Smarter:  Should You Let Pets Sleep in Your Bed?


By Pang-Chieh Ho

Dogs and cats are cute to cuddle, there’s no denying that, but should we be sleeping with them? This week I’m looking into whether there are any concerns you should have about sharing a bed with your pets. Also in this issue: the cleaning tools you recommended, and our response to a reader’s question about whether wearing foundation is enough to block the sun.


‘Let’s Sleep on It First’

As someone who is currently pet-less but has cat-sat a lot for her friends, it’s a tricky question, whether to sleep with a pet. I’m a pretty light sleeper, and so anything can startle me to wakefulness: a door opening, a faint snore, a paw planted square on my face. 

I try not to sleep with the cats I pet-sit, but other people might think differently. When we polled our followers on this topic on Instagram, the responses were pretty evenly split. Forty-nine percent said they slept with their pets, while 51 percent said they didn’t.

Those who didn’t cited reasons such as hygiene and not wanting their pet’s hair to be all over their bed. Those who did had reasons that ranged from sweet (“I feel safer with my dog on the bed with me”) to brutally honest (“Ever try to keep a cat off a bed? It doesn’t work,” and “It’s her rules. We just live here.”)

So is it a good or bad idea to have pets in the bed with you? I interviewed sleep specialists, allergists, and animal behavior specialists. Here’s what they think.

The pros of sleeping with them are probably obvious for many pet owners. It can offer comfort and social support. And for some people, sleeping with their pets may help reduce anxiety and be beneficial for their mental health.

Another benefit concerns allergies. There has been research that suggests that if you’re exposed to cats before you’re a year old, you’re less likely to develop an allergy to them, though it’s not a guarantee, says Russell B. Leftwich, MD, an adjunct assistant professor of biomedical informatics at Vanderbilt University in Nashville and a fellow of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.

However, if you’re already allergic to your pets, you probably shouldn’t sleep with them because it can lead to symptoms such as an itchy or runny nose, sneezing, itchy or irritated eyes, coughing, an itchy mouth or throat, fatigue, or difficulty sleeping. If you have asthma, it could worsen from the increased exposure to allergens, says Melanie Carver, the chief mission officer of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. 

And if you’re allergic to pollen, you should avoid having pets in the bedroom because their fur can trap and transport pollen. 

Apart from allergies, other things to take into consideration include the potential of diseases being transmitted from the fleas, ticks, and parasites on your pet to you, says Terri Bright, PhD, director of behavior services at MSPCA-Angell, a nonprofit organization that protects animals.

Having a pet in your bed can pose physical risks to it in certain cases. If you have a new puppy or kitten, it’s best to not sleep with it because you might roll over and accidentally crush or suffocate it. There’s also the possibility of the animal falling off the bed and being injured, says Ann Hohenhaus, DVM, senior veterinarian at the Schwarzman Animal Medical Center in New York City. 

But does it affect sleep quality? 
There hasn’t been much research conducted on co-sleeping with pets, but some studies suggest that it may negatively effect sleep quality, says Leisha J. Cuddihy, PhD, a clinical psychologist in behavioral sleep medicine and an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

One research review found that many people believe their pets help them sleep by providing comfort, even though they also report that their pets wake them nightly.

“Just like sharing the bed with a romantic partner, you have to find a situation that is both beneficial to you and your pet,” says Alicia Roth, PhD, a clinical health psychologist at Cleveland Clinic’s Sleep Disorders Center.

Bonus link: Best deals on pet products right now.


Weeks ago, I revealed the cleaning tools CR’s experts use in their everyday life and swear by. I also asked you to tell me about the tools that you personally enjoy. Here are a few of your recommendations.

A battery-operated toothbrush. 
As good as toothbrushes are for cleaning hard-to-reach corners, battery-operated toothbrushes that cost around $5 to $8 are even better, Belle Tuckerman said. 

A dishwashing sponge with a handle.
It cleans the inside of tall glasses and dishes and bowls without getting your hands soaked, according to Shela Xoregos.

A Eufy robovac.
“They collect amazing amounts of dirt and pet hair from our mostly wooden floors with almost no effort at all,” Abbott Fletcher said.

You can check out our ratings of robot vacuums, including Eufy models, here.


Illustration: Lacey Browne/Consumer Reports, Getty Images

Have you ever gotten a pop-up warning on your phone that you’re running out of storage space? I have more than once, thanks to the prodigious number of podcast downloads I have on my phone.

To save space on your phone, follow these tips from our tech experts.

🔎 Check first to see what’s taking up your storage space.
Photos and videos are common culprits, but apps can take up gigabytes as well.

📸 Optimize your photos.
Photo optimization will store full-resolution versions in the cloud while leaving smaller versions on your phone.

🗑️ Clear your cache.
It removes temporary files and frees up a bit of space.

Here are step-by-step instructions for how to do all of these things and more so that your phone’s storage space is freed up.


Question from reader Ann Domin: 
“I sometimes just wear foundation containing sunscreen because both products on my face seem too thick and messy. Do the SPF ratings on foundations mean anything, and if so, are the ratings reliable? How can a thin layer of foundation block the sun at all?”

If the foundation has a SPF label, much like sunscreen, it’s considered a drug by the Food and Drug Administration and is subject to the same rules, says Trisha Calvo, a CR deputy editor who has written dozens of articles on sunscreens in the last eight years.

The SPF rating is a measure of how well a sunscreen protects against sunburn, which is primarily the result of exposure to the sun’s UVB rays, when the product is applied at a density of 2 mg/cm² of skin, says Ivy Lee, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology. That’s a pretty thick application, and in the real-world we are unlikely to apply our foundation at this density. 

When you use less, you’re automatically reducing the amount of protection the sunscreen provides, so a thin layer of foundation probably won’t adequately shield your skin from the sun, Trisha says.

Instead of relying solely on foundation, there are many affordable tinted sunscreens that function as light foundations that you can opt for instead, Ivy says.

And always remember to apply enough sunscreen. Use about a teaspoon for your face, neck, and ears, and if you’re in a swimsuit, you’ll need about an ounce of sunscreen to cover your body.

Bonus link: What SPF do people need? Here’s what we say.


This easy plastic bag method can get your showerhead clean and sparkling.

And in addition to descaling your showerhead, here are our instructions for four more spring-cleaning chores for your bathroom you can do under 20 minutes, including cleaning your toothbrush holder and your hair dryer’s filter.


If you have trouble falling asleep, eating these foods could help.

Consumer Reports is an independent, nonprofit organization that works side by side with consumers to create a fairer, safer, and healthier world. CR does not endorse products or services, and does not accept advertising. Copyright © 2023, Consumer Reports, Inc.

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