Unlike other health habits such as smoking and exercising, sleep is unique for many adults because we share it with our partner," says Wendy Troxel, clinical psychologist and behavioral scientist at RAND.
September 30, 2023 by
Kris | Fja-Oeyen


For many, sleeping together is something very romantic and intimate. For others it is accompanied by a pulled away blanket, a snoring orchestra or yet again an unexpected push in the side. This often leads to a longing for a separate bed for a better night's sleep.

For example, a study by the University of Pittsburg has shown that women who experience restlessness in their relationship during the day sleep more restlessly at night. For men, the reverse is true. The more restless they sleep, the more susceptible they are to discussions within the relationship. There is a risk that the couple will fall into a vicious circle of increased stress and restless sleep.


We've been sleeping together since time immemorial. For example, in the book "At Day's Close: A History of Nighttime" by R. Ekirch, we read that in the Middle Ages, night was seen as the devil's playtime. There were burglars and arsonists but also witches and ghosts. Figures who very often and only too willingly came to hang around either physically or in people's minds. Hence the old saying, "The good people love the day and the bad the night." This feeling of insecurity in combination with the fact that one positions oneself very vulnerably during the night was at that time one of the reasons for many to go to sleep together.

A second important cause was of a financial nature. The average family simply did not have enough space for separate rooms in the Early Modern Era. "Even the cattle stayed under the same roof, because there was no other infrastructure available and the animals were also a source of warmth," says Ekirch. Sleeping separately was considered a luxury at the time.


Today, fear of the dark has given way to another social demon, perception. "Not sleeping in the same bed often has the perception that as a couple you no longer have sex or are growing apart," says Lee Crespi in the Atlantic. Because of this, we don't like to admit it, even though there is probably a perfectly logical explanation for it.

Sleeping together gives us a feeling of connectedness and intimacy. Sleeping together can increase the cuddle hormone oxytocin and decrease the stress hormone cortisol. Oxyctone increases, according to several studies, optimism, confidence and self-confidence in a natural way. Cortisol ensures that when we wake up our body has enough energy to start the day again. If we have too high a level of cortisol in the evening, it will be more difficult to fall asleep.


Well, that depends. There's no such thing as a solution that applies to everyone. Every couple needs to decide for themselves what's best for them. They need to find a balance in their personal sleep as well as in the time they spend together in order to optimize it.

When we are under the down together, whispering and close to each other, we talk to each other sooner and more openly. About the household, the children, the colleagues; we make plans for the next day and put everything from the past day into perspective. Because we are social beings, we prefer to do this with the person we care about the most. We seek confirmation that we are not alone.

The most important time for intimacy and connectedness is perhaps the moment just before we fall asleep. Just the two of us alone without all the distractions of the busy day. It doesn't immediately play such an important role whether we sleep together or in separate beds afterwards. The most important thing is to enjoy that moment just before going to sleep, to relax and certainly not to skip it.

You can conclude that the greatest benefit of sleeping together is created in the time just before it.

Although sleeping separately also has its benefits ;-)

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