Is it better for your sleep to have a partner or not in bed?
Updated: Sep 13, 2022
Well, it seems that it really depends upon who that partner is.
According to a study by Fuentes et al. (2022), at the University of Arizona, having a bed partner is associated with sleep benefits (e.g., less insomnia; decreased sleep apnea risk; shorter sleep onset latency, meaning you fall asleep faster; and shorter durations of wakefulness after having already fallen asleep). These benefits were found as long as that bed partner was not a child.
The study was based on a survey of 1007 working-age adults from southeastern Pennsylvania. While this study is correlational, based on associations, and not causal, the findings may suggest that couples perceive their sleep as being better than those who do not have a bed partner. Various reasons could account for these findings, and the next step for researchers will be to explore what those reasons might be.
For instance, is it possible that having a bed partner increases one's sense of security, thereby promoting more restful sleep?
Could it be that bed partners alert their significant others to snoring or breathing issues, prompting treatment of or lifestyle changes that mitigate sleep apnea?
From a sleep coaching perspective, what does this mean?
From a sleep wellness and coaching perspective, couples can build upon these sleep benefits by optimising their bed for good sleep.
When searching for a mattress as a couple, ask yourselves the following questions:
- What kind of bed are you using?
Is it comfortable enough for both of you in terms of size?
Do you have sleep preferences that favour certain kinds of mattress characteristics?
Are your preferences compatible?
Can your mattress be customized to your respective sleep preferences, so that your mattress enhances your bed-sharing experience and sleep quality?
One thing to remember: even though couples seem to have an advantage in terms of having better sleep, the advantages of good sleep should be had by all, whether a person is sharing a bed with someone or not.
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