Sharing Your Bed May Be Bad for Your Health

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Couples should
consider sleeping apart for the good of their health and relationship,
say experts.

One study found
that, on average, couples suffered 50 percent more sleep disturbances
if they shared a bed.

The modern
tradition of the marital bed only began with the industrial revolution,
when people moving to overcrowded towns and cities found themselves
short of living space. Before the Victorian era it was not uncommon
for married couples to sleep apart.


News January 26, 2010

Dr. Mercola’s

It should
come as no surprise that sleeping alone can improve the quality
of your rest.

Ever wonder
why children with their own bedrooms seem to sleep so well through
the night, while their parents sharing a bed down the hall tend
to toss and turn and have trouble falling or staying asleep?

There are
many reasons for sleep differences between children and adults,
of course, but the benefit of sleeping in a bed and bedroom alone
is certainly one of them.

Movement in
or on your bed not made by you has the potential to disturb your
sleep. So do light,
noise, electromagnetic
, and any number of other disruptive influences in your

Why Good
Sleep is So Important

The amount
and quality of your sleep isn’t something to be taken lightly.
Many people give sleep too little priority on the list of things
they do to be healthy.

The consequences
of a chronic lack of rest are much more serious and far-reaching
than the vague feeling of fatigue you experience on and off during
the day.

Sleep is just
as important to your overall health and longevity as good
, sufficient exercise
and the ability to manage your emotions and the stress of daily

poor quality sleep can undermine all your other efforts to lead
a healthy lifestyle. Lack of sleep can set the stage for some very
serious illnesses, including:

Changes in
your brain activity similar to those experienced by people with
psychiatric disorders

Do You or
Your Partner Have Insomnia?

The average
night’s sleep lasts under seven hours according to a 2008 poll by
the National Sleep Foundation (NSF).

The NSF recommends
seven to nine hours of sleep each night as a guideline, which you
should then tailor to meet your individual sleep requirements.

Despite these
recommendations, up to 40 percent of adults report symptoms of insomnia
that make it difficult for them to fall asleep and stay asleep.

whether chronic or occasional, is defined as:

  1. Difficulty
    falling asleep
  2. Waking
    frequently during the night
  3. Waking
    too early in the morning and not being able to get back to sleep
  4. Waking
    feeling un-refreshed

Insomnia affects
your hormone levels, accelerates aging, and increases your risk
for serious disease.

The top underlying
causes of sleep disorders include:

  • Stress:
    All types of negative emotions, including worry, fear, anxiety,
    etc., can keep you up at night. Stress tops the list when it comes
    to pinning down the cause of insomnia and other sleep disturbances.
  • Overactive
    : Increased
    levels of stress hormones
    in your body can lead to a hyper-aroused
    state that makes it difficult to sleep.
  • Eye
    : People with damage
    to their optic nerve
    can have problems sleeping, including
    difficulty falling asleep, waking up at strange times, sleepiness
    during the day and insomnia at night.
  • EMF
    : Using
    a cell phone before going to bed
    could cause insomnia, headaches
    and confusion, and may also cut your amount of deep sleep, interfering
    with your body‘s ability to refresh itself. Additionally
    you may have an improperly wired bedroom with unshielded wires
    or you might have a point source of high EMFs such as a refrigerator
    on the other side of your bedroom wall. Magnetic fields are not
    blocked by walls and it will go right through them.

If either
you or your partner suffer from insomnia and share a bedroom, neither
of you is getting the high quality sleep you need for good health.

Could Separate
Bedrooms Be the Answer?

Many couples
object strenuously to sleeping apart. In fact, less than 10 percent
of partners in their 40’s and 50’s surveyed for the British
study had separate bedrooms.

However, if
you and your partner aren’t sleeping well together and you’re
willing to try an alternative arrangement, I strongly recommend
experimenting with separate sleeping quarters.

You may discover
your own bedroom is exactly what you need for proper sleep, especially
if your partner snores,
hogs the covers, moves around or gets up frequently during the night.

The sacrifice
you make by parting ways at bedtime could potentially mean the difference
between good and poor health for both of you. I’m sure many
couples, given an informed choice, would gladly trade sleeping in
the same bed for robust good health and vitality into their golden
years together.

Top Tips
for Getting a Good Night’s Sleep

If you and
your partner are not prepared to sleep separately, there are still
plenty of things you can do to improve the quality of your rest.

  • Exercise
    regularly. A Stanford University Medical School study found that
    after 16 weeks in a moderate-intensity exercise program, subjects
    were able to fall asleep about 15 minutes earlier and sleep about
    45 minutes longer at night. However, don’t exercise too close
    to bedtime or it may keep you awake.
  • Address
    the emotional component of insomnia by using the Emotional
    Freedom Technique (EFT)
    . EFT can help balance your body’s
    bioenergy system and resolve some of the emotional stresses that
    are contributing to your insomnia at a very deep level. The results
    are typically long lasting and the improvement is remarkably rapid.
  • Make sure
    your sleeping environment is comfortable and conducive to sleep.
    This includes keeping the temperature cool, adding in some white
    noise if you need it and making sure your room is pitch-black.
    If there is even the tiniest bit of light in the room it can disrupt
    your circadian rhythm and your pineal gland’s production of melatonin
    and serotonin. For this reason, I highly recommend adding room
    darkening drapes to your bedroom, or if this is not possible wearing
    an eye mask to block out any stray light.
  • Get to
    bed as early as possible. Our systems, particularly the adrenals,
    do a majority of their recharging or recovering during the hours
    of 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. In addition, your gallbladder dumps toxins
    during this same period. If you are awake, the toxins back up
    into your liver, which then secondarily backs up into your entire
    system and causes further disruption of your health.
  • Eat a high-protein
    snack several hours before bed. This can provide the L-tryptophan
    need to produce melatonin and serotonin. Avoid before-bed snacks,
    particularly grains and sugars. This will raise blood sugar and
    inhibit sleep. Later, when blood sugar drops too low (hypoglycemia),
    you might wake up and not be able to fall back asleep.
  • No TV right
    before bed. In fact, get the TV out of your bedroom. It is too
    stimulating to your brain and it will take longer to fall asleep.
    It also disrupts the circadian rhythm of your pineal gland and
    production of melatonin and serotonin.

For more ideas
to resolve insomnia and other sleep issues, read my 33
Secrets to a Good Night’s Sleep

It is very
important to value sleep as one of your most precious resources
for health and happiness. If you do that, you can then figure out
what you need to sleep really well.


18, 2010

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