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.