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 valuable mattress space with another human being who is liable to move and snore at any given moment, then you may have spent your fair share of nights in the spare bed or on the sofa. This is especially the case if your significant other is a bad sleeping partner, in which case partner sleep can seem impossible.
However this may be something worth working through together, as there is a range of evidence to suggest that partner sleep is actually extremely beneficial for a variety of reasons, not least of which is making the bond between the two of you even stronger.
Why is partner sleep good for you?
Being physically close to someone at any point in the day is liable to make you feel better at any rate, with touching someone releasing dopamine and serotonin, ‘both of which can boost your mood and cure depression.’ Cuddling your partner throughout the day provides an evident boost in your emotional well being, and the positive hormonal takeaway affects both of you, meaning you’re happier overall, as well as reducing stress levels.
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 awoke less frequently than their single counterparts, or those women with changing relationship statuses over the course of the study.
Partner sleep strengthens your relationship
When it comes to relationship happiness, it appears that those who cuddle through the night are much more likely to be happy in their relationships. A University of Hertfordshire survey revealed that 86 per cent of couples that slept within an inch of one another were happy in their relationships, whilst only 66 per cent 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. However, those that are happiest in their relationships are most likely to want to cuddle at night, showing that partner sleep is an important factor in strengthening a relationship bond.
‘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’.
As partner sleep involves physical contact, you’ll receive the associated benefits all night long, meaning both you and your partner are less stressed and happier overall. Evidently, this effect of your co-sleeping habits is good for strengthening your relationship bond, meaning you’re less likely to experience negative emotions, which could then impact your relationship satisfaction.
How to have partner sleep
Sleeping with your partner isn’t always going to be easy, and you’ll be woken more than a handful of times because of the way their sleeping habits affect your own. Mismatched sleeping patterns, nocturnal noises and sleeping preference can all have an effect on your sleeping patterns. If this is something you wish to work through though, there are plenty of ways to do so.
If you and your partner have severely misaligned body clocks then you’ll both need to compromise, with the night owl creeping into bed later as quietly as they can.
If your partner is a light sleeper and you’re a heavy snorer, investing in nasal strips for you and earbuds for them is a good start. As with any sleeping problem, making sure your sleeping environment is as sleep-friendly as possible is the best way to achieve a good night’s rest. To do this 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.
Did you find it hard to partner sleep at first? Let us know how you overcame the issues in the comments section.