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Whilst couples sharing a bed has become the norm, it hasn’t always been that way. In fact, from the mid-1800s to the 1950s it was regarded as unhealthy even for married couples to share a bed.

A new study conducted by Emma, the world leaders in sleep products backed by science, surveyed over 1,000 adults and found that Australians have well and truly embraced the modern trend of sharing a bed though, with 57% bedsharing with their partner. From those who did, the vast majority (82%) said they did this every single night.

While this statistic seems romantic and positive, some concern comes from that fact that 51% of Australians also stated they slept better alone in bed, indicating that a significant amount of people in relationships aren’t experiencing the level of quality sleep that is so important for well-being, mental health, and productivity throughout the day.

Delving deeper into the research, when it comes to couples who do share a bed, 73% said they had to accommodate their sleeping patterns when they did so, with the leading reasons being: sleeping on the side rather than on the back (47%), consciously sticking as close as possible to their side of the bed (38%) and changing what they wear to bed for temperature control (10%).

Unsurprisingly, the biggest annoyances of sharing a bed across all age groups, genders and states were their partner snoring (36%), being kept awake by the tossing and turning (22%), having the sheets and blankets stolen (19%) and getting too hot (12%).

Emma Merritt, Sleep Science Manager for Emma, says “There are many benefits to sleeping in bed with a partner, like feeling safe and the fact that our body releases a hormone called oxytocin, which many refer to as the “cuddle chemical” that makes people feel calm and relaxed, which in turn helps them to fall asleep, stay asleep and awaken their best self. However, there are also some downsides too such as being woken up more regularly due to the other person moving, and not having enough space to spread out comfortably. There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to whether couples should sleep together or apart, but it's paramount for a happy and healthy life that both individuals get adequate sleep.”

To help couples enjoy the most comfortable night’s sleep together Emma Merritt shares her expert tips:

Make sure your bed is big enough. Having a bed too small for you and your partner will exaggerate any issues, with nighttime movements being much more obvious if you are sleeping too close to each other with little room to move.

Have a candid conversation. Talk about what makes you both comfortable: is there a certain temperature, material of bedding, or type of mattress that you both like? Invest in quality products that meet both of your needs. Ultimately, a good night will be beneficial to the relationship in the long run as lack of sleep can lead to irritability, mood changes, mental and physical health issues.

Explore solutions for the things that annoy you. For example, snoring was the most common bug bear, but there are many solutions to a variety of causes. The options include a variety of nasal devices that can be used when going to sleep to help prevent snoring throughout the night, refraining from drinking alcohol before bed and avoiding sleeping on your back. Or, for those with fidgety partners, the Emma Zero Gravity Mattress could be the answer. The mattress features trademarked AirGrid Technology, which is hyper-elastic material that adapts to movement and provides rebounding comfort. Both you and your partner can toss and turn effortlessly without being awakened as the mattress quickly reacts to and cushions all of your body movements. Finding a solution to whatever your annoyances are can make the world of difference.

Emma Merritt adds, “Lastly, if you’re in a new relationship and are struggling to bedshare, don’t fret. Studies have shown couples begin synchronizing sleep stages after a while, so even if it’s difficult now it’s worth putting up with this initial annoyance as eventually when the sleep cycles sync up, sharing a bed should become much more enjoyable.”


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