet is a great solution that provides a safe place for your dog to spend some time when you need a break. If done properly your pet will feel safe and secure and be completely fine giving you the space you need.

Bottom line?

You don't have to choose between the comfort and security of snoozing with your favorite furry friend. The right bedding, sleep space, and boundaries will create a healthy, peaceful place for everyone to slumber.