Why Sleeping Next to Someone You Love Promotes a Better Night’s Rest
4 min read
Last Modified 31 August 2023 First Added 29 January 2017
When you are in a relationship and live with your partner it’s widely assumed that you’ll be sharing your bed with them. However, getting good quality sleep is crucial, and if you find it hard to share your bed with someone who is liable to move and snore at any given moment, this could end in a sleep divorce.
Our 2022 UK Sleep Survey revealed that over a quarter (27%) of people said they sleep better when their partner isn’t in the bed with them. And 17% would rather sleep with a pet.
However, sleeping next to someone you love can often help improve your sleep quality. So, whether you’re a cuddle monster or just want some sleeping space, we have advice and guidance on the pros and cons of sleeping next to a loved one.
Being physically close to someone at any point in the day can make you feel better. That’s because touching someone releases dopamine and serotonin, ‘both of which can boost your mood and cure depression.’ Cuddling your partner through the day provides a boost in emotional well-being and this positive hormonal change affects both partners. In short, this often means your happiness levels improve while stress is reduced.
For women, in particular, a study by Wendy M. Troxel, assistant professor of psychiatry and psychology at the University of Pittsburgh, discovered that those in long-term, stable relationships fell asleep faster and woke less frequently than their single counterparts or those with changing relationships statuses.
When it comes to relationships and happiness, it appears that those who cuddle through the night are much more likely to feel a stronger connection in their relationships.
A University of Hertfordshire survey revealed that 86% of couples that slept within an inch of one another were happy in their relationships, whilst only 66% of couples who slept with a distance of more than 30 inches between them could say the same. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t feel like having your own space in bed; after all everyone’s sleep requirements are different.
‘one hypothesis suggests that by promoting feelings of safety and security, shared sleep in healthy relationships may lower levels of cortisol, a stress hormone. Sharing a bed may also reduce cytokines, involved in inflammation, and boost oxytocin, the so-called love hormone that is known to ease anxiety’.
Anxiety can totally ruin a good nights sleep. It is believed that skin-to-skin contact while in bed can reduce anxiety and therefore, aid a better nights rest. Often, light sleepers will benefit from having their partner dozing off next to them as this brings a sense of safety and security while at their most vulnerable.
If you are in a long distance relationship, you will know how difficult it can be to adjust to an on/off sleeping relationship with the person you love. But remember, it’s 2022! We’ll have flying cars soon. In the meantime, there is one method which proves popular for those long distance lovers and it requires a smart phone. Simply, this involves using loudspeaker mode, embracing some pillow talk and then falling asleep with the phone left on. With apps like WhatsApp, FaceTime, Zoom and more, couples who are feeling love-sick are now able to virtually sleep next their partners. The only things to be aware of here is how blue-light affects sleep and using WiFi as opposed to mobile data to ensure you don’t chew through your data allowance.
If you and your partner have severely misaligned body clocks then you’ll need to compromise. For example, any night owls will need to creep into bed as quietly as they can and heavy snorers should invest in nasal strips and earbuds for their partner.
As with any sleeping issues, making sure your sleeping environment is as sleep-friendly as possible is the best way to achieve a good night’s rest. Make sure your bedroom is a comfortable temperature, is sufficiently dark, and that your bed and mattress are supportive and suited to your nightly needs.