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Help to sleep: this is why some people sleep better when sharing a bed

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Sarah Biddlecombe
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Do you sleep better when sharing a bed with your partner, or do you prefer to sleep alone? Intriguing results from a number of scientific studies could explain why we think we sleep better when sharing a bed – even if it has a negative affect on our quality of sleep. 

There are two types of sleepers in this world. 

There are those who love sharing their bed with another person, and then there are those who… don’t, with new research from sleep tech company Emma revealing that 59% of couples suffer from sleep issues due to sharing a bed.

But if you’re the first type of person, the type who doesn’t mind giving up the lion’s share of the duvet, then there might be a scientific reason why you sleep better with another person next to you.

sleep better
Help to sleep: research found that both men and women reported that they had slept better when sleeping with their partner.

According to the results of a scientific study, we perceive the quality of our sleep to be higher when we’ve slept next to our partner – even if their presence doesn’t actually improve how well we sleep, as found in the research from Emma.

The study, published in the journal Behavioural Sleep Medicine, tested out the sleeping patterns of 15 couples by investigating both the sleep location (whether they slept at their own place or their partner’s place) and the social setting (whether they slept alone or with their partner).

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While the sleep location did not appear to have any definitive affect on the quality of sleep the couples enjoyed, the social setting played more of a role.

The researchers found that men slept longer and woke up later when co-sleeping with their partner, while both men and women reported that they had slept better when sleeping with their partner compared to sleeping alone.

sleep better couple
For co-habiting couples in particular, self-isolation is likely to be a real test of endurance.

This isn’t the first time that researchers have investigated the impact of sharing your bed with another person on how well you sleep.

Back in 2012, a review of research in the Wall Street Journal found that there were a number of benefits to sharing your bed – namely that the other person could provide comfort and feelings of safety, which in turn could help to improve the quality of sleep.

And two studies of over one thousand Britons found that couples who slept naked together, or less than an inch apart, were happier and more content in their relationships than those who wore PJs to bed or liked to sleep with a bit of personal space.

But if you’re the second type of sleeper, the type who prefers to nestle down in bed alone, fear not: yet another study has found that sharing a bed with your partner could be bad for your health if it has a negative affect on the quality of your sleep.

Either way, if you need a hand drifting off to sleep, you could always try this beauty product, this breakfast combination or this type of soothing noise.

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This piece was originally published in August 2017

Images: Getty, Unsplash

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Sarah Biddlecombe

Sarah Biddlecombe is an award-winning journalist and Digital Commissioning Editor at Stylist. Follow her on Twitter

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