Almost Half Of Americans Want The Bed To Themselves

A new survey says that many American adults would rather sleep alone. The survey, which was conducted by OnePoll in conjunction with bedding company Slumber Cloud, found that nearly half of respondents had a difficult time sleeping with a partner.

They named snoring, overheating, and hogging the bedding as some of the major issues. In addition, the majority of people say they sacrifice their own sleep quality for their partner’s comfort.

We spoke with Dr. Wendy M. Troxel, professor of psychiatry and psychology at the University of Pittsburgh, about the struggles and benefits associated with co-sleeping. She has performed many studies regarding the ways relationships and sleep affect one another and has found that “couples who are more in sync as they sleep together have higher quality relationships.”

[Editor’s Note: The information provided should not be considered a substitute for professional advice. Please consult a sleep doctor or other medical expert if questions related to one’s own health come up.]

The Survey’s Findings

Two thousand Americans who sleep with a partner responded to the poll. Out of this group, 47 percent said they would prefer to sleep without their partner and 19 percent of respondents said they blamed their partner for their poor sleep.

RELATED: Sleep Divorce in the USA

A woman can't sleep as her partner snores.wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock

When they were asked about specific causes of sleep disturbance, here’s what the survey found:

  • Half of those surveyed said their partner’s snoring disturbs them at night.
  • Thirty-seven percent said they overheat when they sleep together.
  • Thirty-two percent said it involves a fight for sheets and bedding.
  • Twenty-two percent of male respondents said their significant other’s hair gets in their face.

At the same time, 3 out of 4 respondents said they sacrifice their own sleep for the sake of their partner, and 57 percent said they had recently snuck out of bed to get a good night’s sleep.

The Connection Between Sleep And Relationships

Troxel told Mattress Clarity that couples struggling to sleep together should consider serious sleep conditions first. If there is snoring, for example, it could be a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea; it’s important to consult a medical professional about this issue.

Once medical conditions have been ruled out, there are some potential solutions for common co-sleeping problems. If the issue is run-of-the-mill snoring, Troxel says earplugs could be a possible fix. If bedding is a constant battle, separate sheets for each partner with a comforter overlay could help keep that “unified marital bed look.”

Couples might also consider customizing their mattress to address specific issues. For example, they might invest in a softer mattress to minimize motion transfer or purchase a mattress that reduces the chances of sleeping hot (even with two bodies in the bed). See our list of best mattresses for couples for recommendations.

However, Troxel says that each couple’s situation is unique. “I try not to be prescriptive for any couple because couples find all sorts of unique strategies that work for them,” she says. “It’s really about prioritizing their needs and maintaining intimacy and closeness and open communication.”

A couple sleeps together.Mladen Zivkovic/Shutterstock 

While the survey indicated that many couples sacrificed their own sleep for their partner’s comfort, Troxel says it is less about giving up one’s own needs and more about finding a “common ground” with one’s partner.

When this common ground can’t be found, sleeping apart may actually be the best option for couples. Troxel says this can, in some cases, improve a relationship. “I’ve seen that with clients too that when things have gotten so bad and neither one of them is sleeping, they choose in a healthy and communicative way to sleep apart, [and] their closeness increases,” Troxel says. “If you’re primarily blaming it on your partner, that does not bode well for the relationship. There are times when sleeping apart can actually benefit the relationship.”

Looking at the findings of this survey, Troxel says it is important to remember what the bedroom means for a couple. It is not just about sleep, but the togetherness found before and after sleep.

“For many couples, the bedroom is sort of a haven for closeness and intimacy, not just sex, but time together,” she explains. “It’s the time when, ideally, you’re away from the rest of the distractions of your family, your work commitments, and then you actually get to have some one-on-one time together, which we know is so critical for relationships.”

[Editor’s Note: The information provided should not be considered a substitute for professional advice. Please consult a sleep doctor or other medical expert if questions related to one’s own health come up.]

Featured image: Virojt Changyencham/Shutterstock

Marten Carlson

Marten Carlson

Marten is the Lead Reviewer at Mattress Clarity. He is a Certified Sleep Science Coach and covers the mattress industry as well as sleep science news. He is specifically interested in the connection between sleep and overall health. Marten has written for media publications like Consequence of Sound and received a master’s degree in Film Studies from Emory University. He comes from Franklin, Indiana, and spends all the time he can writing, directing, and acting in films.