To Sleep Better, Partner Up
Research says health benefits outweigh disruptions
By Mark Russell, Newser Staff
Posted Jun 5, 2012 9:11 AM CDT
Updated Jun 9, 2012 12:21 PM CDT
Sharing a bed can hurt your sleep, but research shows it helps your overall health even more.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – The snoring, the sheet-stealing, the random kicks: Sleeping with a partner may sound like bad news, but the Wall Street Journal reports that it might actually be good for your health. Writing for the Journal, Andrea Petersen notes that some recent studies' findings "run counter" to previous ones indicating that women get better sleep when solo and both men and women move around more when slumbering as a duo. She points to a 2009 study that followed women for six to eight years and found that those who were in a long-term relationship during that time nodded off more quickly and woke up less frequently than their always- or sometimes-single counterparts.

Petersen points out that the "science is in the early stages," but reports on potential theories behind the observations: that sleeping as a pair increases feelings of security, raises anxiety-reducing oxytocin, and reduces cytokines, which play a role in inflammation. Says the researcher, "The psychological benefits we get having closeness at night trump the objective costs of sleeping with a partner." And sleep-related companies are cashing in on couples dealing with those objective costs, with mattresses that stop motion from one side to the other and comforters whose two halves have different thicknesses, for instance.

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Showing 3 of 13 comments
Izman15
Jun 9, 2012 1:41 PM CDT
This study is the kind that give respectable science a bad name. People who are in long term relationships live more routine driven lifestyles. If you're single you act more impulsively since you only have your schedule and desires to fill, by contrast, if you are a couple you have to take one another wants and needs into consideration. Therefore, couples (at least couples that tend to last) form routines and follow schedules to a much higher degree than single individuals. Real research has shown that by establishing a proper routine and sticking to a regular pattern of eating, sleeping, and activity humans obtain better health both physically and mentally. Sleeping together is simply a symptom of cohabitation, it's like saying driving a BMW leads to financial success. People in relationships tend to be better adjusted, and healthier than their single counterparts more due to social programming and biochemical feedback less to do with minutia like sleeping style or how they brush their teeth.
apocalypso
Jun 6, 2012 2:42 AM CDT
I find I sleep better when I make my own judgements about how I prefer to sleep. If you're an adult and you enjoy co-sleeping, do that, but if you don't enjoy it, then don't do it. My personal feeling is that people who can't sleep by themselves are much like toddlers who still refuse to sleep outside of mommy and daddys bed, not grown-ups. Ew. Do not want. Edited due to careless reading of the article on first pass because it was so annoying and silly.
danton3
Jun 5, 2012 2:45 PM CDT
sleeping with strangers...stray boosy ones, fragile cry baby ones, any one. My experience is, well....in the sack by twelve asleep by 2 or three and up by 7. Cranky? maybe. hurry...and am i worried? look at her? going with the supposition that up-all nighters that have become exhausted isn't the girl i'll be looking for.