Couples sleep better

Improved sleep quality by sleeping together

When couples sleep together, the amount of Rem sleep increases and there is generally less sleep disruption. One reason for this seems to be that couples are synchronizing their sleep.

A recent study involving the University of Kiel found that sleeping together in a couple had a positive effect on the quality of sleep. The results were published in the English language journal "Frontiers in Psychiatry".

What does sleeping together do?

Many people around the world share their bed with their partner. This raises the question of how sleeping together in a bed affects sleep itself. To find out, the researchers examined twelve young, healthy, heterosexual couples who spent four days in a sleep laboratory.

Participants' sleep parameters were measured

With the help of dual simultaneous polysomnography, the research group measured the sleep parameters of the participants - both in the presence and in the absence of the partner. Polysomnography was able to measure sleep on four levels, from brainwaves to movements, breathing, muscle tension and heart activity.

Relationship questions had to be answered

In addition, the participants filled out questionnaires with which relationship characteristics should be measured. These include, for example, the length of the relationship, the level of passionate love and the depth of the relationship.

Increased limb movement noted

Interestingly, the research group found increased limb movement during sleep in couples sharing a bed. However, these movements do not disturb the sleep structure. In other words, when couples sleep in a bed together, the body is a little more restless, but the brain is not.

REM sleep improved by sleeping together

The results of the study show that so-called REM sleep (sleep with rapid eye movements) was increased and less disturbed in couples sleeping together compared to nights spent alone. This is quite relevant because REM sleep is associated with emotion regulation, memory consolidation, social interactions and creative problem solving, the research group explains.

Couples' sleep patterns synchronize

The team also found that couples synchronize their sleep patterns when sleeping in a bed together. This synchronization is positively linked to the depth of the relationship. In other words, the higher the participants rated the importance of their relationship for their life, the stronger the synchronization with the partner.

Less emotional stress from sleeping together

Sleeping together seems to trigger a positive feedback loop that improves and stabilizes REM sleep, which in turn improves social interactions and reduces emotional stress, the researchers say. Although these possible effects were not specifically measured in the study, these are known effects of REM sleep.

More research is needed

The results are promising, but many questions remain unanswered. In the future, the determined effect of couples sleeping together in a more diverse sample must be checked. So far, it seems that sleeping together with a partner in a bed could actually give an extra boost in terms of mental health, memory, and creative problem-solving skills, the researchers conclude. (as)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • Henning Johannes Drews, Sebastian Wallot, Philip Brysch, Hannah Berger-Johannsen, Sara Lena Weinhold et al .: Bed-Sharing in Couples Is Associated With Increased and Stabilized REM Sleep and Sleep-Stage Synchronization, in Frontiers in Psychiatry (Published Jun 25, 2020 ), Frontiers in Psychiatry

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