You already know that regular nookie makes for a happier union…but did you know that just sleeping together is actually good for your health and relationship?
A snuggly nap a day keeps the doctor away, according to recent sleep research. In fact, scientists say that sleeping together might be one of the major reasons why people with close relationships tend to live longer and be in better health. The hypothesis: whether you’re in a new relationship or have been partnered up for a while, sleeping together lowers cortisol, the stress hormone, and increases oxytocin, the love hormone that makes you all googly-eyed over your significant other.
And the link between sleep and relationship happiness goes both ways—women sleep better if they’ve had fewer negative interactions with their partners during the day, and men tend to have fewer negative interactions with their partners during the day if they slept well the night before.
But not all couples reap the benefits—between child care, incompatible work schedules, different wake-up times, and social plans that might keep one partner out later than the other, not everyone is able to sleep together every night. And anyone who’s ever slept next to a snorer or a flailer knows it’s hard to get the oxycotin flowing when you want to smother your partner with a pillow. Here’s what can help if you’re having troube getting in sync:
- Get a better mattress. If one of you is a light sleeper and the other tosses and turns, the combination is unlikely to make for lovey-dovey mornings. So think of a new mattress (one that doesn’t transfer motion or lets you address the his-and-hers sides separately for max comfort) as an investment in your love life.
- Have separate blankets. In every relationship, there’s the blanket hogger and the person who insists they don’t hog the blankets. They are the same person. Sharing may be caring, but it does not apply to fighting over the blanket at 3am—get your own.
- Schedule sleep-together time. Sure, it’s not terribly romantic, but you won’t care that you had to pencil it into your calendar once you’re all snuggled up and cozy. Try to make sure you’re getting into bed at the same time as your partner at least a few times a week…even if it means DVRing your favorite show or waking up early instead of staying up late to finish that work project.