While there are many reasons to enjoy the single life in 2022, it looks like sleep quality may not be one of them. According to new research from the University of Arizona, people who share a bed with their partner or spouse get better sleep — and, potentially, a lower rise of sleep-related problems like insomnia and sleep apnea — than people who sleep alone.
What did the sleep study look at?
The research, which looked at the data of 1,007 working-age adults living in southeastern Pennsylvania as part of the Sleep and Health Activity, Diet, Environment and Socialization (SHADES) study, aimed to get a better idea of how sleep affects health.
The researchers asked participants to fill out surveys on topics related to bed sharing, such as how often they shared a bed with a spouse or partner, child (or children), pets or family members — or how often they slept alone. The study also assessed sleep health factors using tools like the Epworth Sleepiness Scale, Insomnia Severity Index and STOP-BANG apnea score.
Is it better for your sleep to sleep alone or with a partner?
The results? According to the research, sharing a bed with a partner is better for your sleep than sleeping alone. As described in a press release, the research showed that “those who shared a bed with a partner most nights reported less severe insomnia, less fatigue and more time asleep than those who said they never share a bed with a partner.”
Additionally, people who shared a bed with a partner enjoyed sleep-related benefits like falling asleep faster, staying asleep for longer and a lower risk of the sleep disorder sleep apnea. Sleeping with a partner, according to the research, was associated with positives related to mental wellness — such as lower depression, anxiety and stress scores. There were also reports of greater social support and life and relationship satisfaction amongst those who shared a bed with a partner.
“Sleeping with a romantic partner or spouse shows to have great benefits on sleep health including reduced sleep apnea risk, sleep insomnia severity and overall improvement in sleep quality,” said lead author Brandon Fuentes, undergraduate researcher in the department of psychiatry at the University of Arizona, in the press release.
While these results sound promising for people who share a bed with a partner, it’s important to keep in mind the study’s limitations — including the fact that the research focused on self-reported survey impact, which may not always be the best representation of exactly how well the participants actually slept.
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