The lead researcher of the study, Dr. Wendy M. Troxel, explains that sleeping with a partner comes with a host of psychological benefits. These psychological benefits far outweigh any kind of physical discomfort that may be experienced when snoozing with your better half.
Dr. Wendy M. Troxel is an assistant professor of psychology and psychiatry at the same university that conducted the study.
Love is closely connected to a multitude of emotions! Some of them are positive – happiness, comfort, security, etc., while some are negative – jealousy, anger, sadness, and the likes. However, it’s not just your emotional state that love has a deep impact on. It largely influences your health too! And in a good way, in fact, if a recent study on love’s health benefits is to be believed.
According to a University of Pittsburgh study, couples who share a bed at night are generally healthier than those who sleep alone. Scientists of the study go on to say that even though sleeping with a partner comes with its fair share of nighttime interruptions, couples who sleep together tend to live longer too (2)!
Troxel along with her team of researchers discovered that women who are a part of a stable, long-lasting marriage were more likely to doze off quicker and experience better quality of sleep overall as compared to single women or women with broken relationships. The study was carried out over a course of 2 years and it further mentions that women with stable relationships barely woke up in the middle of the night, leading to less disturbed sleep.
You might be curious to know why this happens, right? Well, University of Vienna’s biological rhythm specialist and behavioral endocrinologist, John Dittami has the answer. He explains that when women sleep with their partners, they enjoy their presence despite it taking a toll on the number of hours they eventually get to sleep.
Troxel too has another explanation up her sleeve for this phenomenon. She says that sharing a bed at night with their partner makes women feel more secure and safe, which leads to better sleep and consequently, better health. Troxel also points out that a shared bed leads to the reduction of the levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) in the body. Another benefit of sleeping together is a decrease in the level of cytokines, which are responsible for the sensation of pain as well as inflammation in the body.
That’s not all. Sleeping together has many other wonders in store! Troxel’s study also espouses the fact that being physically close to one’s partner can increase the production of oxytocin – the feel-good aka. ‘love’ or ‘cuddle’ hormone. This hormone can bring down anxiety levels and promote better sleep. Oxytocin, as a matter of fact, is produced in that very part of your brain that regulates your sleep cycle.
So, what we can safely conclude is that conking out with your partner each night effectively solves two major health problems – aches and pains in the body along with stress. Isn’t that amazing? Looks like the power of love is very powerful indeed!
Another thing to note here is that when you’re less stressed (whether it’s because of pain or work pressure), you give a major boost to your overall health! Your chances of becoming a victim of major diseases such as cancer, heart issues, and chronic disorders also reducex. This can obviously lead to the prolonging of your life in a healthy way.
Thought that’s the end of the benefits of sleeping together? No, it’s not! Sleeping by the side of your partner has one more very interesting role to play. And that is of the regulation of your body temperature. You see, as you sleep at night, your body temperature tends to change. That’s actually a good thing as it ensures restful and better-quality sleep. However, sometimes your body temperature can drop to a point way lower than is conducive to sleep, leading to disrupted sleep. That’s where your partner comes to the rescue! Cuddling with your partner as you sleep can help you bring your body temperature back to normal due to the latter’s warmth.
Lastly, a very important benefit of sleeping together is that it helps strengthen your relationship. As psychotherapist, Barton Goldsmith explains, couples who do not sleep together face a harder time in resolving conflict, which can damage their relationship. So, even if you fight, you might want to sleep in the same bed rather than take your pillow and blanket to another room!
To conclude, there’s no sound reason to deprive yourself of the healing and life-improving benefits of cuddling with your better half every night. Ergo, if you wish to take advantages of sleeping together, pull your partner into bed as you tuck in every night!