Why It's Good to Sleep Next to Your Partner

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Deciding to sleep next to your partner can be a pretty big step. Since we spend about one-third of our days—and our lives—sleeping, this can feel like a pretty big commitment.

While the thought of cuddling up with your partner can definitely seem cozy and appealing, you may wonder how it will affect your ability to sleep and whether sleeping next to your partner is better than sleeping alone.

In addition to deepening your physical, emotional, and spiritual connection with your partner, sleeping next to your partner can benefit your mental health in many ways, says Claudia de Llano, LMFT, a licensed marriage and family therapist.

This article discusses some of the mental health benefits of sleeping next to your partner.

Better Sleep Quality

These are some of the ways that sleeping next to your partner can improve the quality of your sleep, according to Sabrina Romanoff, PsyD, a clinical psychologist and professor at Yeshiva University.

  • Improved sleep duration and efficiency: Research shows us that sleeping next to a partner is linked to increased sleep duration, higher sleep efficiency, and better sleep quality overall. Getting a good night’s sleep helps reduce stress and boosts restorative functions.
  • More REM sleep: A 2020 study found that sleeping next to a partner is associated with 10% more rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. The REM stage of sleep, which is where most dreams occur, is critical for cognitive functions such as learning and remembering.
  • Shorter time taken to fall asleep: Research has found that partners are more likely to fall asleep faster when they sleep next to each other. The time taken to fall asleep is known as sleep latency, and shorter sleep latency is associated with better sleep efficiency.

From an evolutionary perspective, we are most vulnerable to attack when we are sleeping at night so there is safety in numbers, Dr. Romanoff explains. “Therefore, you may subconsciously feel more safe and protected when you’re sleeping next to your partner than when you're alone, which can help you sleep better.”

Getting a good night’s sleep is important for your health and well-being. Not sleeping well can negatively affect your immunity, heart health, weight, memory, learning ability, and reaction time, among other things.

Improved Mental Health

A 2022 study published in the journal Sleep concluded that sleeping next to your partner can offer several benefits for your mental health, including:

  • Lower levels of depression
  • Lower levels of anxiety
  • Lower levels of stress
  • Lower risk of sleep apnea
  • Reduced severity of insomnia
  • Greater social support
  • Higher satisfaction with life and relationships

Dr. Romanoff explains that poor quality sleep is the one of the main common symptoms of mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety. "Since sleeping next to a partner promotes better sleep, it reduces that symptom and, in turn, improves the disorder."

Increased Intimacy

Below, de Llano describes some of the ways sleeping next to your partner can improve the physical, emotional, and spiritual connection between the two of you and increase intimacy in your relationship.

Physical Intimacy

Sleeping next to your partner not only enables sexual intimacy, but also promotes physical intimacy in the form of hugging, cuddling, kissing, and holding hands.

In fact, a research study with 778 participants found that the physical and sexual intimacy caused by sleeping next to a partner triggers the release of a hormone known as oxytocin. The authors of the study note that oxytocin not only promotes better sleep, but it also reduces stress and promotes bonding.

Emotional Intimacy 

Sleeping next to your partner offers an opportunity for you and your partner to share your thoughts, feelings, hopes, and perspectives with each other in a safe space, thereby bringing you closer together.

In fact, research suggests that sleeping next to a partner helps improve emotional intimacy as well as emotional satisfaction in the relationship.

Spiritual Intimacy 

Sleeping in the same bed can be a spiritual experience for many couples. Apart from feeling closer to your partner, the shared experience can also help you be more in sync with each other on a physiological and spiritual level.

Research has found that partners’ heartbeats sync up when they sleep next to each other—heartbeats are electrical pulses and when you sleep next to your partner, they are transmitted to them via faint vibrations.

A Word From Verywell

Sleeping next to a partner doesn’t necessarily mean that it’ll all be smooth sailing. For instance, your partner may snore loudly, kick or fidget, talk in their sleep, experience nightmares, hog the covers, move often during the night, watch television until late, keep their phone on loud, or prefer different sleeping temperatures, says Dr. Romanoff.

However, various research studies have found that despite these factors, partners who sleep next to each other tend to experience better sleep, greater intimacy, and improved mental health.

9 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Sanjana Gupta
Sanjana is a health writer and editor. Her work spans various health-related topics, including mental health, fitness, nutrition, and wellness.