A couple’s sleeping arrangements is a common hot topic in relationships. Whether it’s the temperature of the room, having the TV on, or the position in which you sleep, there’s lots of potential for conflict.
However, recent research shows that it’s worth working on because sleeping alongside your partner has several benefits. To study this, researchers at the University of Arizona surveyed over 1,000 working-age adults from southeastern Pennsylvania (Fuentes et al., 2022). Questionnaires asked about sleeping arrangements, perceived sleep quality, mental health, and relationship health.
As the lead author Brandon Fuentes from the department of psychiatry at the University of Arizona explains, "Sleeping with a romantic partner or spouse shows to have great benefits on sleep health including reduced sleep apnea risk, sleep insomnia severity, and overall improvement in sleep quality." Other specific sleep improvements of sleeping with a romantic partner included: less fatigue, fell asleep faster, and spent more time asleep. In addition, those who shared their bed with their partner reported lower anxiety, stress, and depression, along with greater life satisfaction. Sharing a bed also helped the relationship through increase social support and relationship satisfaction.
However, the results were not very positive for those sleeping alongside a child. Those who shared their be with a child reported that they had less control over their sleep, experienced more insomnia, were at greater risk for sleep apnea, and reported more stress. The study also found that compared to other sleeping arrangements, those who slept alone reported more depression, less social support, as well as lower life and relationship satisfaction.
There are few things more important to our physical and mental well-being than sleep and relationships. Sharing our bed with a partner helps both.
Fuentes, B., Kennedy, K., Killgore, W., Wills, C. & Grandner, M. (2022). 0010 Bed sharing versus sleeping alone associated with sleep health and mental health, Sleep, 45 (Supplement_1), A4. https://doi.org/10.1093/sleep/zsac079.009