While most people will stress the quality of your sleep, it’s important to remember that if you let your pet sleep with you, their sleep is also important. Anyone who has spent a night with a cat or dog in their bed knows that when Fido and Fluffy have a rough night, generally you do too.
Typically, a dog needs about 12 to 14 hours of sleep per day, depending on the size of the breed, and cats require anywhere from 15 to 20 hours of shuteye. Just like humans, your pet will need more sleep if they’re babies or seniors. But unlike humans, both dogs and cats can sleep just about anywhere and anytime.
An average dog will spend about half its day sleeping, but not all in one long chuck like humans. Because they nap around all day at various intervals, they spend less time getting REM sleep, which is the most restorative sleep. These smaller REM cycles are the reason that they spend so much of the day asleep. Cats have a similar sleep pattern. Just like dogs, they prefer a series of naps throughout the day, which, again, causes shorter REM sleep and therefore, a need for more sleep.
While your dogs will probably sleep better at night — which is good for those of you who share your beds with them — a variety of factors can affect the quality of their sleep or yours. The fact that they don’t sleep for long periods of time like humans do can influence your sleep, especially if you have a larger dog. Regardless, any waking dog who moves around on your bed is going to potentially wake you up. If you have an older dog that can’t get up on your bed, any whining (for a variety of reasons) will probably affect your sleep as well.
As far as cats, it’s common knowledge that they’re nocturnal creatures. This is an obvious way that they’ll disrupt your sleep. However, many domestic cats will adjust their sleep schedule so that it resembles yours, which makes it easier for cat owners to get necessary shuteye.
So how do you make sure that your pet will sleep while you sleep? Even though they won’t sleep as long as you will, if you get them on a schedule, they’ll generally work their sleep schedule around yours. If you’re worried that they’ll want to run around while you’re slumbering, set aside some time during the day to play with them so that they’re tired out when it’s bedtime. When your dog or cat has had some exercise, their sleep with you will improve.