According to stats, around 60% of us share a bed with a significant somebody else - in fact, it’s considered weird if couples don’t sleep in the same bed.
As human beings, it is estimated that we will spend about a third of our entire lives sleeping - or at least will try to. However, around 60 million people in the US suffer either long-term or occasional sleep problems, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokes in the United States. That’s about a fifth of the whole US population.
With sleep problems that high, there are many factors as to why. One could be, the blue light projected from your mobile phones and gadgets affecting your circadian rhythm, which is a problem that we deal with here at Swanwick Sleep.
However, a common denominator that we glance over in these studies is also the fact that people don’t sleep alone. Even though any scientific evidence probably isn't going to stop people from bunking up with each other, research is starting to reveal that sleeping with a partner can affect our sleeping patterns in negative ways.
Various sleep studies have shown that sharing a bed with someone usually results in a poorer quality sleep in comparison to sleeping in a bed alone. Moreover, sleepers who share a bed with someone else experience increased physical activity during the night, in comparison to people who solitary sleepers. Sleeping partners also had less REM restorative sleep, making them feel more fatigued throughout the day.
In spite of evidence pointing towards coupling up potentially harming your sleep, those who do share a bed together were usually more satisfied with their sleep, in comparison to the solitary participant.
Amidst the divergence in scientific evidence: suggesting that you’re better off sleeping alone, versus the personal opinion of the participant, who prefers getting cosy with a friend, what can explain this?
Researchers from the University of Utah suggested that for us to understand and answer this sensation, we need to understand the emotional relationship between couples.
Back in 2008, Professor Lisa Diamond from the University of Utah and her colleagues looked into what happens when romantic partners are separated from each other for a short period of time. The results showed that some of the participants showed an increase in attachment anxiety, meaning they were anxious without their significant other.
Even though attachment anxiety is usually more associated with younger children, it does also impact people in adulthood and can be brought about when not seeing a loved one for a short period of time. Attachment anxiety has a significant impact on sleep quality during the phase of separation, according to researchers.
Therefore, the overall consensus is that even though sleeping alone is better for you and will increase sleep quality, separation from your emotionally-attached to romantic partner will actually cause you traumas - making your sleep problems worse.
So, if you’re a solitary bachelor - then you will get the best sleep of all. However, if you share a bed with your significant other, then you may want to stick in that cycle of sleep with them, as being away from them can worsen your sleep. Interesting, right?
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