Study: Sleeping With A Partner Is Good For Your Health

Life & Love | Gerren Keith Gaynor | 07/14/2014 | 09:15 AM EDT

Scientists find the psychological and overall benefits of sharing the bed with a significant other

For all you single, independent women and men out there who don’t think you need someone on those lonely nights, new research suggests you may want to think twice about sleeping solo.


According to some scientists, people in close relationships tend to be in better health and live longer, suggesting that sleeping with someone is quite beneficial to your overall well being.


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Such new research conflicts with previous studies that show women don't sleep as well with a partner and both men and women move around more when sleeping together. Other studies depicted bed wars of such as couples battling over sheet-stealing, differing bedtimes and room-temperature preferences.


But instead of couples looking to sleeping in separate bedrooms to resolve their sleep clashes, scientists suggest they find other unique ways to remedy them in order to reap the psychological benefits of sleeping with a significant other.


The Wall Street Journal
reports:


"Sleep is a critically important health behavior that we know is associated with heart disease and psychiatric well-being," says Wendy M. Troxel, an assistant professor of psychiatry and psychology at the University of Pittsburgh. "It happens to be this health behavior that we do in couples," she says. In one of Dr. Troxel's studies, published in 2009, women in long-term stable relationships fell asleep more quickly and woke up less during the night than single women or women who lost or gained a partner during the six to eight years of the study.


One hypothesis as to why having someone to share your bed with is so beneficial is that 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 “love hormone” that is known to ease anxiety and is produced in the same part of the brain responsible for the sleep-wake cycle.


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As far as overcoming differences such as bedtimes and sleep patterns, experts suggest that one accepts their partner is different. Other options would be to purchase products geared toward couples such as mattresses that don't transfer motion from one tossing and turning person to another. Couples are also recommended to sleep with separate blankets and have more sex.


(Photo: Jon Feingersh/Blend Images/Corbis)

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