When you were young and single, sleep was simple. You lay down — or passed out — when it was dark, and woke up when it was light. But now that you’re sharing a bed with a spouse and your alarm clock wears diapers, sleeping is not so simple. In a recent New York Times article, experts have found that by trying to put your relationship on a sleep routine, you may be doing more harm than good.
“Sleep concordance” is the fancy word for the science behind two people sleeping together (the dream kind, not the sexy kind), and it’s an area of research that doesn’t get much attention. Couples often think they have to go to bed at the same time as their partner, but science has concluded “you do you.” The reason being, everyone has their own genetically-driven, internal body clock that tells you when it’s bed time. Trying to change your circadian rhythm isn’t just a crime against nature (more like a misdemeanor against nature), but it may breed resentment in your partner and kill you slowly. Nighty-night!
Researcher Till Roenneberg told NYT that couples should accept sleep differences as a biology thing and ditch the “insecurity” that makes you think you have to catch Z’s together. First, it’s been proven that people sleep better alone. Second, you’re sleeping, so you’re not exactly missing quality relationship-building time.
Credit: Nick Page
Psychologist Heather Gunn says mismatched schedules make couples better problem solvers, so find a different waking hour to connect with your spouse. You can use that time to split up baby care duties, hang out with fellow night owls (or morning people), or catch up on Downton Abbey. Conversely a recent study found that it might be beneficial for those in unhappy relationships to go to bed at the same time. Or, just stare at the ceiling and wonder where it all went wrong.
[H/T]: New York Times