Adults sleep far better with a partner than they do alone, according to a new study from the University of Arizona. The research has revealed that people who usually sleep with a spouse or partner have less fatigue, less severe insomnia, and longer sleep duration compared to individuals who sleep by themselves.
In addition, study participants who slept with a partner reported falling asleep faster and had a lower risk of sleep apnea. Furthermore, the results showed that sleeping with a partner was associated with lower depression, anxiety, and stress scores, and greater social support and life satisfaction.
Meanwhile, sleeping alone was associated with a higher risk of depression, less social support, and less life satisfaction.
“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,” said study lead author Brandon Fuentes.
The analysis was focused on data collected in the Sleep and Health Activity, Diet, Environment, and Socialization (SHADES) study, which involved more than 1,000 adults in southeastern Pennsylvania.
“Very few research studies explore this, but our findings suggest that whether we sleep alone or with a partner, family member, or pet may impact our sleep health,” said senior study author Dr. Michael Grandner, director of the Sleep and Health Research Program at the University of Arizona. “We were very surprised to find out just how important this could be.”
The researchers also found that sleeping with a child did not produce the same benefits. Parents who often slept in a bed with their child had a greater risk of severe insomnia and sleep apnea, and also had less control over their sleep. In addition, sleeping with a child in the bed was associated with more stress.
The study abstract is published in an online supplement of the journal Sleep. The research was presented during SLEEP 2022, the annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies.