Those sleeping with a partner also fell asleep faster, stayed asleep longer after falling asleep, and had less risk of sleep apnea. However, those who slept with their child most nights reported greater insomnia severity, greater sleep apnea risk, and less control over their sleep.
Researchers also found that sleeping with a partner was associated with lower depression, anxiety, and stress scores, and greater social support and satisfaction with life and relationships. Sleeping with children was associated with more stress. Sleeping alone was associated with higher depression scores, lower social support, and worse life and relationship satisfaction.
"Sleeping with a romantic partner or spouse shows to have great benefits on sleep health including reduced sleep apnea risk, sleep insomnia severity, and overall improvement in sleep quality,” said lead author Brandon Fuentes, undergraduate researcher in the department of psychiatry at the University of Arizona.
The study involved an analysis of data collected in the Sleep and Healthy Activity, Diet, Environment, and Socialization (SHADES) study of 1,007 working-age adults from southeastern Pennsylvania.
Bed-sharing was evaluated with surveys, and sleep health factors were assessed with common tools such as the Epworth Sleepiness Scale, Insomnia Severity Index, and STOP-BANG apnea score.
"Very few research studies explore this, but our findings suggest that whether we sleep alone or with a partner, family member, or pet may impact our sleep health," said senior study author Dr Michael Grandner, director of the Sleep and Health Research Program at the University of Arizona. "We were very surprised to find out just how important this could be,” Grander added.