Quality time is crucial to any relationship, but it doesn’t end when you drift into dreamland. From how close you lay your heads to the minutes you spend cuddling after sex, your bed-sharing behavior plays a role in how happy and healthy you two will be. Here, five study-backed ways your sleep style affects your love life. (Turns out, sleep isn’t the only factor at play either! Find out How the Pill Impacts Your Relationship.)
Cuddling post-sex improves bonding and how tight you feel with each other—especially in women, shows research from the University of Michigan. So instead of rolling over, turning out the light, and missing out on these super-fun “connecting” hormones, snuggle up to stay close (literally and figuratively) after a romp session.
The closer you sleep to your partner, the happier you are with your romantic situation, found a U.K. study earlier this year. People who went to sleep touching reported the highest rates of relationship bliss. But as the physical space between people increased, so did their relationship woes, the study found. (Important note: The study team was looking at the space between couples when they first went to bed, not during the night. If you spoon after lights out but then retreat to separate sides of the bed, that’s no reason to worry, the research suggests.) Phew.
The same U.K. study linked sleeping face to face with happier unions. But note: The authors say this is more likely a sign of a healthier couple, not a cause. Even stronger a sign of your feelings: Sleeping back to back and on opposite sides of the bed was a sign of strife, the study also found. (Plus, check out these 8 Things You Do That Could Hurt Your Relationship.)
The Break Up
Although a majority of couples sleep together, brain scans show you actually sleep lighter and are more prone to disturbances when bedding down alongside someone, according to research from Canada’s Ryerson University. A tired brain is a cranky brain, so if your spats are spurred by exhaustion, your love-fest may actually benefit from sleeping in separate beds, the study suggests.
Happy couples hit the hay at the same time, shows a study from the University of Pittsburgh. The more you and your partner’s sleep schedules match up, the happier your partnership tends to be, the study shows. (Though, again, this is likely a symptom of a healthy relationship, not a cause, the authors say.)