Here's Why Couples Shouldn't Be Sleeping In Bed Together

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If you've ever watched the show I Love Lucy "“ either deliberately or by accident, then you might recall there being a decade known as the 1950s. And as the sitcom would have us believe, this was a golden age of American society when married men and women like Lucy and Ricky slept in separate beds far enough apart you could drive a locomotive between them. 

When watching re-runs of the show, I always found this domestic custom a bit odd: Do Lucy and Ricky not like each other very much? How did they manage to get jiggy with it considering the tight parameters of their beds? Did they push them together, or did they meet halfway? It just didn't make any sense. 

It turns out that because of strict censorship laws at the time, TV programs weren't allowed to portray married couples in the same bed. However, whether they knew it or not, they may have gotten the whole bedroom arrangement thing right. But not on account of conservative tradition or no-sex-during-marriage-unless-you're-making-a-baby notion, but because of science.

 
Guarantee You They Aren't Happy Like Dezi and Lucy Were, Scott Barbour / Getty Images


Because in the past few years alone, studies upon studies have come down the pike warning against the very real perils of co-sleeping. According to the top ranking sleep expert Dr. Neil Shanley, "couples suffered more than 50 percent more sleep disturbances if they shared a bed." And sleep disturbances are the number one cause of lack of sleep. 

Romantic partners, who are usually different people, have different sleeping habits that can often conflict. One might watch TV through the night, the other need more covers than is humanly necessary; one rolls around while the other plays John Phillip Sousa on the nose horn into morning. All these and more can sabotage sleep.

And sleep is very important, contrary to the old saying, "If you snooze, you lose." Rather, it should be "If you don't snooze, you might lose your life to early onset death," because lack of sleep can lead to obesity, diabetes, colon cancer, and a decrease in testosterone. Want of sleep can also make you go insane. Literally. You might literally go clinically insane if you do not get 8 hours of sleep a night. 

So you can see why sleep scientists are recommending couples try getting shuteye in their own beds, or even in separate bedrooms. Experiments and testimonials both suggest that the I Love Lucy model is beneficial to both (if not more) parties involved. Swingers, I'm leering at you.

 
If Sleeping with One Person Is Tough, Imagine Doing It With Five, Lisa Maree Williams / Getty


And yet, compelling evidence in favor of co-sleeping is slowly emerging from out the laboratorial boudoir. It is hypothesized that sleeping in the same bed with someone you love "“ or at least don't want to destroy "“ can: 
  • Reduce the level of cortisol, the stress hormone, in the brain. 
  • Cut back the instance of cytokines, which are involved in inflammation. 
  • Boost the production of oxytocin, the body's love drug. 
Sleeping in the same bed together might help reaffirm a couple's intimacy, one of the leading determinants of relationship success. Knowing that your loved one's running nose and halitosis-infested mouth are but inches away from your face can bestow a sense of comfort as you drift into slumber. 

There is also this idea that after making love, partners, rather than treating each other like hookers, stay locked in grateful embrace. It might be hard to snuggle when the big and little spoons are in opposite sides of the house "“ that is, unless that big spoon is really, really big. 

Ultimately, the decision to sleep in one or two beds or bedrooms is between you and your partner. I do not want to get in the middle of it, even if you invited me to. There is merit to both arguments, which makes arriving at a decision even more difficult. 

And yet, in spite of the evidence against sharing a bed, I can't imagine living under the same roof with my partner while sleeping without them. But perhaps when I get to that age when I finally move in and settle down, I'll be so freaking rich I can just cuddle with a human-sized pile of my money.
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