Many people are familiar with the downsides of sharing a bed with someone, such as putting up with a partner who snores, kicks you in their sleep, or hogs all the blankets.
But few are aware of the many benefits that sleeping with a partner can actually bring, including improvements in mental wellbeing, overall health, and the health of your relationship.
Humans spend around a third of their lives in bed, so sleeping is obviously an important activity for maintaining good health. And as this article will show, sleeping together can be a much healthier proposition than sleeping alone.
1. Improves sleep quality
Sleeping with a partner is widely believed to improve the quality of your sleep by enhancing your REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. This is the dreaming phase of sleep, which is important for good brain health.
2. Fall asleep faster
Good sleep health is dependent on being able to fall asleep within 10 to 20 minutes of going to bed. Unlike sleeping alone, sleeping next to someone gives you feelings of comfort and security, allowing you to relax, turn off your thoughts and drift off to sleep fairly quickly.
3. Promotes restorative sleep
It is believed that sleeping with your significant other will make you more likely to experience restorative sleep. This is vital for brain health and consists of all five stages of sleep when chemical changes occur that allow the brain and body systems to heal and grow.
4. Lowers blood pressure
Cuddling up with a loved one in bed increases your oxytocin levels, which in turn lowers your blood pressure. Having good blood pressure helps to reduce your chances of cardiovascular disease.
5. Strengthens the immune system
Higher oxytocin levels also boost your T-regulatory cells, which are important for keeping your immune system healthy. A healthy immune system is vital for protecting your body from harmful germs and substances that could make you ill.
6. Reduces anxiety
As well as raising oxytocin levels, cuddling in bed also lowers your cortisol levels, both of which help to ease anxious emotions such as worry and fear.
7. Makes you happier
Touching someone also releases the chemicals dopamine (the pleasure chemical) and serotonin (the happy chemical), both of which can help to boost mood and reduce depression.
8. Reduces inflammation
Sleeping close to someone lowers your cortisol levels and reduces cytokines; proteins that are involved in chronic low-level inflammation. So simply sharing a bed with a loved one could help provide temporary relief from swelling and pain.
9. Helps relieve insomnia
Sleeping with a loved one can help reduce anxiety and over-alertness (the enemies of sleep). Insomnia can also be reduced in other ways such as exercising more and not watching TV or using mobile devices before going to bed.
10. Regulates temperature
Sleeping next to someone can warm you both up on a cold night, with the warmth of your bodies creating sleeping conditions that are neither too hot or too cold.
11. Strengthens relationships
Cuddling in bed with your significant other creates stronger bonds between you as a couple by providing comfort and reassurance through physical touch. Going to bed at the same time also provides a relaxed environment for communication to occur (which is a vital component of a successful relationship).
12. Slows down aging
Sharing a bed with someone you love can make you feel young and full of life. Of course, it won’t actually stop you from getting older, but if your stress levels are lower, your body may look and feel younger as a result. And as they say, you’re only as old as you feel.
Obviously, sharing a bed is not for everyone and problems like chronic snoring can be a real deterrent for some people. But there are remedies available these days such as;
- Anti-snoring treatments and devices
- Medications for treating REM Sleep Behavior Disorder (kicking and thrashing in bed)
- Devices that keep bedding in place and prevent blanket hogging.
So perhaps these could be investigated first before turning to the drastic measure of separate beds (and bedrooms).
Because with so many benefits for your health and wellbeing, sharing a bed is a highly recommended practice for those who can do it.