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?
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 …
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?
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”.