Just like the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat, sleep is an essential part of life. But of all those things, sleep is probably what we don’t get enough of – be it quality or quantity. But studies show that if you’ve got someone lying next to you, there are some benefits. So even if you’re sharing a bed with a snorer, kicker and/or blanket-stealer, it still might be better than no one at all. Here’s why.
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You become more in sync with your partner
Couples who go to bed at the same time typically wake up around the same time, resulting in similar body clocks. That harmony can show just how satisfied couples are in their relationship.
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Sleeping with someone provides a more restorative sleep
If you're next to someone you love and are attracted to, you are likely to indulge in a little... let's say "non-sleep time" and when that happens, it can boost estrogen levels in women, thus leading to a deeper slumber while oxytocin in men is released, resulting in some serious fatigue. Basically, it's like eating a giant turkey dinner – without the calories.
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There are plenty of health benefits
Sleeping next to your life companion doesn't just provide romance, but health benefits too. It can lower blood pressure (there's that oxytocin coming into play again), reduce inflammation (because of lesser cortisol levels) and improve your immune system (research found that sexually active partners are more resistant to common colds and the flu because they produced more antibodies).
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You’ll feel happier when sleeping next to someone
If you're physically close to the person you love on a nightly basis, that alone can release dopamine (which, when released in large quantities, can make you feel pleasure) and serotonin (a.k.a. the "happy chemical") in the body, thus improving your mood and helping to counter depression.
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You’ll fall asleep faster
When you're alone, you can get caught up in your own head so if you sleep alone, you can overthink things. According to research by Andrea Petersen in The Wall Street Journal, once your brain starts going, it's that much harder to tune it out, close your eyes and shut it down, so you actually fall asleep faster when you sleep with someone else.
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Sleeping next to someone will leave you feeling safe
There's something comforting about having someone by your side, thus making the quality of your sleep that much better. But according to the WSJ, this is more about men, who sleep the same when with a partner or alone versus women, who tend to wake up more during the night when they have someone by their side.
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The side you sleep on makes a difference
A study from Sealy UK found that if you sleep on the left side of the bed, it means you want to get a good start to the day, you like your job, have a lot of friends and wake up in a good mood with a more positive outlook on life. If you sleep on the right side, you prefer your own company, are grumpier, more pessimistic and don't like your job.
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The closer you sleep next to someone, the better
People who maintain a maximum distance of 2.5 cm from their partner are believed to have a good relationship. So cuddle up.
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Never go to bed angry
Too late — for men, at least. Because according to UMass Amherst neuroscientists, they can still sleep soundly because they believe after catching some z's, everything will be fine the following day. For women, it's the opposite. It's hard for them to turn their heads off, so they just stew.
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Make sure you don’t overheat when sleeping
Keep warm when you sleep, but don't get too hot! A too-high temp can lead to fatigue. When it starts to get hot in there, just stick a foot out of the covers. Your body temperature will regulate and you'll be back to dreaming in no time.
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Sleeping next to someone makes you a better partner
Whether it's a marriage, you're living together, or something in between and undefined, according to studies, relationships are built on strong connections and good communication. When a crappy sleep happens, that can sometimes interfere with all the positive things in a relationship, which ultimately means a restful night can not only avoid any potential conflict but also improve the relationship altogether.
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You’ll stress less when sleeping next to someone
With less stress (anything from security concerns to relationship issues) comes the lowering of the stress hormone cortisol, suggests the WSJ's research, as well as the reduced level of cytokines, which has to do with inflammation.
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Oxytocin is released after sex
Oxytocin, which some call the love hormone, is released after sexy time, making you super-sleepy. But even brushing up against your partner will have you high on oxytocin. And, hey, whatever happens after that is up to you. But its release is what relaxes you and induces sleep, so you do the math.
Related: How to use lucid dreaming to heal.
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TV before bed isn’t a good idea
No, it's not because of the dreams you will have (though we suggest saving The Last of Us for daytime hours), but the light from your television is messing with your melatonin levels, the hormone that makes us sleepy.
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You’ll feel more energized sleeping next to someone
If you've slept soundly and comfortably, you'll wake up more refreshed. Feeling refreshed is an indicator of good sleep quality, according to studies, and that's great for you and everyone around you. No, really. Ask your partner, or your kids, or your co-workers. They'll know if you've had a crappy sleep.
Written ByDenette Wilford