This issue has been discussed many times, and I'd have to say it's totally a personal decision, based on your personal sleeping and waking habits ... I keep a 1911 locked and loaded on the nightstand next to my side of the bed, oriented so I can see the night sights glowing, along with a spare mag, fixed blade knife, cell phone and Surefire flashlight ... I'm a light sleeper, almost never dream (at least that I can remember) and wake smoothly and completely ... our dog sleeps in the bedroom with us and can be counted on to give me enough notice to arm myself and decide how to proceed ...
"The welfare of humanity is always the alibi of tyrants." Albert Camus