What could be better than falling asleep in the arms of a loved one? And what could be worse than fighting all night for a blanket, for your half of the bed, or excruciating insomnia from the snoring of a partner lying next to you? Who should sleep separately and how co-sleeping affects the psyche and health, MedAboutMe figured out.
What’s wrong with co-sleeping?
We can single out the following reasons why people begin to think about moving away from a loved one to a separate bed and even to a separate room.
This reason is in the first place, it is mentioned by half of the people surveyed for the causes of sleep disorders. A rare person is able to sleep soundly under powerful snoring at his side. Even great love does not muffle the sounds that make the walls shake.
Breathing disorders during sleep negatively affect male libido. Half of the males who snore or suffer from sleep apnea have problems with sexual arousal.
- Graph Mismatch
When one of the spouses goes to bed early and rises early, and the other lives in the opposite mode, sleeping in the same bed can turn into torture for one, or even for both partners. The same problem often occurs with “owls” and “larks”, dividing one bed for two.
22% of men complain that when they sleep together, their partner’s hair climbs into their faces and interferes with sleep.
- Bed fight
Even the largest bed can become the site of a turf war. One likes to spread out, the other winds the whole blanket (and the sheet too), the third prefers a harder mattress (a third of the Americans surveyed said the problem of a common mattress) … There is, of course, an option to get a separate blanket (and even a separate mattress!) For each of partners, but, firstly, this does not always save — a lover of a mountain of blankets can grab the second one, and secondly, this is still the first step towards separate sleep. This problem is mentioned by 32% of Americans.
- restless leg syndrome
This syndrome can manifest itself in different ways. In a particularly pronounced form and with a “successful” hit, it can cause bruising in a partner, who will then have to explain their origin to curious people around. And in general it is difficult to sleep in the same bed with a running person.
A 2005 study showed that a third of sleep disturbances in a peacefully sleeping person are caused by restless sleep of their partner.
- Exchange of infections
In our turbulent times of flu and coronavirus, the opportunity to isolate yourself from a partner who is still healthy can be invaluable.
- “Cold — hot”
It happens that people are together in souls and hearts, but apart in terms of temperature sensations. One is freezing from a slight draft, the second is Africa everywhere and wants coolness. For 37% of people living together, this is a real problem. The battle for the temperature in the bedroom is not always decided by a warmer blanket and vice versa. Often the problem develops into mutual accusations about the lack of attention to the needs of a partner. And, as studies show, these are not always empty words.
A 2016 study by German scientists from Paracelsus Medical University shows that relationship problems and sleep problems often start at the same time. Not surprisingly, those who do not get enough sleep have a higher risk of divorce.
Bad sleep and emotions
Scientists from the University of California at Berkeley have shown that sleep problems in sexual partners (or spouses) lead to strained relationships between them. More than 60 couples living together, aged 18 to 56, kept a sleep diary. In particular, they noted how their perception of a partner changes depending on the quality of the night’s rest. It turned out that sleepy people understand their bedmate worse, and he, in turn, often suffers from the fact that he is underestimated. Scientists also note that poor sleep makes people selfish, they automatically begin to put their own interests in the first place, not paying attention to the needs of a partner.
Sleepy women do not crave to make love. At the same time, every extra hour of good sleep increases the likelihood of sexual contact with a partner by 14%.
Sleep problems and inflammation
In 2016, researchers from Ohio State University found that sleep disturbances when sharing time in the same bed can cause not only emotional, but also quite physiological problems. The researchers took blood for analysis from 43 couples before and after a quarrel (the couples were told to discuss a conflict topic for them), and also studied the history of their joint sleep.
An amazing thing was discovered: if both partners did not get enough sleep, then after a quarrel, the level of cytokines interleukin‑6 (IL‑6) and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) increased in their blood. And it is known that if such a situation occurs constantly, then the risks of developing a number of diseases increase: Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, diabetes, pathologies of the heart and blood vessels.
It should be noted that if at least one partner managed to get enough sleep, then the level of hostility during the argument dropped noticeably and pro-inflammatory cytokines were produced in much smaller quantities.
Who needs separate sleep?
Do all couples need to sleep separately? Of course not. This is a personal intra-family matter of each person. But ideally, even if people sleep together, they should be able to scatter to different beds if they wish. Or rather, even in different rooms.
According to an April 2019 study, more Australians are choosing their own individual bed in a private room over sharing a bed all night. The number of such couples, according to statistics, has already exceeded 200 thousand people and will obviously grow in the coming years. In the US, single beds or separate bedrooms have a quarter of pairs.
Psychotherapists support this trend. In their opinion, “divorce in a dream” strengthens the relationship of sexual partners. They can lead an active sexual life, after which they go on vacation, while leaving the opportunity to communicate with their spouse at any time, listen and help him.
The opportunity to sleep separately is relevant for pregnant women, people working on the night shift (and their spouses), patients of somnologists with existing sleep disorders, as well as people whose loved ones suffer from sleep apnea or snore loudly.
Two in a bed: The influence of couple sleeping and chronotypes on relationship and sleep. An overview / Kneginja Richter, Sophia Adam, Lennard Geiss, et al. // Chronobiology International - 2016 - Volume 33, Issue 10