Skip to main content

A new study about sleeping with pets in your bed has some surprising results

Wait — is sleeping with cats better than sleeping with dogs? What new research says

woman in sweater and dog napping on couch
Meruyert Gonullu / Pexels

Pets have a way of taking up a whole lot of space in our hearts and beds. Even small dog breeds and cats can become serious cover hogs. With dogs, the inclination is instinctual — they’re pack animals that naturally stick together. Cats are generally considered aloof (and nocturnal), but these domesticated sofa lions also love their cuddles. Sleeping with pets of either species can (literally) give you the warm and fuzzies.

Yet, if you’re going by stereotypes, you would think sleeping with dogs has far more significant benefits than catching Z’s with cats. A new study may have you tossing and turning — you may already be doing so if you’re co-sleeping with a dog. In a 2024 Scientific Reports study, researchers noted that sleeping with dogs could hurt sleep quality. The authors did not find the same issue for people who reported sleeping with cats.

Floored? Don’t worry. Participants likely were, too.

What the study tells us about sleeping with pets

a woman with red hair sleeping with a dog and clothes on
Vitaly Gariev / Pexels

Dr. Brian N Chin, a psychology professor at Trinity College, headed up the study, which was published in March 2024. Dr. Chin surveyed 1,591 Americans ages 18 to 91 on their sleep habits, and 758 reported sleeping with pets. The remaining 833 did not co-sleep with a pet. For the purposes of this study, “co-sleeping” was defined as room-sharing for at least part of the night, not specifically bed-sharing.

People were also asked to share their beliefs on sleeping with a pet, and a whopping 93% believed this habit would have a positive or neutral effect on their sleep quality.

The data showed otherwise, especially for pups (sorry, dog people). The data found that people who shared a room with an animal for at least part of the night had “poorer sleep quality and more insomnia symptoms than those who did not.”

That’s not all. Like a curious pup, researchers dug deeper and checked whether the type of pet a person room-shared with mattered. It did. Co-sleeping with dogs harmed sleep quality. There was no evidence suggesting that sleeping with cats lowered sleep quality. In other words, if you take this study as the be-all and end-all, room-sharing with dogs can harm sleep, while sleeping with cats does not.

Don’t swat and hiss at the messenger.

Bottom line

an orange cat sleeping on the couch
Pixabay / Pexels

A new study suggests that co-sleeping with dogs — but not cats — can lower sleep quality. The researchers defined “co-sleeping” as room-sharing for at least part of the night. Does that mean you should give your dog the boot (or invite your naturally nocturnal cat to shack up with you tonight)? Not necessarily.

If you enjoy sleeping with your dog and are getting seven or more hours of sleep nightly, you need not make any changes. However, if you struggle to get sleep, it’s worth exploring sleeping habits (including sharing a room or sleep surface with your dog). Remember, your pet needs a well-rested parent to care for them, so giving them their space, like a cozy bed in the room next door, is nothing to feel guilty about.

BethAnn Mayer
Beth Ann's work has appeared on healthline.com and parents.com. In her spare time, you can find her running (either marathons…
50 amazing boy dog names to consider for your new puppy
Find your puppy the perfect moniker with these aesthetic male names
A yellow Lab puppy wearing a blue collar looks up

So, you're bringing home a new puppy. Congratulations! Preparing to add four more paws to your family can be one of the most exciting and joyful things you'll ever do, but there are also a lot of decisions to be made. What food will they eat? Where will they sleep? And perhaps most importantly -- what will their name be?

While things like dog beds and collars can be replaced over time, your dog's name will be around forever. Because of this, it's perfectly understandable to feel overwhelmed by this decision. After all, the options are quite literally endless.

Read more
The best medium-sized dog breeds for your family
These dogs are the perfect size — and temperament — for families with kids
An English springer spaniel's side profile standing next to tall grass

Whether you're a veteran dog owner or are new to the canine world, it can be immensely helpful to do your research before adopting the dog of your dreams. After all, step one is to figure out what your ideal four-legged friend might be like.
Will they cuddle up with you at the end of the day, or will they sleep in a dog bed all their own? Would you like a high-energy friend or a canine buddy that can binge-watch your favorite Netflix show at all hours of the day with you? Perhaps even more importantly, what size dog can you handle in your home?
Medium-sized dogs are a perfect fit for those who may want the activity of a larger dog without the massive size. Many families prefer mid-sized canines because they're large enough to play with children without getting hurt, but they're not too large to spook or knock over a child (most of the time, anyway). There can be many reasons why a medium-sized dog breed is your perfect fit, but how do you know what breed to look into? Let us help you decide.

Medium-sized dogs for families with children

Read more
How to find the right veterinarian for your pet
Getting your pet the best medical care will improve and prolong their life
Veterinarian examining cat while little boy watches

Taking your dog or cat to the vet might cause you some anxiety, especially if you're doing so for the first time. Trust us, it makes pet ownership so much more enjoyable when you have an animal doctor that both of you like. Choosing the right veterinarian for your beloved companions may not be easy, but it's certainly worth it — you'll have a better time caring for your animals, and they will stick around longer with excellent medical attention. Here's how to choose a vet.
When should I look for a vet?

We hate to add to your checklist, but you probably want to look at vets before you even bring home a dog or cat. It can take time and lots of phone calls to different places before you figure out the right fit — meaning a practice that suits your needs and budget and has availability.

Read more