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David Perry

Couples face obstacles to getting better sleep

ALEXANDRIA, Va. - Many U.S. couples face a variety of sleep issues, according to a survey done recently by the Better Sleep Council.
     The bedding's industry's education arm found that about one in four U.S. couples get a better night of sleep when the partners sleep alone.
     "Most people would agree that a lack of sleep can cause grumpiness and irritability, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention went so far as to declare insufficient sleep ‘a public health epidemic,'" said Karin Mahoney, director of communications for the Better Sleep Council. "That's a powerful statement, and one we felt was worth examining further. Our survey clearly demonstrates that couples often face obstacles to getting better sleep, and that can add stress to the relationship."
     BSC officials said the survey results demonstrate the importance of couples working together to create a healthy sleep environment by selecting the quality and type of bedding they need to achieve a restful night's sleep.
     The survey shows that couples have different views on what makes for a comfortable night of sleep. For example, while 13% say they "spoon" or cuddle close the whole night through, most couples - 63% - prefer to sleep without touching their partner. Almost one in 10 couples report sleeping in a different room.
     "We know how important sleep is to health and happiness, and studies show having a lifelong partner can provide some of these same benefits," said Lissa Coffey, a lifestyle and relationship expert who works with the BSC. "It's interesting to examine the two issues together and see how they might be working against one another. Couples seeking healthier, happier lives and relationships often need to consider how they can improve how they sleep together."
     Disagreements over temperature top the list of partners' complaints, with tossing and turning and snoring rounding out the top three. In addition, 28% of respondents point to the quality, age or firmness of their mattress as an obstacle to getting a good night's sleep with their partner, officials said.
     "The importance of bedroom atmosphere, sleep habits and mattress preference become a little more complicated when two people are involved," said Mahoney. "Agreeing on bedtime, bed coverings or even bed size and mattress type needs to be a two-person decision, if both are going to sleep comfortably every night."
     Other key survey findings:
     ► Men claim to have less trouble sleeping than women.
    ► Couples 55 years and older are the least likely to cuddle and spoon and the most likely to sleep in separate bedrooms.
     ► 18% of respondents said that their dream home has separate bedrooms.
     "Being close to the one you love can foster health and happiness, but not if it affects your sleep," said Coffey. "The key for couples? Work together to create a healthy sleep environment that meets both of your needs."

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