Sleep, better alone or together?


While I was away at a conference this past weekend, I thought I’d try out the android sleep tracker. I confess I’ve been curious for awhile about how much deep sleep I got. With a king size bed all to myself, I slept like a rock star. Eight hours, eleven minutes. 75% of that in deep sleep. Woo hoo.

(By the way, I’m doing well on this week’s resolution. So far, no snoozing. It works well having the alarm go off in a light sleep period, I think, though it’s hard to get used to the random awakening times. Ah, 5:22. You again.)

On a regular weeknight, my sleep is not so luxurious. Usually I get seven hours and change. And I get less deep sleep.

I share my bed with my partner, when he’s not in Toronto, and with our cuddly labradoodle (that’s a guess, she’s a rescue puppy) Olivia. Sometimes, also, the cat.

Behind us are the days of multiple babies and toddlers in the bed. It was a futon then, king size, with lots of room for extras.

Sharing a bed isn’t just about sleep quality though. There’s also sex, conversation, cuddling, and companionship to consider.


Strictly from the sleep quality point of view, it turns too there’s no clear consensus on whether alone or together is better. I’d heard three of these arguments before, better alone, better together and in opposite sex couples, worse for women, better for men. The new one was worse for men, better for women.

Better for everyone
Sleeping together improves health

Couples sleeping on the same bed may live longer and be in better health that people who sleep by themselves, experts say.

In fact, some researchers believe that sleeping with a partner may be a major reason why people in intimate relationships tend to be in better health.

Worse for everyone
Why It Might Be Healthier to Sleep Alone
From the marriage sucks file: The couple that snoozes together, loses together. scientists say sleeping together ruins your health.

The study reports that if you’re shacked up and sharing a bed, you experience 50% more sleep troubles than singletons. Sleeping together is downright unhealthy. So weird – I’m not married for this exact reason! Strategic brilliance from Ost, yet again.

Better for women, worse for men:

Bed sharing ‘drains men’s brains’

Sharing a bed with someone could temporarily reduce your brain power – at least if you are a man – Austrian scientists suggest.
When men spend the night with a bed mate their sleep is disturbed, whether they make love or not, and this impairs their mental ability the next day.

The lack of sleep also increases a man’s stress hormone levels.

According to the New Scientist study, women who share a bed fare better because they sleep more deeply.

Better for men, worse for women

Taylor’s trouble getting a good night’s rest next to her husband isn’t unusual.Women sleep less soundly when they share a bed with a romantic partner, a study published this month in Sleep and Biological Rhythms found. Surprisingly, men actually sleep better when they sleep next to a woman.

There are a lot more couples sleeping separately than you might guess, says Mark Mahowald, director of the Minnesota Regional Sleep Disorders Center in Minneapolis and a professor of neurology at the University of Minnesota Medical School. An estimated 23 percent of American couples sleep apart, according to a survey by the National Sleep Foundation. A Canadian study reported that 34 percent of couples hit the sack separately.




5 thoughts on “Sleep, better alone or together?

  1. I find sleeping with someone is what I’m used to. Whenever I sleep alone I wake up in the night looking for my beloved.
    Although when I was breast feeding sleeping with my sons meant I didn’t sleep as deeply.

  2. Have to say – I sleep way better without my wife in the bed. And she knows I like it without her in the bed, and is perturbed by my liking it. So she even says jokingly – if she’s off somewhere for a day or two, that I’d better not get used to it! I do love the fact that she wants me around, of course, but….

  3. I hate to sleep alone. When I travel I pile all of the pillows as close to me as possible so that it feels like someone is there. Our usual is our two boys sandwiching me on one side of the king size and my husband enjoying the whole other side.

  4. I slept badly with my male partners, to the point where I’d decided I just was built to sleep alone. But with my current female partner I sleep like a rock. If I’m restless all she has to do is put her arm around me and I go right to sleep.

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