Magazine article Psychology Today

Sleeping Together

Magazine article Psychology Today

Sleeping Together

Article excerpt


Step aside, Big O: Zzz's matter, too. By Alison DeNisco

HE SEX MAY be good, but how's the sleep? The way couples literally sleep together, recent studies have shown, affects not only their health and their happiness as individuals but also their satisfaction with each other.

"The time that couples spend together in close contact after sex is a really important part of a healthy sexual relationship," says Daniel Kruger, an evolutionary psychologist at the University of Michigan.

Most sleep researchfocuses only on solo sleep. But Wendy Troxel, a psychiatrist at the University of Pittsburgh Sleep Medicine Institute, studies the way people typically sleep in their natural habitat: with someone else beside them.

Although we generally sleep more deeply when alone, "we prefer to sleep with a partner, which suggests a fundamental human need for attachment at night" says Troxel. In his book Two in a Bed, sociologist Paul C. Rosenblatt notes that many couples today spend more time together in bed than on their feet Making that time harmonious- agreeing on temperature, position, bedtimerequires just as much compromise as the many negotiations of the waking hours: "Sleeping together is an achievement of coordination on many dimensions."

Sleeping next to a snorer or insomniac, however, has its risks, finds William Strawbridge, asociologist atthe University of California, San Francisco. Partners of troubled sleepers have higher rates of depressed mood, relationship dissatisfaction, and "poor" or "fair" physical and mental health. …

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