Organic Spa Blog

Sleep Better Study: Alone vs. in a Relationship?

Sleep experts suggest new ways to deal with couple-sleep problems without resulting to separate bedrooms. Evidence suggests having a memory foam mattress can help couples sleep more comfortably together. (I swear by earplugs to drown out my husband’s excruciatingly loud Zzzz.)

According to a study quoted in The Wall Street Journal last month, “Who Sleeps Better at Night?” where researchers interviewed sleep experts suggest new ways to deal with couple — sleep problems — without resorting to separate bedrooms.

Researcher Wendy M. Troxel, an assistant professor of Psychiatry and psychology at the University of Pittsburgh says, “Sleep is a critically important health behavior that we know is associated with heart disease, obesity and psychiatric well-being.”

In Toxel’s study, she found that women in long-term stable relationships fell asleep more quickly and woke up less during the night than single women or women who lost or gained a partner during the six to eight years of the study.

She also found that sleeping in the same bed promotes feelings of safety and security, shared sleep in healthy relationships may lower levels of cortisol, a stress hormone. Sharing a bed may also boost oxytocin (a so-called love hormone known to ease anxiety) that is produced in the same part of the brain responsible for the sleep-wake cycle.

There are so many reasons why couples have trouble sleeping in the same bed. (Ha, but that’s a whole other wellness post!)

A different body clock, body temperature, stress, an argument, snoring, or even a parent who kicks the other one out because of co-sleeping. Clearing up a relationship issue can sometimes ease insomnia, says Christina S. McCrae, associate professor at the University of Florida and president of the Society of Behavioral Sleep Medicine. She has had several patients whose sleep improved after underlying relationship problems were addressed with their spouses during sleep-therapy sessions.

If you are in a romantic relationship, do you occasionally sleep in different beds for health and wellness reasons?

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