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Sleeping together or separately: a somnologist talks about the impact of sleeping together on the quality of relationships

Daria PilipenkoLady
Sleeping together or separately: a somnologist talks about the impact of sleeping together on the quality of relationships. Source: Pexels/Andrea Piacquadio

Sleep is one of the most important components of our lives that affects our physical and mental health. Recently, however, researchers have begun to actively study how sleeping together affects the quality of relationships between partners. This topic is gaining more and more interest, because not only our mood, but also family harmony depends on how we sleep together. My name is Daria Pylypenko, I am a somnologist and president of the Ukrainian Institute of Child Sleep, and in this article we will try to figure out how to sleep better with your partner-together or separately.

Let's look at the factors in favor of co-sleeping:

Physiological aspects of co-sleeping

Sleeping together has several physiological benefits. When we sleep together, our bodies synchronize: our heart rate, breathing, and even sleep phases often coincide. This is due to a phenomenon known as "sleep synchronization," which promotes deeper, more restful sleep. Studies show that couples who sleep together have fewer awakenings during the night and get better sleep.

Psychological benefits

In addition to the physiological aspects, co-sleeping has a powerful psychological impact. It helps to strengthen the emotional bond between partners. When we sleep next to a loved one, we feel more secure and calm. This promotes the production of oxytocin, a hormone responsible for feelings of trust and intimacy. There is a claim that such contact improves communication and reduces stress in relationships.

Impact on intimacy

Sleeping together also has a positive effect on a couple's intimate life. It helps to increase physical contact, which is an important element of a healthy relationship. Sharing hugs, touching, and just being there can increase sexual satisfaction and desire. Intimacy during sleep creates an atmosphere of trust and comfort, which is the basis for a stable and harmonious relationship.

I would also add that despite its many benefits, co-sleeping can also have its challenges. For example, different sleeping habits, such as different times of falling asleep or waking up, snoring, or the need for different temperature conditions can create discomfort.

The flip side of the co-sleeping coin: What to consider

While co-sleeping has many benefits, it can also have some negative consequences. It's important to be aware of potential problems and know how to solve them in order to maintain harmony in the relationship and ensure quality rest for both partners. Here are some of the main harmful effects of sleeping together:

1. Sleep problems

Different sleeping habits can cause discomfort when sleeping together. If one partner has a different sleep pattern, snores, or wakes up frequently at night, this can lead to sleep disturbances for the other partner. Such factors can cause insomnia or insufficient sleep, which negatively affects health and well-being.

2. Different temperature needs

Partners may have different needs regarding bedroom temperature. One may prefer a cool room, while the other likes to sleep in warmth. This can cause conflicts and discomfort when sleeping together. Inconsistency in temperature preferences can lead to inconvenience and even interfere with good rest.

3. Reduced personal space

Some people need more personal space when sleeping. Sleeping together can lead to feelings of crampedness and discomfort, especially if the bed is small. This can negatively affect sleep quality and lead to a constant feeling of fatigue and irritation.

4. Chronic pain

Musculoskeletal problems, such as back or neck pain, can be exacerbated by co-sleeping, especially if partners have different sleeping habits or the bed does not provide adequate support. Improper body positioning during sleep can lead to chronic pain and impair quality of life.

5. Different biorhythms

Partners may have different biorhythms: one is a "lark" and the other is an "owl". This can lead to conflicts about falling asleep and waking up, and cause additional stress. A mismatch in biorhythms can affect the quality of sleep and overall well-being of both partners.

How to avoid problems with sleeping together

  1. Discuss your needs and find compromises that will satisfy both of you. For example, use separate blankets or adjust the temperature in the bedroom.
  2. Invest in a quality mattress that will ensure a comfortable sleep for both partners.
  3. Try to synchronize your biorhythms, find time to relax together, and gradually adjust your sleep schedule.
  4. Use earplugs or white noise to reduce the impact of noise if one partner snores or has other disturbing habits.
  5. Provide enough personal space in bed for both partners to rest comfortably.

In conclusion, I can reassure you that although co-sleeping can have some harmful effects, the right approach to sleep management can help you avoid many problems. Mutual understanding, compromise, and caring for each other are the key ingredients to creating a comfortable and healthy co-sleeping environment. Sleep well and wake up refreshed. Your quality sleep expert, Daria Pylypenko.

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