There’s a growing body of research all about the benefits of sharing your bed with a partner.
From improving your mental wellbeing to boosting your overall health, here are 10 reasons why it’s great sleeping next to someone you love:
1: Experience Better Sleep Quality
We all strive for good sleep quality but we don’t always get it.
Did you know that sleeping beside someone, especially if you’re in a solid relationship, is a good way to help you on your path to good quality slumber?
Wendy M. Troxel, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh, unearthed that women in stable relationships fell asleep faster and had less sleep disturbances in the night than single women, or those whose relationship status changed during the experiment.
2: Fall Asleep Faster
Surely time taken to fall asleep doesn’t matter as long as we fall asleep, right?
A study by Northumbria University in the UK revealed that that there’s a link between time taken to fall into slumber and our overall sleep health.
Apparently 10 to 20 minutes is the normal amount of time it should take you to fall asleep for good sleep health. If it takes longer than 30 minutes, then your sleep efficiency drops considerably.
However, the average time it takes someone to fall asleep is actually seven minutes.
It’s pretty common when you’re by yourself to get caught up in your own head as your mind begins to wander.
Our brains become more and more active; we begin to overthink and, unsurprisingly, struggle to get that much needed shut-eye.
According to research reported by Andrea Petersen (New York Journalist and critically acclaimed author) in The Wall Street Journal, mental activity makes it difficult to sleep.
This is why sleeping next to someone you love is so beneficial. They’ll give you feelings of security so you begin to relax and drift off.
3: More Restorative Sleep
Have you ever wondered “Why do I sleep better with my girlfriend or boyfriend?”
Well, wonder no more! It’s because having a lover in your bed will make you more likely to experience restorative sleep, which is vital for brain health.
The National Sleep Foundation has explained that sex can make it easier to fall asleep as sex boosts oxytocin (the love hormone) and lowers cortisol (the stress hormone).
For women, sex boosts estrogen levels which improves the REM (rapid eye movement) stage and leads to deeper sleep.
Don’t worry men – you will sleep just as well, too. Post-sex, oxytocin is released and it makes everyone feel super sleepy.
The Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology at Morehouse School of Medicine in Georgia has shared similar findings, with sex positively influencing the sleep-wake cycle.
Leading health expert, nutritionist and author Shawn Stevenson, in the book Sleep Smarter: 21 Essential Strategies to Sleep Your Way to a Better Body, Better Health, and Bigger Success goes one step further and states that orgasms are like sedatives.
They stimulate the release of a cocktail of chemicals that can help you on your way to a great night’s sleep.
- Oxytocin (the love hormone)
- Serotonin (contributes to wellbeing and happiness)
- Norepinephrine (helps to regulate sleep and balances responses to stress)
- Vasopressin (increases sleep quality and decreases cortisol)
- Prolactin (associated with improving the immune system, great sleep and quality of life)
There’s more! For women, a good night’s sleep will increase their sexual desires.
A study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, has revealed that there’s a 14 per cent increase in the likelihood of sex after sleeping the optimal amount, with more sleep associated with better genital arousal.
4: Lowers Your Blood Pressure
A massive benefit of sleeping next to someone you love is that it can help you live a longer life!
It reduces the chances of life-threatening cardiovascular diseases.
Researchers from the University of North California carried out a sleep and intimacy experiment with 59 women.
They asked all participants to diarize their hugs and cuddles, with their oxytocin levels and blood pressure checked on a regular basis.
The findings revealed that those with the highest levels of oxytocin had the lowest blood pressure.
5: Improves Your Immune System
Sharing your bed with your partner is likely to lead to sex which is actually brilliant for your health.
Scientists from Wilkes University in Pennsylvania examined couples who were regularly intimate.
They discovered that sexually active partners were more resistant to common colds and the flu because they produced more antibodies.
Sexual health expert, Yvonne K. Fulbright, summed it up succinctly:
Sexually active people take fewer sick days.
6: Reduces Anxiety
Anxiety can play havoc with your sleep, from preventing you falling asleep in the first place, to making you suffer with a restless night.
Laying beside a loved one is great for your mental health.
The skin-on-skin contact sends signals to your adrenal glands (that sit at the top of your kidneys) to stop producing cortisol.
Touch is a powerful force as groundbreaking research from the University of Virginia demonstrated.
The Assistant Professor of Psychology, James Coan, administered MRIs to 16 married women and warned them that they might experience some type of shock.
The MRI scans indicated that the participants were experiencing anxiety.
When the women held each other’s hands their stress levels decreased, but when they held hands with their husbands, the women became even more relaxed.
And as we learned earlier, sleeping in bed with a partner reduces cortisol and leads to a surge in oxytocin, which also helps to ease worry and fear.
7: Makes Us Happier
You’re more likely to feel happier when you’re physically close to someone and there’s science behind this.
Touching someone releases dopamine and serotonin, both of which can boost your mood and curb depression.
So what’s so special about dopamine and serotonin?
When dopamine, an important chemical messenger to the brain, is released in big amounts it can make you feel pleasure.
Serotonin is sometimes referred to as the “happy chemical” because it contributes to wellbeing and happiness.
Once serotonin has been produced, it can be converted into melatonin by the body.
As neuroscientist Matthew Walker explains in the international bestseller Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams, melatonin, sometimes referred to as the ‘hormone of darkness’ as it’s released at nighttime, is important as it influences the sleep/wake cycle.
It’s no wonder you feel on a high when you awake in the morning.
8: Slows down Aging
There’s an easy way to look and feel more youthful which doesn’t involve a stack of cosmetics.
It’s free and just involves you sharing your mattress space with someone.
Quality time together cuddling, and, having sex, can actually take years off you.
Scottish neuropsychologist David Weeks wrote in Secrets of the Superyoung that under these conditions and when you’ve got lower stress levels, your body feels a lot younger – 10 years younger!
9: Improves Relationships
It would seem that couples that sleep in bed together, stay together.
Psychologist Professor Richard Wiseman, from the University of Hertfordshire, surveyed 1,000 people to gauge whether snuggling up to someone in bed has any effects on your relationship.
Respondents had to divulge how close they slept to their partner, the quality of their relationship, and rate their personality.
The most popular sleeping positions for the couples involved was laying back-to-back (41%) compared to facing the same way or ‘spooning’ (31%) and facing one another (4%).
The investigation showed that proximity in bed and relationships were interlinked; the closer the couples spent the night, the strong their relationship.