While there are many benefits of being happily coupled, when it comes to the most important bedroom activity, the advantage goes to singles.
That’s right. A new analysis by SleepBetter.org and Carpenter Co. of data from the CDC’s annual Behavioral Risk Factors Surveillance System telephone survey found that couples, whether married or unmarried, report getting fewer nights of good sleep than singles or those who have been previously married.
There are any number of reasons why couples report worse sleep, says Lisa Shives M.D., a sleep expert for SleepBetter.org in practice in Evanston, Ill., from snoring to kicking to “people wanting radically different sleep environments.” Some might want pets or children to share the bed, while others want to sleep with the TV on, and, before you know it, your marriage is hurt by sleep deprivation, she says. In fact, January research found that poor sleep makes for more selfish, less grateful partners.
In the new survey, couples reported getting 8.2 nights each month of sufficient slumber on average, while singles got 8.7 and separated, divorced or widowed people reported 8.6 nights of good sleep.
Aside from asking a snoring bed partner to turn on her side or a TV-watcher to click off the tube, Shives suggests couples explore their options for better sleep, like buying a bigger bed or sleeping in separate bedrooms. “I tell people that 100 years ago, only peasants slept together. There’s no absolute in relationships. It’s a socio-historical phenomenon that we think [sharing a bed] is how marriage should be,” she says.
Separate bedrooms may not be for everyone, but there’s one thing that’s for sure: Snoring should not be ignored. "It should be seen as a sign of a medical problem until proven otherwise," says Shives, and can carry with it serious health risks even if it’s nothing more than sawing logs.
In the survey, the country's biggest cities were ranked by residents' resposes to the question, "During the past 30 days, for about how many days have you felt you did not get enough rest or sleep?" In the slideshow below, you'll find the top 10 sleepiest cities for couples. Click over to SleepBetter.org for the full list.
In Nashville, couples get 6.51 nights of adequate sleep a month. Nashville's singles were also sleepiest nationwide, reporting just 6.35 nights of adequate sleep a month.
2. San Antonio
Couples reported 6.58 nights of adequate sleep a month in San Antonio.
3. San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose
Couples in the San Francisco area reported 6.88 nights of adequate sleep per month.
4. West Palm Beach-Ft. Pierce
In West Palm Beach, couples get 7.24 nights of adequate sleep a month. The area is the second sleepiest for singles, who report just 6.42 nights of adequate sleep a month.
5. Los Angeles
Couples get 7.32 nights of adequate sleep a month in Los Angeles. L.A. ranked third for singles, who get just 6.82 nights of adequate sleep a month.
6. San Diego
In San Diego, couples get 7.35 nights of adequate sleep a month. San Diego ranked fourth for sleepy singles, with an average of only 6.88 nights of adequate sleep.
Couples in this South Carolina metro area get 7.37 nights of adequate sleep a month.
8. Miami-Ft. Lauderdale
These Floridian couples report 7.41 nights of adequate sleep a month.
Couples in this Pennsylvania district get 7.47 nights of adequate sleep per month.
Baltimore couples report getting 7.52 nights of adequate sleep a month.
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