Want better sleep? Sleep with a partner, according to a new study.
As sleep can be difficult to come by these days with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic plaguing everyone’s sleep patterns, a new study found that sleeping with a spouse, partner, or loved one in bed can help improve an important part of sleep: REM.
The study, published in the journal Frontiers in Psychiatry, found that people who sleep together have better and longer periods of undisturbed REM compared to when they sleep alone. Researchers had 12 young, healthy, heterosexual couples spend four nights in a sleep lab where they measured sleep patterns both with their partners and alone. Sleep parameters were measured using dual simultaneous polysomnography, which according to Dr. Henning Johannes Drews from the Center for Integrative Psychiatry, is a “very exact, detailed and comprehensive method to capture sleep on many levels — from brain waves to movements, respiration, muscle tension, movements, heart activity.”
Participants also completed questionnaires that asked about the dynamics of their relationship such as duration, level of love, and relationship depth, according to the study.
When couples slept together, the results showed that rapid-eye-movement both increased and there was less disrupted sleep between couples compared to when they went gentle into the night alone. REM is important because it has been linked with emotion regulation, benefitting memory, social interactions, and creative thinking, according to the report.
Another surprising finding was how couples had synchronized sleep patterns when sleeping together. While it isn’t associated with tussling for mattress position or loud snoring, researchers said it is associated with positive relationship depth.
“Sleeping with a partner might actually give you an extra boost regarding your mental health, your memory, and creative problem-solving skills,” Dr. Drew said.