Are you on an out-of-sync sleep schedule with your partner? It could be hurting your relationship, experts say.
Research has found that a couple going to bed at the same time nightly, regulates the routines of each, and leads to less insomnia. Partners who go to bed at different times have more fights and spend less time doing things together, including having deep conversation (pillow talk.) They also have sex less and don’t keep up with each others routines as much.
In a 2010 couple-sleep study published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine, researchers followed 29 heterosexual couples for a week, and analyzed going to sleep together with relationship satisfaction. Know why your guy may need a nap? The researchers found that men were happier in their relationship after a good night’s sleep. Women were the opposite—if all went well during the day, they slept well that night. Women said they were also happier when their partner turned in with them after a long day.
Sleep patterns that don’t match up can also affect how you sleep together when you are in bed together. If you’re not used to sleeping with your partner, it can be unsettling. Or if someone wakes you when they come in late, it can make you have a fitful sleep. If one partner is an early riser and the other sleeps in, the early bird may disturb the sleep pattern of the late riser.
New York City based relationship expert Rachel Sussman advises going to sleep at the same time, if your schedules allow it.
“I think going to bed at the same time can be very helpful to a relationship,” she says. “People live such busy lives that going to bed together allows them a common goal—getting into bed together to have some TV time, some quiet time, some cuddling, relaxing, playing…and it can also lead to sex, which is an added bonus.”
Rachel says separate schedules can be a challenge to a relationship.
“Those couples need to work hard to find ‘alone’ and ‘connection’ time,” she says. “They should not assume it's built in (because it's not) and must be really good at scheduling it, or it won't happen and they can drift apart.”
She advises to plan a bedtime together, which can definitely help.
“It's a shared goal which leads to a shared experience, which can be very positive,” she says.
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