Time Magazine reviews the many myths around sleep, sex and relationships.
Myth 1: Separate beds are a sign of a bad marriage. This myth is so common, it even comes with a super judge-y name, “sleep divorce,” that perpetuates the idea that sleeping apart means your relationship is on the rocks. While sleeping together offers comfort and connection for some, for others it’s a source of frustration and contempt. Ultimately, the quality of your relationship depends more on how you come to decisions as a couple, and how well you both are sleeping, than your sleeping arrangement itself. Couples, like Elyse and Larry, that make conscious and collaborative decisions about their sleeping arrangements, whether together or apart, are perfectly capable of maintaining intimacy and highly satisfying relationships.
Myth 2. Men are just better sleepers. Elyse and millions of other wives who suffer awake next to their snoring husband might be forgiven for assuming their husbands are better sleepers. The data doesn’t hold this one up. Truth is, men and women sleep differently. Women experience insomnia at double the rates that men do. At the same time, when women do sleep, they tend to get more deep sleep and more overall sleep than men. Men, on the other hand, are more likely to have sleep apnea than women. The constant stopping and starting of breathing that comes with sleep apnea delivers a less than restful sleep in the end and can lead to a host of potential health consequences, which is yet another reason to see doctor if you suspect you or your partner might have the condition. Although men more often get the blame, both men and women snore, and both men and women can have sleep apnea, but women are diagnosed at a much lower rate than men.
Myth 3: Sex is good for sleep. There might be some truth to this myth, as there are key biological changes that occur during orgasm (particularly when achieved with another person) that might enhance sleep, including the release of relaxation-promoting hormones, such as oxytocin. But great sex isn’t going to make it any easier to not hear your partner’s snoring. It’s also not going to make it easier to go to sleep way before your natural biological clock, or circadian rhythm, says it’s time. Sex is good for other things but using it to bring on sleep is questionable at best.