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Your Place or Mine? Does the Sleep Location Matter in Young Couples?


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This study sought to characterize the impact of sleep location (own sleeping environment vs. partner's sleeping environment), social setting (sleeping in pairs vs. sleeping alone), and sex on sleep. An experimental 2 x 2 (sleep location x social setting) within-subject design was employed with 15 young heterosexual couples. The results suggest that sleep location does not appear to have a strong and consistent effect on sleep quantity or quality. The social setting had a specific effect in heterosexual young men, who were found to sleep longer and rise later when cosleeping with their partner. In contrast, we did not find any significant effect of the social setting on sleep continuity parameters in women. In both sexes, sleep quality was perceived to be better when sleeping in pairs. However, there was a higher concordance of the partners' body movements in cosleeping nights compared to the sleeping alone condition.
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Behavioral Sleep Medicine
ISSN: 1540-2002 (Print) 1540-2010 (Online) Journal homepage:
Your Place or Mine? Does the Sleep Location
Matter in Young Couples?
Kai Spiegelhalder, Wolfram Regen, Franziska Siemon, Simon D. Kyle, Chiara
Baglioni, Bernd Feige, Christoph Nissen & Dieter Riemann
To cite this article: Kai Spiegelhalder, Wolfram Regen, Franziska Siemon, Simon D. Kyle,
Chiara Baglioni, Bernd Feige, Christoph Nissen & Dieter Riemann (2015): Your Place or
Mine? Does the Sleep Location Matter in Young Couples?, Behavioral Sleep Medicine, DOI:
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Your Place or Mine? Does the Sleep Location Matter
in Young Couples?
Kai Spiegelhalder
Department of Psychophysiology and Sleep Medicine, Centre for Mental Disorders, University
of Freiburg Medical Centre, Freiburg, Germany
Medical Psychology and Medical Sociology, University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany
Wolfram Regen and Franziska Siemon
Department of Psychophysiology and Sleep Medicine, Centre for Mental Disorders, University
of Freiburg Medical Centre, Freiburg, Germany
Simon D. Kyle
School of Psychological Sciences
University of Manchester, Manchester, UK
Chiara Baglioni, Bernd Feige, Christoph Nissen, and Dieter Riemann
Department of Psychophysiology and Sleep Medicine, Centre for Mental Disorders,
University of Freiburg Medical Centre, Freiburg, Germany
This study sought to characterize the impact of sleep location (own sleeping environment vs. partners
sleeping environment), social setting (sleeping in pairs vs. sleeping alone), and sex on sleep. An experi-
mental 2 x 2 (sleep location x social setting) within-subject design was employed with 15 young
heterosexual couples. The results suggest that sleep location does not appear to have a strong and consistent
effect on sleep quantity or quality. The social setting had a specific effect in heterosexual young men, who
were found to sleep longer and rise later when cosleeping with their partner. In contrast, we did not find any
significant effect of the social setting on sleep continuity parameters in women. In both sexes, sleep quality
was perceived to be better when sleeping in pairs. However, there was a higher concordance of the partners
body movements in cosleeping nights compared to the sleeping alone condition.
Sleep disturbances are associated with a severely reduced quality of life (Kyle, Morgan, & Espie,
2010), and confer a substantially increased risk for depression (Baglioni et al., 2011) as well as
Correspondence should be addressed to Kai Spiegelhalder, MD, PhD, University of Freiburg Medical
Centre, Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Hauptstraße 5, 79104 Freiburg, Germany. E-mail: Kai.
Behavioral Sleep Medicine, 00:19, 2016
Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
ISSN: 1540-2002 print/1540-2010 online
DOI: 10.1080/15402002.2015.1083024
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for cardiovascular morbidity and mortality (Sofi et al., 2014). Clinical and basic sleep research
have identified several factors that affect sleep quantity and quality, including age (Ohayon,
Carskadon, Guilleminault, & Vitiello, 2004), sex (Zhang & Wing, 2006), and different sleep
disorders (Allen et al., 2003; Baglioni et al., 2014; Young et al., 1993). However, although the
majority of couples share a bed on most nights, only a few studies have investigated the social
context of sleep and the mutual influence of romantic partners on each otherssleep quality and
quantity (Troxel, 2010; Troxel, Robles, Hall, & Buysse, 2007).
Previous research using actigraphy or polysomnography demonstrated that partners generally
sleep worse with a partner. More specifically, the presence of a romantic partner is associated
with a decrease of slow-wave sleep (Monroe, 1969) and an increased number of body move-
ments during the night (Pankhurst & Horne, 1994), with the latter being most likely due to
movement synchrony between partners (Meadows et al., 2005,2009; see also Mochida &
Nishikawa, 2014). Of note, the results of two studies suggest that the sleep of women is more
likely to be disturbed by the presence of a bed partner, relative to men (Dittami et al., 2007;
Pankhurst & Horne, 1994). Moreover, sleep disorders, most notably the obstructive sleep apnea
syndrome, also have an impact on the partners sleep, especially when associated with snoring
(Blumen et al., 2012;2009; Parish & Lyng, 2003; Smith, Togeiro, Tufik, & Roizenblatt, 2009).
These findings, are, however, in remarkable contrast to the subjective experience of the dyadic
nature of sleep. Most individuals report that they sleep better when their partner is present in
studies using either natural or experimental designs (Diamond, Hicks, & Otter-Henderson, 2008;
Monroe, 1969; Pankhurst & Horne, 1994). Furthermore, there is a bidirectional relationship
between the subjective experience of sleep and romantic relationship quality, with marital
happiness leading to better sleep and vice versa (El-Sheikh, Kelly, & Rauer, 2013; Gunn,
Troxel, Hall, & Buysse, 2014; Hasler & Troxel, 2010; Rauer & El-Sheikh, 2012).
The literature has tended to focus on older, more established relationships and there is a need
to understand young couples in the early years of a relationship. Many young couples do not live
together and there has been no systematic study of the importance of sleep location for sleep
quality and quantity. Thus, the aim of the current study was to systematically investigate the
impact of sleep location (sleeping environment of the woman vs. sleeping environment of the
man), social setting (sleeping in pairs vs. sleeping alone), and sex on sleep by using an
experimental prospective 2 x 2 within-subject design in young heterosexual couples.
Fifteen young heterosexual couples who had no children and no common bedroom were
recruited from friends and relatives of hospital staff, and thus represent an opportunistic
sample. All participants (19 university students, 11 employed persons) were healthy good
sleepers. A semistandardized psychiatric and sleep-related interview was conducted by the
first and third author to rule out any history of psychiatric disorder, sleep disorder, or shift
work. Furthermore, all participants were free of any psychoactive medication during study
participation. For descriptive purposes, all participants were asked to complete the Pittsburgh
Sleep Quality Index (PSQI; Buysse, Reynolds, Monk, Berman, & Kupfer, 1989), the
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Insomnia Severity Index (ISI; Bastien, Vallières, & Morin, 2001), the Pre-Sleep Arousal Scale
(PSAS; Nicassio, Mendlowitz, Fussell, & Petras, 1985), the brief version of the Dysfunctional
Beliefs and Attitudes About Sleep Scale (DBAS-16; Morin, Vallières, & Ivers, 2007), the
Glasgow Sleep Effort Scale (GSES; Broomfield & Espie, 2005), the Epworth Sleepiness Scale
(ESS; Johns, 1991), the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI; Beck & Steer, 1987), and the trait
subscale of the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI; Spielberger, Gorsuch, Lushene, Vogg, &
Jacobs, 1983). For investigating partnership quality, the Fragebogen zur
Partnerschaftsdiagnostik[partnership questionnaire] (FPD; Hahlweg, 1996) was used, for
which construct validity and a high internal consistency (α= 0.93) have been demonstrated in
a sample of 1,114 individuals aged between 18 and 50 years (Hinz, Stöbel-Richter, & Brähler,
2001). Example items of this scale are, My partner shares his/her thoughts and feelings with
me,”“My partner is affectionate toward me,and My partner criticizes me in a sarcastic
way.A high correlation has been shown between FPD scores and the Dyadic Adjustment
Scale (r= 0.79; Rossier, Rigozzi, Charvoz, & Bodenmann, 2006), an extensively used
measure of partnership quality.
The study was conducted in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki. The study protocol
was approved by the Institutional Review Board of the University of Freiburg Medical Centre.
All participants gave their informed written consent prior to inclusion in the study.
For five consecutive nights (from Sunday evening to Friday morning), sleep was assessed using
daily sleep diaries with items similar to those of the consensus sleep diary (Carney et al., 2012)
and actigraphs (Actiwatch 4; Cambridge Neurotechnology, Cambridge, UK; http://www.camn that were placed on the nondominant wrist. Following one adaptation night, in which
the participants were able to get used to the actigraph and diary completion, four different
conditions were investigated in a quasi-randomized order: (a) both partners slept in the bed of
the male; (b) both partners slept in the bed of the female; (c) each partner slept on his or her own
in his or her own bed; (d) each partner slept on his or her own in the bed of the respective
partner. All participants were asked to follow their normal sleep-wake routine without any
further instruction concerning, for example, shared bedtimesduring cosleeping nights. In
addition, all participants were asked to refrain from alcohol during the course of the experiment.
Statistical Analysis
The sleep diary variables included in the analysis were total sleep time, sleep efficiency,
bedtime, rise time, sleep-onset latency, number of awakenings, and sleep quality (rated via a
5-point Likert scale: 1 = very good, 5 = very poor); variables derived from actigraphy were
total sleep time, sleep-onset latency, and the mean activity during the sleep period. For each
dependent variable, a three-factor repeated measures ANOVA with the independent variables
SLEEP LOCATION (own sleeping environment vs. partners sleeping environment),
SOCIAL SETTING (sleeping in pairs vs. sleeping alone) and SEX (men vs. women) was
conducted including the interaction effects SLEEP LOCATION x SEX and SOCIAL
SETTING x SEX. In addition, correlation coefficients between the actigraphically determined
minute-by-minute activity of partners during the shared sleep period were analyzed both for
the sleeping in pairscondition and the sleeping alonecondition. The two conditions were
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compared with each other using a t-test for dependent samples after transforming r-values of
individual couples into Fisher zvalues. The level of significance was set at p<0.05
(two-tailed) for all tests.
Demographic characteristics of the study sample are presented in Table 1 . Men and women did
not differ significantly in age or in any of the questionnaire scores. However, men had a higher
BMI than women. In comparison with normative data (Hinz et al., 2001), the mean partnership
quality score of the current sample was approximately one standard deviation above the
populations mean and the variance was small.
Subjective sleep parameters
Means and standard deviations of the dependent variables are presented in Table 2.
According to sleep diaries, there was a significant SOCIAL SETTING x SEX interac-
tion effect on total sleep time (F=4.41,p= 0.039). For men, but not women, sleeping in
pairs was associated with longer total sleep times than sleeping alone (t=2.50;p=0.017).
With respect to bedtimes, a corresponding SOCIAL SETTING x SEX interaction effect
was found for rise time (F=4.00,p=0.049).Table 2 illustrates that men but not women
had a later rise time in the sleeping in pairscondition compared to the sleeping alone
condition. In addition, there was a significant SLEEP LOCATION x SEX interaction effect
on bedtime (F=4.92,p= 0.029). There were no other significant main or interaction
effects on total sleep time, bedtime, and rise time. Of note, correlation coefficients between
partnersbedtimes were r= 0.92 (bedtime, sleeping in pairs), r= 0.62 (bedtime, sleeping
Description of the Study Population (Means ± Standard Deviations)
Males Females t p
Age (years) 28.9 ± 5.8 25.8 ± 3.5 1.76 0.091
BMI (kg/m
) 24.0 ± 2.3 21.5 ± 1.8 3.23 0.004
PSQI 3.7 ± 2.1 3.6 ± 1.8 0.18 0.856
ISI 4.6 ± 4.7 3.9 ± 3.1 0.50 0.618
PSAS 23.9 ± 6.6 24.6 ± 9.1 -0.25 0.802
DBAS 35.8 ± 14.1 42.5 ± 20.5 -1.04 0.309
GSES 2.3 ± 2.0 2.5 ± 2.2 -0.26 0.797
ESS 5.2 ± 3.5 5.2 ± 3.4 0.00 1.000
PFB 74.9 ± 8.5 77.4 ± 7.7 -0.82 0.418
BDI 2.9 ± 2.9 1.9 ± 2.8 0.89 0.381
STAI - trait 29.7 ± 7.1 33.5 ± 7.2 -1.43 0.164
Note. BMI: Body Mass Index; PSQI: Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index; ISI: Insomnia Severity Index; PSAS: Pre-Sleep
Arousal Scale; DBAS: Dysfunctional Beliefs and Attitudes About Sleep Scale; GSES: Glasgow Sleep Effort Scale; ESS:
Epworth Sleepiness Scale; FPD: partnership questionnaire; BDI: Beck Depression Inventory; STAI-trait: trait subscale of
the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory.
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alone), r= 0.57 (rise time, sleeping in pairs), and r= 0.46 (rise time, sleeping alone)
across the sample.
With respect to sleep quality, there was a significant main effect for the SOCIAL SETTING
(F= 4.10, p= 0.046). More specifically, sleeping in pairs was perceived to be associated with
better sleep quality than sleeping alone. There were no other significant main or interaction
effects on sleep quality. There were no significant main or interaction effects on sleep efficiency,
sleep-onset latency, or number of awakenings.
According to actigraphy, there was a significant SOCIAL SETTING x SEX interaction effect
on total sleep time (F= 10.61, p= 0.002). Table 2 illustrates that men, but not women, slept
substantially longer in the sleeping in pairscondition relative to the sleeping alonecondition
(t= 4.85; p< 0.001). No other significant main or interaction effects were found for actigra-
phically determined total sleep time.
There were no significant main or interaction effects on actigraphically determined sleep-
onset latency or mean activity during the sleep period. Correlation coefficients for the actigra-
phically determined minute-by-minute activity of partners during sleep were significantly higher
in the sleeping in pairscondition (mean r= 0.31) than in the sleeping alonecondition (mean
r= 0.07; t= 2.78; p= 0.016). Figure 1 shows one example of the dyadic nature of actigraphi-
cally determined activity data.
The results of the current study suggest that the sleep location does not appear to have a strong
and consistent effect on sleep quantity or quality, which may be reassuring for young couples in
the early years of a relationship. The social setting had a specific effect in heterosexual young
men who were found to sleep longer and rise later on cosleeping nights. In contrast, we did not
find any significant effect of the social setting on sleep continuity parameters in women. In both
Means ± Standard Deviations for the Outcome Variables of This Study Sorted by Sex and Condition
482.5 ± 76.1 457.1 ± 74.2 483.7 ± 51.1 457.0 ± 78.4 472.7 ± 42.7 451.3 ± 67.6
91.7 ± 7.9 88.3 ± 6.2 91.7 ± 8.3 87.1 ± 13.2 90.6 ± 10.0 91.3 ± 7.1
00:17 ± 01:12 23:49 ± 01:05 23:54 ± 01:13 00:12 ± 01:13 00:14 ± 01:24 00:24 ± 01:10
09:07 ± 01:47 08:29 ± 02:06 08:43 ± 01:24 08:59 ± 01:31 09:02 ± 01:51 08:41 ± 01:22
16.1 ± 15.0 18.9 ± 16.3 15.5 ± 14.2 20.8 ± 21.7 16.5 ± 12.9 14.2 ± 8.3
0.6 ± 0.5 0.4 ± 0.5 0.7 ± 0.5 0.7 ± 0.5 0.6 ± 0.5 0.6 ± 0.5
2.4 ± 0.8 2.3 ± 1.0 2.3 ± 0.7 2.4 ± 0.9 1.9 ± 0.6 2.4 ± 0.9
513.6 ± 95.9 484.7 ± 77.8 495.3 ± 57.9 502.1 ± 80.1 471.4 ± 53.2 470.6 ± 85.8
22.8 ± 30.7 27.5 ± 16.4 28.1 ± 19.5 18.5 ± 17.4 32.7 ± 26.8 13.2 ± 13.8
30.7 ± 13.6 28.7 ± 20.5 37.3 ± 17.0 33.4 ± 17.8 35.6 ± 21.5 34.0 ± 14.9
Note. M: Men; W: Women; SA/OSE: sleeping alone/ own sleeping environment; SA/PSE: sleeping alone/ partners
sleeping environment; SP/OSE: sleeping in pairs/ own sleeping environment; SP/PSE: sleeping in pairs/ partners
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sexes, sleep quality is perceived to be better when sleeping in pairs, confirming previous results
(Diamond et al., 2008; Monroe, 1969; Pankhurst & Horne, 1994). However, also in line with
previous studies (Meadows et al., 2009,2005; Pankhurst & Horne, 1994), there is a higher
concordance of the partnersbody movements in cosleeping nights compared to the sleeping
The specific impact of the social setting on mens sleep was an unexpected finding. It has
been argued that sleeping in pairs may increase the perceived physical and emotional security,
and thus may lead to a reduction of arousal levels and to increased sleep quality and quantity
(Troxel, 2010). However, it has also been suggested from an evolutionary perspective that this
effect may be particularly pronounced in women due to lower physical strength and greater need
for security against potential attackers (Troxel, 2010). On the other hand, previous work suggests
that womens sleep is also more likely to be disturbed by a partner than mens sleep (Dittami
et al., 2007; Pankhurst & Horne, 1994) which may be explained, at least in part, by the higher
sleeping in pairs in his sleeping environment
sleeping in pairs in her sleeping environment
sleeping alone in the own sleeping environment
sleeping alone in the partner's sleeping environment
0:00 1:00 2:00 3:00 4:00 5:00 6:00 7:00 8:00 9:00 10:00 11:00
FIGURE 1 Actigraphically determined activity during the sleep period of one couple of the current study for
each of the four conditions (man, M: upper bars; woman, W: lower bars). The diamonds represent bedtimes and
rise times according to sleep diaries.
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prevalence rate of the sleep apnea syndrome in men (McArdle, Kingshott, Engleman, Mackay, &
Douglas, 2001). Taken together, it may be speculated that the observed increase of mens total
sleep time in the current study may be a consequence of an increase in perceived security and
that this effect is counteracted in women by a disturbing effect of the partner. However, it should
also be noted that a previous study did not show any effect of the social setting on bedtimes,
using actigraphy and sleep diaries in a sample of comparable age to the current sample (Dittami
et al., 2007). As both studies were small, future replication studies in larger samples seem
The current actigraphy results are in line with previous studies showing that the presence
of a romantic partner is associated with a higher concordance of body movements during the
night (Pankhurst & Horne, 1994). However, as mentioned above, previous studies suggest
that women are particularly disturbed by the presence of their bed partner (Dittami et al.,
2007; Pankhurst & Horne, 1994), which was not replicated by the current study. Another
potential reason for this is that partnership quality was high in the current sample, particularly
in women (mean FPD scores were approximately 1 SD above the population mean; see Hinz
et al., 2001),whichshouldhaveresultedinlessdisturbed sleep during cosleeping nights (El-
Sheikh, Kelly, & Rauer, 2013; Gunn, Troxel, Hall, & Buysse, 2014;Hasler&Troxel,2010;
Rauer & El-Sheikh, 2012).
A surprising finding of the current work is the absence of the strong discrepancy between
objective and subjective sleep, which has been reported in previous studies on the social context
of sleep. In the current study, men slept longer in the sleeping in pairscondition both when
assessed subjectively and objectively. Furthermore, women were not affected by the social
setting in any of the investigated sleep continuity variables. The most obvious difference
between the current study and previous investigations is the prospective experimental study
design. Under these circumstances, participants may have had an increased awareness of the
experimental conditions and associated effects on their sleep, which may have resulted in a
comparably accurate perception of their sleep.
Several limitations of the current investigation have to be acknowledged. First, the
current sample was small and opportunistically recruited, which may affect the validity
and generalizability of the results. Second, the assessment of objective sleep parameters was
restricted to the use of actigraphy, which is less precise in comparison with polysomno-
graphy and does not allow investigation of sleep architecture variables (Marino et al.,
2013). Third, although investigating sleep using habitual bedtimes has a high ecological
validity, this method also increases the error variance of the dependent variables. Likewise,
the fact that we did not control for the effect of sexual activity on subsequent sleep (see
also Dittami et al., 2007) and that we did not assess the duration of the relationships or data
concerning the question of how frequently participants usually sleep in their own sleeping
environment or the partners sleeping environment also increased the error variance. Last,
carryover effects between conditions cannot be excluded, as the four conditions were used
on four successive nights.
In summary, the current study suggests that the social setting is a relevant factor
for sleep quantity in young heterosexual men and for sleep quality in both sexes. This
adds to our understanding of the mutual influence of romantic partners on each others
sleep quality and quantity, which is especially important in light of cross-sectional data
suggesting that sleep problems have a broad impact on partnershealth and well-being
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(Strawbridge, Shema, & Roberts, 2004). Of particular importance for male patients
with insomnia, the current results may stimulate future studies investigating whether
sleeping in pairs can be a protective factor for the development and maintenance of the
disorder under specific circumstances (e.g., absence of a partner with sleep apnea syn-
drome). Moreover, in light of these findings it should be kept in mind that partners also
have an influence on the treatment of sleep disorders, for example on treatment adherence
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... Previous studies yield inconsistent results concerning the perceived and measured effect of cosleep on couples. Our findings are in line with studies showing better subjective sleep quality and an increase in total sleep time [3,14] supporting the notion of cosleep being beneficial on a subjective and objective level. ...
... Architecture. Increased total sleep time during cosleep as detected in our study has been described previously in men [14]. As far as sleep stages are concerned, Monroe [3] reports an increase in REM sleep. ...
... Actigraphic studies show a close interdependence of couples' sleep [17], being in line with the notion of partners as social zeitgebers [18]. Also, a concordance of movements during sleep has been stated by a number of works using actigraphy [14,19,20]. However, even when employing advanced statistical analyses as presented by Meadows et al. [19] actigraphy only allows for differentiating between wakefulness and sleep. ...
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The present study aimed to explore dynamic and interactive aspects of cosleep in heterosexual couples. The sample consisted of eight young healthy adults who belonged to four heterosexual couples with a good relationship quality and a history of cosleeping. All individuals underwent simultaneous polysomnography in a sleep laboratory for four nights in which they slept individually and with their partner. Also, a sleep protocol of subjective sleep measures was completed. Statistical analyses included cross recurrence quantification analysis to assess synchronization during sleep. Cosleeping was associated with better subjective sleep quality, increased total sleep time, sleep efficiency, total slow wave sleep, and REM sleep. Sleep stages were more synchronized during cosleep independent of awakenings. Cardiorespiratory measures remained unchanged. The results indicate that young healthy couples in good relationships benefit from cosleeping on a subjective and objective level. Combining simultaneous polysomnography and cross recurrence quantification analysis is a promising method to study dynamic and interactive aspects of cosleep possibly leading to deeper understanding of the role of sleep for sociality, the nature of REM sleep, and the partner as a social zeitgeber. Moreover, clinical implications may arise from these findings.
... Conversely, a study utilizing actigraphy, sleep logs, and questionnaires found significant sex differences for total sleep time: males were found to sleep more when bed sharing, while sleep time for females did not differ when bed sharing compared to sleeping alone. 15 While males may get apparent benefits from bed sharing, female sleep may be disturbed by bed sharing with a spouse. For instance, females were reported to have less sleep fragmentation when sleeping alone compared to when bed sharing in a study that used sleep logs and actigraphy. ...
... Perhaps as a result of socially constructed sleep beliefs, subjective measures suggest that couples often perceive their sleep to be better when bed sharing. 15,19 In fact, females report that their sleep is disturbed by their partner, yet still rated their sleep as better than when they slept alone. 19 One example of the psychological benefits of bed sharing is feeling more relaxed while bed sharing than while sleeping alone. ...
Background Bed sharing is common practice across the global population. However, the vast majority of research on bed sharing has focused solely on mother-infant bed sharing. Methods Here, we provide a holistic review of research on bed sharing. Articles investigating the relationship between bed sharing and sleep were identified in 4 dyad categories: (1) parent and child, (2) couples, (3) siblings, and (4) pet owners and pets. Of interest was whether sleep-promoting factors such as psychological comfort were generalizable across bed-sharing dyads; alternatively, sleep-demoting factors such as movement or heat may be commonalities. Results We found that, across dyad types, in general, subjective reports of sleep quality were better when bed sharing despite generally worse objective measures of sleep. Conclusions Understanding bed sharing is important to treating sleep disturbances, given the prevalence of shared beds. This scoping review points to critical gaps in our understanding of bed sharing that motivate future research.
... 8 Levels of sleep/ wake concordance decrease with increasing age and relationship length. 5,8 Effects of bedsharing may also depend on sex, 6,16,17 with females demonstrating compromised objective sleep efficiency (SE) when cosleeping compared with sleeping alone, 6 and males demonstrating longer total sleep time (TST) when cosleeping. 17 Preliminary research suggests directional effects of one partner physically disrupting the other. In healthy sleepers, overnight awakenings have been documented to frequently occur soon after any body movement or wake was recorded in a bedpartner. ...
... 5,8 Effects of bedsharing may also depend on sex, 6,16,17 with females demonstrating compromised objective sleep efficiency (SE) when cosleeping compared with sleeping alone, 6 and males demonstrating longer total sleep time (TST) when cosleeping. 17 Preliminary research suggests directional effects of one partner physically disrupting the other. In healthy sleepers, overnight awakenings have been documented to frequently occur soon after any body movement or wake was recorded in a bedpartner. ...
Objectives Methods for analyzing sleep as a dyadic behavior remain relatively unexplored. We aimed to (1) characterize how bedpartners influence each other’s sleep, and (2) identify factors that predict sensitivity to wake transmission between bedpartners. Design Cross-sectional study. Setting Community members in Melbourne, Australia. Participants Fifty-five couples without sleep disorders, aged 18-72 years. Measurements Participants completed the Morningness-Eveningness Questionnaire, reduced version. Habitual sleep/wake patterns were monitored for seven nights via actigraphy and sleep diary. Epoch-by-epoch sleep/wake concordances (shared sleep/wake minutes), number of transmissions received (number of awakenings immediately preceded by bedpartner wakefulness), percent transmissions received (percentage of total awakenings that were transmissions), transmissibility (percentage of all bedpartner awakenings transmitted), and percent minutes resistant to transmission (percentage of bedpartner’s wake minutes that an individual slept), were calculated. Mixed-effects modeling assessed predictors of dyadic sleep. Results We described rates of sleep concordance (M = 66.8% ± 6.8%), wake concordance (M = 6.8% ± 3.1%), number of transmissions received (M = 6.0 ± 2.7), percent transmissions received (M = 18.9% ± 7.5%), transmissibility (M = 20.0% ± 6.2%), and percent minutes resistant (M = 52.1% ± 13.6%). Average couple-level percent transmissions received were highest and percent minutes resistant lowest in couples who had similar bedtime (within 30 minutes), compared to couples with greater differences in bedtime. Conclusions Wake transmission is a useful metric of dyadic sleep, which varies according to relative bedtimes, and chronotypes of bedpartners. Higher wake transmissions for couples with similar bedtimes suggest dyadic preferences for shared bedtimes may be due to psychosocial benefits of shared sleep timing, rather than minimization of bedpartner-driven sleep disruption.
... Couple concordance has been observed in all of these ways. For example, couples typically go to sleep and wake up at approximately the same time (Gunn et al., 2015(Gunn et al., , 2016Spiegelhalder et al., 2016). Couples also experience concordance in awakenings and movements throughout the night (Pankhurst & Horne, 1994). ...
... In the model controlling for secure attachment, there was a marginal positive association between daily sleep concordance and subjective sleep quality for women. This is consistent with previous research that subjective sleep quality is perceived to be better when sleeping in pairs (Spiegelhalder et al., 2016). Spouses often promote health in their partner by monitoring, inhibiting and/or facilitating health behaviours (Waite, 1995). ...
Despite most American adults sharing a bed with a romantic partner, sleep research has examined sleep primarily as an individual behaviour. A growing body of research indicates that couple bed sharing may have an impact on sleep quality, but the current study is the first to examine whether such associations may differ based on attachment security. A sample of 179 cohabiting heterosexual couples completed daily sleep diaries and surveys of their attachment security, avoidance and anxiety. Data were analysed using multilevel modelling. Greater attachment security and lower attachment avoidance were associated with greater subjective sleep quality. Greater sleep concordance (time in bed with partners) was associated with better subjective sleep quality for women with lower attachment security and higher attachment avoidance. Findings suggest that couple bed sharing may benefit the subjective sleep quality of women who have lower attachment security.
... One partner's well-being can suffer due to the other's disrupted sleep, even accounting for the person's own sleep quality (Strawbridge et al., 2004). In healthy couples, sleep concordance correlates with subjective (Spiegelhalder et al., 2017) and objective sleep quality (Drews et al., 2017;Troxel et al., 2010); health indicators (Gunn et al., 2017); and relationship satisfaction (Elsey et al., 2019;Hasler & Troxel, 2010). For example, co-sleeping with a partner versus sleeping alone is associated with more (and less fragmented) REM sleep (Drews et al., 2020). ...
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Touch associated with sleep (sleep-touch; reported physical contact during or shortly before/after sleep) is underexplored as a distinct contributor to affect regulatory processes associated with adult sleep. Given the affect-regulating effects of interpersonal touch, we theorized that among healthy co-sleeping adults, sleep-touch would add to sleep-related effects on affective “resetting,” resulting in the experience of calmer, more regulated states. We studied 210 married heterosexual couples (aged 20–67 years, 79% non-Hispanic white, 13% Latinx) assigned 14 days of twice-daily (morning/evening) sleep/mood diaries. Multilevel daily (within-couple) mediation analyses showed that as hypothesized, more reported sleep-touch was associated with happier/calmer and less angry/irritable morning mood. In turn, happier/calmer mood was associated with greater enjoyment of time with spouse (for both spouses). Sleep-touch also was linked directly to both evening positive spousal events and enjoyment ratings. Sleep-touch was associated indirectly with fewer negative spousal events and less spouse-related stress via less angry/irritable morning mood (both spouses). Further, wives’ sleep-touch was related to happier/calmer husband mood and evening enjoyment; husbands’ sleep-touch was unrelated to wives’ reports. All associations with sleep-touch were present while accounting for subjective sleep quality, prior evening mood, non-sleep-related physical affection, day in study, and weekend versus weekday. We speculate that among relatively healthy satisfied couples, physical touch during and surrounding sleep may add to sleep’s restorative and affect-regulatory functions, suggesting a pathway through which co-sleeping can improve affect regulation and ultimately relationships and health.
... Actigraphic studies of human couples comparing co-sleep to individual sleep report co-sleep to be either linked to more disrupted sleep patterns in both sexes (3) or in women only (4) or to be linked to increased sleep time in men (5). Actigraphic between subjects comparisons show longer total sleep time (TST), and less time awake after sleep onset for married couples compared to unmarried single controls (6). ...
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Background/Objectives: Sharing the bed with a partner is common among adults and impacts sleep quality with potential implications for mental health. However, hitherto findings are contradictory and particularly polysomnographic data on co-sleeping couples are extremely rare. The present study aimed to investigate the effects of a bed partner's presence on individual and dyadic sleep neurophysiology. Methods: Young healthy heterosexual couples underwent sleep-lab-based polysomnography of two sleeping arrangements: individual sleep and co-sleep. Individual and dyadic sleep parameters (i.e., synchronization of sleep stages) were collected. The latter were assessed using cross-recurrence quantification analysis. Additionally, subjective sleep quality, relationship characteristics, and chronotype were monitored. Data were analyzed comparing co-sleep vs. individual sleep. Interaction effects of the sleeping arrangement with gender, chronotype, or relationship characteristics were moreover tested. Results: As compared to sleeping individually, co-sleeping was associated with about 10% more REM sleep, less fragmented REM sleep (p = 0.008), longer undisturbed REM fragments (p = 0.0006), and more limb movements (p = 0.007). None of the other sleep stages was significantly altered. Social support interacted with sleeping arrangement in a way that individuals with suboptimal social support showed the biggest impact of the sleeping arrangement on REM sleep. Sleep architectures were more synchronized between partners during co-sleep (p = 0.005) even if wake phases were excluded (p = 0.022). Moreover, sleep architectures are significantly coupled across a lag of ± 5min. Depth of relationship represented an additional significant main effect regarding synchronization, reflecting a positive association between the two. Neither REM sleep nor synchronization was influenced by gender, chronotype, or other relationship characteristics. Conclusion: Depending on the sleeping arrangement, couple's sleep architecture and synchronization show alterations that are modified by relationship characteristics. We discuss that these alterations could be part of a self-enhancing feedback loop of REM sleep and sociality and a mechanism through which sociality prevents mental illness.
... zu Schlafen führte in einer Studie zu tieferem Schlaf (signifikant mehr Stadium-IV-Schlaf, weniger REM-Schlaf) (18). Die subjektive Schlafqualität jedoch ist über mehrere Untersuchungen hinweg besser bei Paarschlaf (18,19). ...
In der Literatur werden verschiedene Geschlechtsunterschiede im Chronotypus berichtet, die sich über die Lebensspanne hinweg verändern. In Beziehungen können starke Unterschiedlichkeit in der Tageszeitpräferenz sowie andere schlafbezogene Parameter weit reichende Konsequenzen, etwa für das Sexualleben, mit sich bringen, die jedoch bisher nicht ausreichend untersucht wurden.
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Purpose of Review We summarized recent findings on insufficient sleep and insomnia, two prominent sleep issues that impact public health. We demonstrate the socio-ecologial impact of sleep health with findings on gender and couples’ relationships as exemplars. Recent Findings Robust gender differences in sleep duration and insomnia are due to biological and socio-ecological factors. Gender differences in insufficient sleep vary by country of origin and age whereas gender differences in insomnia reflect minoritized identities (e.g., sexual, gender). Co-sleeping with a partner is associated with longer sleep and more awakenings. Gender differences and couples’ sleep were affected by intersecting social and societal influences, which supports a socio-ecological approach to sleep. Summary Recent and seminal contributions to sleep health highlight the importance of observing individual sleep outcomes in a socio-ecological context. Novel methodology, such as global measures of sleep health, can inform efforts to improve sleep and, ultimately, public health.
Background Anxiety and depression are commonly comorbid with sleep problems. Despite growing acknowledgement that bedpartners are important determinants of sleep quality, few studies have explored mental health as a risk factor for disrupted sleep of the bedpartner. We examined whether anxiety or depression symptoms predicted an individual's sleep or their bedpartner's sleep, in couples where one partner experienced insomnia and in couples without sleep disorders. Methods Fifty-two bed-sharing couples where one individual had insomnia (“Patient”), and 55 non-sleep-disordered couples completed the Beck Anxiety Inventory, Patient Health Questionnaire-9, and Insomnia Severity Index (ISI). Sleep was monitored for seven nights. Actor-Partner Interdependence Models assessed whether anxiety or depression symptoms predicted individual or dyadic sleep (wake transmission). Results Greater anxiety symptoms predicted increased vulnerability to being woken by their bedpartner, as well as increased frequency of waking their bedpartner up during the night in Patients with insomnia, but not in non-sleep-disordered couples. Neither anxiety nor depression symptoms predicted an individual's or their bedpartner's sleep efficiency in either subsample. However, ISI was positively predicted by own anxiety and depression symptoms for Patients with insomnia and in non-sleep-disordered couples. Limitations The non-sleep-disordered subsample experienced only mild symptoms of anxiety and depression, potentially reducing predictive power. Conclusions Anxiety may help reveal social determinants of sleep in couples experiencing insomnia. These data underscore the importance of considering sleep, the bedpartner, and affective symptoms in mental health and sleep assessments.
Background Millions of people share a bed with their partner. Sleep und relationship could possibly influence each other. Objectives To identify and discuss connections between relationship and sleep quality. Methods Review of the literature in electronic databases. Results Conflict and violence in relationships lead to decreases in both partners’ sleep quality. Constructive approaches to resolving conflicts is necessary for good sleep, and vice versa. Women prefer partners with sleep-wake rhythms matching their own and report higher relationship satisfactions when the couple’s chronotypes are compatible. Conclusions Sleep and circadian rhythms play important roles in relationships. When treating insomnia, the relationship and the partner’s sleep should be taken into account.
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Despite cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) being effective, barriers to adherence have been documented. Perceived partner alliance has been shown to influence adherence and treatment outcome across a range of other health conditions. The present study examined patients' perceptions regarding the role of their partner in CBT-I and the impact of perceived partner alliance on treatment outcome. Twenty-one patients were interviewed, following CBT-I, to examine the areas where partners were thought to influence the process of CBT-I. The majority of statements made during interviews explicitly mentioned a partner's influence (65%). Additionally, the production of more positive partner statements was associated with better treatment outcome (using the Insomnia Severity Index). The integration of perceived partner alliance into CBT-I is discussed.
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This study examines the psychometric properties of the French-version of the Partnership Questionnaire (PFB) and compares this questionnaire with the Dyadic Adjustment Scale (DAS). 225 couples, married or living together for at least 3 years, participated in this research and each partner responded individually to the PFB or to both scales. The results indicate that the structure of the PFB replicates the theoretical three-factor structure for both women and men. Moreover, the cross-language replicability of the structure was high. The correlation between the DAS and the PFB was also high (r = .79) and the three canonical correlation variates explained 58% or more of the variance of both scales. The PFB is sensitive to couple characteristics and the agreement within couples is high. The French-version of the PFB has good psychometric properties and seems well suited for measuring marital satisfaction for clinical and research purposes.
Study Objectives: To analyze relationships between spouses' sleep problems and their partners' physical health, mental health, well-being, social involvement, and marital quality in a sample of older persons. Design: The Alameda County Study is a population-based longitudinal study focusing on behavioral factors associated with health and mortality. Setting: Participants completed questionnaires for the sixth wave of data collection (1999). Participants: 405 couples (810 husbands and wives aged 51 to 94 years). Measurements and Results: Participants were asked how often they had experienced difficulty falling asleep, waking up in the middle of the night, and waking up very early in the morning over the past month. Response sets ranged from "never" to "often." Scores were summed. Analyses included multivariate statistical models using generalized estimating equations to adjust for paired data as well as partner age, sex, chronic conditions, financial problems, and own sleep problems. Although partners' associations with negative outcomes were stronger for their own sleep problems, spouses' sleep problems were associated with partners' poor health, depressed mood, poor mental health, unhappiness, low optimism, feeling left out, not satisfied with relationships, and unhappy marriage, even after adjusting for the partners' sleep problems. We found no sex differences in associations between spouses' sleep problems and partners' outcomes. Conclusions: Although data are cross-sectional, findings suggest that spouses' sleep problems negatively impact partners' health and wellbeing. Our analyses emphasize the importance of treating sleep problems to promote the health and well-being of both affected individuals and their partners.
Co-sleeping behaviour, such as sharing a sleeping site or bed, should play an important role in determining sleep structure in mammals by mitigating predation pressure and harsh abiotic conditions during sleep. Although environmental factors surrounding sleeping sites have been studied, there is very little information on the effects of the social environment within the site on sleep in animals other than humans. Here, we quantified the duration of nighttime sleep of wild primates during behavioural observations. Wild Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata yakui) form clusters at sleeping sites, where they huddle with group members. Macaques slept for longer when huddled in sleeping clusters with natal members than in those with non-natal members. A high degree of synchronisation of wakefulness in pairs of macaques huddling in non-natal clusters suggested that their sleep was often interrupted by the wakefulness of huddling members at night. Our results suggest that familiarity and closeness to huddling partners influence sleep duration.
We validated actigraphy for detecting sleep and wakefulness versus polysomnography (PSG). Actigraphy and polysomnography were simultaneously collected during sleep laboratory admissions. All studies involved 8.5 h time in bed, except for sleep restriction studies. Epochs (30-sec; n = 232,849) were characterized for sensitivity (actigraphy = sleep when PSG = sleep), specificity (actigraphy = wake when PSG = wake), and accuracy (total proportion correct); the amount of wakefulness after sleep onset (WASO) was also assessed. A generalized estimating equation (GEE) model included age, gender, insomnia diagnosis, and daytime/nighttime sleep timing factors. Controlled sleep laboratory conditions. Young and older adults, healthy or chronic primary insomniac (PI) patients, and daytime sleep of 23 night-workers (n = 77, age 35.0 ± 12.5, 30F, mean nights = 3.2). N/A. Overall, sensitivity (0.965) and accuracy (0.863) were high, whereas specificity (0.329) was low; each was only slightly modified by gender, insomnia, day/night sleep timing (magnitude of change < 0.04). Increasing age slightly reduced specificity. Mean WASO/night was 49.1 min by PSG compared to 36.8 min/night by actigraphy (β = 0.81; CI = 0.42, 1.21), unbiased when WASO < 30 min/night, and overestimated when WASO > 30 min/night. This validation quantifies strengths and weaknesses of actigraphy as a tool measuring sleep in clinical and population studies. Overall, the participant-specific accuracy is relatively high, and for most participants, above 80%. We validate this finding across multiple nights and a variety of adults across much of the young to midlife years, in both men and women, in those with and without insomnia, and in 77 participants. We conclude that actigraphy is overall a useful and valid means for estimating total sleep time and wakefulness after sleep onset in field and workplace studies, with some limitations in specificity. Marino M; Li Y; Rueschman MN; Winkelman JW; Ellenbogen JM; Solet JM; Dulin H; Berkman LF; Buxton OM. Measuring sleep: accuracy, sensitivity, and specificity of wrist actigraphy compared to polysomnography. SLEEP 2013;36(11):1747-1755.