A mat­ri­mo­ni­al bed­room with a large bed, where the spous­es sleep, embrac­ing. Is it real­ly bet­ter this way, or do peo­ple sleep togeth­er for oth­er rea­sons? Isn’t it bet­ter to rest sep­a­rate­ly, with­out inter­fer­ing with each oth­er? For what sci­en­tists have to say about this, read the Med­AboutMe arti­cle.

The history of the bedroom: a brief excursion

Anthro­pol­o­gists and soci­ol­o­gists sug­gest that our ances­tors tend­ed to hud­dle togeth­er at night for a vari­ety of rea­sons. First, it was warmer. Sec­ond, it’s not that scary. Third­ly, it’s safer: babies and moth­ers went to bed in the mid­dle, men slept light­ly along the edges — defend­ers in case of dan­ger. Or the old peo­ple, whom the tribe could have sac­ri­ficed — the times were cru­el and prag­mat­ic.

When peo­ple learned how to build hous­es, they still often lacked space, and it was eas­i­er to heat one room. In which cat­tle could also sleep — for the same rea­sons of warmth.

Then rich peo­ple had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to equip more than one bed­room. And in cer­tain cir­cles it became the norm for spous­es to meet only for inti­mate plea­sures, and the rest of the time they slept not only in dif­fer­ent box­es, but also in dif­fer­ent rooms, and even in dif­fer­ent parts of the build­ing. In part, this con­tin­ues today: quite a few mar­ried cou­ples sleep sep­a­rate­ly. Judg­ing by the results of sur­veys, in the US, about 25% of spous­es pre­fer sep­a­rate bed­rooms, in Cana­da — more than 40%. In Rus­sia, such stud­ies have not been con­duct­ed. But we can assume that in our coun­try, most spous­es sleep togeth­er. Just because there is no way to sleep in dif­fer­ent rooms — the apart­ments are too small.

There is a sta­ble stereo­type in the pub­lic mind: lov­ing spous­es sleep togeth­er. And if they go to dif­fer­ent bed­rooms, then some­thing in this union goes “wrong”. It is not for noth­ing that in many films the quar­rels of the spous­es cer­tain­ly end with the fact that one of the part­ners grabs a pil­low and a blan­ket and goes to sleep on the couch in the liv­ing room. And he returns to the com­mon bed­room only after rec­on­cil­i­a­tion.

But in fact, every­thing is much more com­pli­cat­ed and indi­vid­ual.

In an embrace or on opposite sides of the bed?

In an embrace or on opposite sides of the bed?

Let’s try to under­stand the pros and cons of co-sleep­ing.

From sur­veys con­duct­ed in the Unit­ed States, it became clear that out of 75% of mar­ried cou­ples sleep­ing togeth­er, only 13% actu­al­ly sleep in an embrace, the rest — on oppo­site sides of the bed. And a quar­ter of them would like to sleep sep­a­rate­ly, but do not have such an oppor­tu­ni­ty.

Men sleep sweet­er togeth­er than women, the lat­ter are much more like­ly to suf­fer from insuf­fi­cient qual­i­ty of sleep togeth­er with a part­ner. This is not sur­pris­ing: women sleep more sen­si­tive­ly, and men snore more often. Out of 10 divorced cou­ples, 4 cite part­ner snor­ing as one of the main rea­sons for divorce.

The fol­low­ing rea­sons most often fall into the list of why co-sleep­ing is bad:

  • part­ner snores;
  • sleeps rest­less­ly — spins, kicks, spreads limbs;
  • pulls off the blan­ket, push­es the part­ner to the edge;
  • goes to bed or gets up at a dif­fer­ent time than inter­feres with sleep;
  • smokes in bed;
  • eats in bed;
  • watch­ing TV, sit­ting with a gad­get for a long time;
  • often gets up at night to go to the toi­let;
  • solic­its with unplanned inti­mate pro­pos­als;
  • does not cov­et — lies like a log, but he could;
  • there is no agree­ment on whether to let pets into the bed­room or into bed;
  • dis­turbs the alarm clock;
  • the require­ments for air tem­per­a­ture in the bed­room do not match, etc.

As a result, one or both of them do not get enough sleep, get up tired in the morn­ing, dream of sleep­ing alone, and expe­ri­ence irri­ta­tion or guilt about this. After all, if you love a per­son, it should be grat­i­fy­ing to sleep togeth­er, but some­thing doesn’t work out …

Expert com­ment

Michael Grand­ner, Direc­tor of the Sleep and Health Research Pro­gram

There is a link between the qual­i­ty of a rela­tion­ship as a cou­ple and sleep­ing in the same bed. Recent stud­ies con­duct­ed by sci­en­tists from dif­fer­ent coun­tries show this quite con­vinc­ing­ly. Cou­ples in strong, com­fort­able rela­tion­ships tend to report sleep­ing togeth­er and are also less like­ly to com­plain about insom­nia, a lack of sleep qual­i­ty. They also show low­er lev­els of stress and anx­i­ety.

How­ev­er, there is no cer­tain­ty that this issue is pri­ma­ry. Per­haps the rela­tion­ship is stronger in such cou­ples because nei­ther part­ner snores, pulls the cov­ers over them­selves, or tends to wake up too ear­ly or stay up too late. Lab­o­ra­to­ry data show that when co-sleep­ing, sleep is more shal­low and inter­rupt­ed more often. Dur­ing the night, the actions of one part­ner can take up to 50 min­utes of sleep from the sec­ond. Agree, this is a lot.

What to do, how to solve problems?

What to do, how to solve problems?

First you need to calm­ly dis­cuss all issues with a part­ner. Love and inti­ma­cy will not suf­fer if both begin to get enough sleep, even if the lovers sleep in dif­fer­ent rooms. If, of course, there is such an oppor­tu­ni­ty.

In Russ­ian show busi­ness there is an exam­ple of such a cou­ple, these are Leonid Agutin and Anzhe­li­ka Varum. Leonid needs cool fresh air for sleep, he sleeps with an open win­dow at any time of the year. And ten­der Angel­i­ca needs warmth, puffy blan­kets. There­fore, they sleep in dif­fer­ent rooms, which does not pre­vent them from treat­ing each oth­er with love and ten­der­ness for many years.

In the Unit­ed States, for­mer Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and his charm­ing wife Mela­nia also sleep in sep­a­rate bed­rooms. And they still don’t seem to get divorced…

If it is not pos­si­ble to equip two bed­rooms, you can solve the issue more eco­nom­i­cal­ly: get a bed wide enough for every­one to have enough space on it. It is advis­able to choose a mat­tress so that both are com­fort­able. As a last resort, buy two beds with dif­fer­ent mat­tress­es and com­bine them into a com­mon bed.

Sleep researcher Neil Stan­ley believes that sleep is as indi­vid­ual as chew­ing food or run­ning a marathon. You can be phys­i­cal­ly near­by, but still “every­one sleeps for him­self”, and for this every­one needs their own space. Accord­ing to Stan­ley, even a com­mon bed should not be less than 180 cm wide, but it is bet­ter that every­one should have at least 100 cm wide for sleep­ing. And there should be a free approach on both sides so that the part­ners do not have to climb over the oth­er if they need to get up. Not every bed­room in a mod­ern apart­ment is spa­cious enough to meet these con­di­tions.

It is bet­ter for every­one to choose blan­kets and pil­lows for them­selves. Per­son­al­ized blan­kets are always bet­ter than shared blan­kets. If desired, you can move to a part­ner or com­bine blan­kets. This is more ratio­nal than being con­tent with one for two.

It is very impor­tant to think over the light­ing well — so that the sleep­er does not inter­fere with the light if the oth­er part­ner falls asleep or wakes up at a dif­fer­ent time. If the light is very dis­turb­ing, you should choose a qual­i­ty sleep mask.

The most dif­fi­cult thing to solve are issues with alarm clocks if they are set at dif­fer­ent times.

And snor­ing needs to be treat­ed. It is pos­si­ble: there are tech­niques and devices that help get rid of this prob­lem. Which is quite seri­ous, as it is not only an acoustic prob­lem, but can also be a dan­ger to the snor­er. For infor­ma­tion on how to get rid of it, read the arti­cle “How to get rid of snor­ing”.

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