Doctors say sleeping with pets can interrupt sleep

POSTED: 05:13 AM MDT Apr 06, 2013 
(CNN) -

According to the Humane Society of the United States, there are approximately 78 million dogs and 86 million cats owned by Americans.  

And many owners claim to sleep with their pets.  

Is this a healthy idea?  

Doctors say that although they can keep you warm at night, sleeping with cats and dogs can affect your sex life, cause allergies, put you in danger of certain diseases and interrupt your sleep patterns.

"We call that sleep fragmentation and you tend to be less rested, less alert, your ability to concentrate is diminished and your memory may be impaired," according to Dr. Barry Dicicco, Pulmonary and Critical Care Specialist of Northern Virginia.

But there is an element of companionship, Dicicco said.