Most of us strongly identify as either a night owl or an early bird. But this isn’t necessarily a first-date-worthy talking point. People often enter into relationships, and even marriages, with partners who maintain different sleep schedules than them. And we don’t seem to pick up our S.O.’s sleep patterns, unlike other mannerisms and preferences. Until you consider the fact that we spend about a third of our lives snoozing (well, that’s if you’re getting your eight hours in, that is), this might seem as though it would have minimal impact on your relationship. But according to a survey of more than 1,000 people by TheSleepJudge, a site dedicated to helping consumers make informed choices about their sleep products, sleep habits can actually play a part in the overall happiness of a couple.
Of the 1,010 people surveyed, nearly 58 percent said they fall asleep at a different time than their S.O. However, millennial couples were more likely to go to sleep at the same time than Baby Boomer couples or those in Gen X. Fifty-two percent of men said their partner falls asleep too early, and 41 percent of women claimed their partner goes to bed too late. (Side note: Respondents who identified as night owls were 22 percent more likely to argue with their partners.)
Stubbornness isn’t the only reason for this discrepancy, though. The other main factor: work. If a couple has significantly different work schedules, this unsurprisingly translates into different sleep schedules. Thirty-three percent of men and 29 percent of women in this situation said they have a difficult time harmonizing their sleep habits.
According to the survey, couples who fell asleep together were 22 percent more likely to feel productive at work the following day. So whether it’s the lack of disruption during the sleep cycle or the ability to fulfill your morning routine without fear of waking up your partner that leads to this workday boost, the effort it takes to synchronize schedules could be worth it.
And if you’re planning to catch some zzz’s simultaneously, you might as well cuddle beforehand (and during!), so the survey says. Nearly 50 percent of the respondents reported falling asleep cuddling, and 52 percent of millennials, specifically, cozy up before crashing. But forget the standard spoon once you’re actually asleep. According to those asked, the best three sleeping positions for happy couples are 1) butt-to-butt, facing away from each other, 2) back-to-back more than a foot apart, and 3) side-by-side with one ankle crossing over the other person’s.
So even though some nights of tossing and turning are inevitable, as it turns out, it could be worth it to chat with your S.O. about not just sleeping together but falling asleep together.