A surprising number of couples don’t share a bed and instead, retreat to their own domains as the night falls. Although this might seem a little odd to some, for others, it will make perfect sense as having a person next when you are trying to recover from a hard day is not always a bed of roses. In this guide, sleep expert Martin Seeley sheds some light on why sharing a bed could negatively impact health.
How sleeping next to someone could impact your health.
Sleep disturbance: Sharing a bed with someone who moves around a lot or snores can disturb your sleep, causing you to wake up frequently throughout the night. This can lead to sleep deprivation, which has been linked to a variety of health problems, including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
Increased risk of infection: Sharing a bed with someone who has an infectious disease can increase your risk of getting sick. For example, if your partner has a cold or the flu, you are more likely to catch it if you share a bed.
Allergies: If you or your partner have allergies, sharing a bed can exacerbate symptoms. Dust mites, pet dander, and other allergens can accumulate in bedding and trigger allergic reactions.
Premature ageing: Sharing a bed with a partner who snores or moves around a lot could lead to disrupted sleep. Lack of sleep has been linked to premature ageing, as it can contribute to the breakdown of collagen in the skin and impair the body’s ability to repair and regenerate itself.
Poor sleep posture: Sharing a bed may also contribute to poor sleep posture. Sleeping in a position that puts strain on the neck or spine can lead to chronic pain and discomfort, which can contribute to premature ageing.
Relationship issues: Sharing a bed can also lead to relationship problems, especially if one partner has different sleep preferences or habits than the other. For example, if one partner likes to stay up late watching TV and the other prefers to go to bed early, this can cause tension and arguments.
Intimacy issues: While sharing a bed can enhance intimacy for some couples, it can also lead to sexual problems for others. For example, if one partner snores loudly or moves around a lot, it can make it difficult for the other partner to get in the mood for sex.
More specifically, how can sharing a bed affect your sleep quality?
Your partner’s movement can disturb your sleep. If your partner moves frequently or is a restless sleeper, you may be awakened by their movements, leading to poor sleep quality. Noise can also affect sleep quality. Your partner’s snoring, talking in their sleep, or other noise can also disturb your sleep.
Even if you don’t fully wake up, these noises can disrupt your sleep cycles, leading to poor sleep quality. If you and your partner have different sleep habits, getting a good night’s sleep can be challenging. For example, if you like to go to bed early and your partner is a night owl, their activities may keep you awake.
Temperature also affects sleep quality. If you and your partner have different temperature preferences, it can be difficult to get comfortable. If your partner likes to sleep in a cooler room, and you prefer a warmer environment, it can make it hard for you to sleep soundly. The size of your bed can also affect your sleep quality. If you and your partner share a small bed, you may not have enough space to move around comfortably, disrupting sleep.
What are some tips to ensure a good night’s sleep if you share a bed?
1. Communicate: Talk to your partner about your sleep needs and preferences. Let them know if their movements, snoring, or other habits are affecting your sleep. Work together to find solutions that work for both of you.
2. Choose the right bed: Invest in a high-quality mattress and pillows that provide the right level of support and comfort for both you and your partner. Consider getting a larger bed if you don’t have enough space to move around comfortably.
3. Create a bedtime routine: Establish a consistent bedtime routine that you can both follow. This can include relaxing activities like taking a warm bath, reading a book or listening to calming music.
4. Set the right temperature: Make sure your bedroom is at the right temperature for both you and your partner. If you have different temperature preferences, consider using separate blankets or adjusting the thermostat to a comfortable temperature for both of you.
5. Use earplugs or white noise: If your partner’s snoring or other noises are keeping you awake, try using earplugs or white noise to block out the sound.
6. Consider separate sleeping arrangements: If sharing a bed is consistently disrupting your sleep, consider sleeping in separate beds or bedrooms. This doesn’t mean you have to give up intimacy, but it can help ensure that you both get the sleep you need.
Martin Seeley, a Sleep Expert and the CEO of MattressNextday, compiled this guide.
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