Why sleeping with your partner might be better for you than starfishing solo

Sharing a bed with your partner is a bit of a divisive topic. Either you love to snuggle and spoon, or prefer to starfish in a double bed all alone. 

Being unable to sleep next to your partner doesn’t mean you hate each other. Maybe they snore, keep you awake with the blue light of their phone, or suffer with insomnia so badly that you start tossing and turning too. 

If the thought of having your partner nearby as you try to doze off fills you with dread, you aren’t alone. In Mattress Online’s survey of 1,000 Brits, more than half (51%) said they sleep in a different bed or room to get a better night’s sleep. 

The prospect has become more popular in recent years, with a bunch of former or current famous couples – including Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip, to Gwyneth Paltrow and Brad Falchuk, Victoria and David Beckham, Helena Bonham Carter and Tim Burton and Kaley Cuoco and Karl Cook – all deciding to stay in separate beds. 

While it’s understandable to want your space if you just can’t get shut-eye with your partner around, adults who sleep alone could be damaging their health. 

That is, at least, according to a new study which found that adults who share a bed with their partner can enjoy a bunch of mental and physical health benefits compared with people who go solo. 

Researchers from the University of Arizona found that sleeping with your partner doesn’t just mean you’ll probably have a better kip, it can also lower your risk of depression, anxiety, stress and fatigue.

Unsurprisingly, they also found it helps couples feel closer emotionally, be more secure in their relationship and have better overall life satisfaction. So, wanting your space is valid – but it does mean you may need to make extra efforts to be intimate with your partner in other ways. 

Dr Grandner said: ‘Very few research studies explore this, but our findings suggest that whether we sleep alone or with a partner, family member may impact our sleep health. We were very surprised to find out just how important this could be.’

Brandon Fuentes, a researcher in the department of psychiatry at Arizona and co-lead author, added: ‘Sleeping with a romantic partner or spouse shows to have great benefits on sleep health including reduced sleep apnea risk, sleep insomnia severity, and overall improvement in sleep quality.’

The study, published in the journal Sleep, analysed medical data from 1,000 Pennsylvanian men and women. 

Sleeping with a partner/spouse was associated with better sleep quality and mental health overall.

There opposite was true for people who regularly slept in the same bed as their children or family members. 

This is a casual relationship, meaning we can’t say for certain that sharing a bed with a partner is causing the benefits. 

This does match previous research conducted in Germany however, which concluded that happy couples who share a bed tend to have more, less disrupted rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. 

This is the type of sleep you have where you dream, and is crucial for regulating emotions, memory consolidation and creative problem-solving. 

So, maybe it’s time to try to share that bed again. Pass the anti-snoring nose strips.

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