My mind, my thoughts, my words

Co-sleeping: Good or Bad?

I am a very light sleeper, especially noise gets to me so I sleep with earplugs most nights. There were times when I had to share a bed, e.g. when travelling with friends or crashing at a friend’s place, and whenever I’m witch my boyfriend, and I’m usually quick to adapt and can even sleep without earplugs (given that the surroundings like flatmates and things outside are quiet). Now, again being by myself at night, I feel like I sleep particularly deeply again. Maybe it’s not necessarily because I have a bed to myself, no-one moving around or making noises next to me and no worries about waking someone when I have to go to the loo or move around myself, but I sometimes like to think when I can’t sleep well in a shared bed that it’s maybe water veins (my mum got some people to measure water veins with a pendulum in my childhood home and discovered one right where I was lying with my head (it’s not that bad if it’s other body parts), so I turned around, slept really badly for a few days but then I slept a lot better than I had before!). But in general it’s quite a debatable topic; obviously, when you’re by yourself, there’s no one who could disrupt your sleep, but on the other hand, shouldn’t we be adapted to sleeping well next to others? (It might not have been an option in earlier days; cave people surely had to stay close to keep each other warm, and families in small houses had (and in some places still have)  to share their sleeping space)

A study by Colleen Carney from Ryerson University in Toronto claimed that around 40% of couples slept apart and that it was beneficial for their relationship, because even if people said they slept better together, their brain scans showed that they were continuously woken up by movements or sounds, and sleeping separately could result in a better night’s rest, thus happier people making it a happier relationship.

While people in a study by ergoflex admitted they slept better, they also said that their relationship had suffered from sleeping separately – as psychologist Donna Dawson explains, no matter how valid the reasons, sleeping separately is never emotionally or psychologically healthy for a couple. Personally, I feel bad for having to pee or move at night because my boyfriend is also a light sleeper and I know I’ll wake him up to some degree by doing so, but I think I would take it personally if he wanted to sleep separately. Ironically, if he drives me nuts and is just fidgety all night (which he usually doesn’t but it’s happened before) I don’t mind moving to the sofa for the night myself. Even if it means not getting the best sleep I could possibly get by myself, I still prefer co-sleeping with my boyfriend, not only because he’s my human radiator but especially because going to bed and waking up is so much nicer together. Plus I noticed that I’m having trouble falling asleep again if I wake up early in the morning (4, 5 am) but with him I don’t!

In support of a(n evolutionary) view that co-sleeping his healthy, researchers from the University of Pittsburgh have found co-sleeping to lower stress hormones, encouraging the feeling of safety and security, and also boosting the levels of oxytocin which induces bonding feelings.

It seems as though everything in life comes with pros and cons, but particularly in a relationship I think that co-sleeping is more beneficial than harmful. This article gives some good advice on how people could manage to sleep well together (I added a few):

  • if you prefer different kinds of mattresses (soft, hard…), buy a mattress in two parts – this will also make movements of the other person less noticeable
  • if your partner is a real annoyance in bed and you need quality sleep during the week for work, sleep apart during the week and together on the weekends
  • if you tend to steal blanket, or get too hot together, or like to tuck yourself in on both sides, just get separate duvets
  • use earplugs if noise wakes you easily
  • if your partner likes reading at night but you like to sleep early, use a sleeping eye cover

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This entry was posted on 05/02/2014 by in Body and Health (or not), Miscellaneous and tagged , , , , .
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