ALEXANDRIA, Virginia - November 13, 2012 - A recent survey conducted by the Better Sleep Council to learn about couples' sleep habits and problems shows that 26 percent of U.S. couples get a better night's sleep when they're alone in bed versus sleeping with their partner.
"Most people would agree that a lack of sleep can cause grumpiness and irritability, but The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention went so far as to declare insufficient sleep 'a public health epidemic,'" said Karin Mahoney, director of communications, the Better Sleep Council. "That's a powerful statement, and one we felt was worth examining further. Our survey clearly demonstrates that couples often face obstacles to getting better sleep, and that can add stress to the relationship."
The survey results (and accompanying infographic) demonstrate the importance of couples working together to create a healthy sleep environment by selecting the quality and type of bedding they need to achieve a restful night's sleep. For example, the survey shows cuddling close brings comfort for some – 13 percent say they "spoon" or cuddle close the whole night through - while a large majority (63 percent) prefer to sleep without touching their partner, and almost one in 10 report sleeping in a different room.
"We know how important sleep is to health and happiness, and studies show having a lifelong partner can provide some of these same benefits," said Lissa Coffey, lifestyle and relationship expert. "It's interesting to examine the two issues together and see how they might be working against one another. Couples seeking healthier, happier lives and relationships often need to consider how they can improve how they sleep together."
So what are couples' issues in the bedroom? Disagreements over temperature (i.e., one likes it warm, one likes it cool) top the list of partners' complaints, with tossing/turning and snoring rounding out the top three. In addition, 28 percent of respondents point to the quality, age or firmness of their mattress as an obstacle to getting a good night's sleep with their partner.
"The importance of bedroom atmosphere, sleep habits and mattress preference become a little more complicated when two people are involved," said Mahoney. "Agreeing on bedtime, bed coverings or even bed size and mattress type needs to be a two-person decision, if both are going to sleep comfortably every night."
While 85 percent of respondents report that they have problems sleeping at night, men claim to have less trouble sleeping than women. And it seems that as people age, they tend to sleep apart more, with couples 55 years and older being the least likely to cuddle and spoon and the most likely to sleep in separate bedrooms.
Does this mean that the American couple dreams of sleeping apart? Not exactly. Only 18 percent of respondents said that their dream home has separate bedrooms.
"Being close to the one you love can foster health and happiness, but not if it affects your sleep," said Coffey. "The key for couples? Work together to create a healthy sleep environment that meets both of your needs."
For more survey results and tips for developing healthy sleeping habits, visit BetterSleep.org and check out the Better Sleep Council infographic on couples sleep issues.
About the BSC
The Better Sleep Council is the consumer education arm of the International Sleep Products Association, the trade association for the mattress industry. With a quarter of a century invested in improving America’s quality of sleep, the BSC educates consumers on the critical link between sleep and health, as well as the role of the sleep environment, primarily through an informative consumer website www.bettersleep.org, partner support and proactive consumer media outreach.