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The Reason You're Always Tired Might Be Lying Next to You

August 29, 1994|From The Washington Post

Couples accustomed to sharing a bed sleep better when they sleep alone, a British study has found. It also discovered that the partners believed they slept better when they slept together.

The study, published in the current issue of "Sleep," the journal of the American Sleep Disorders Assn. and the Sleep Research Society, studied nighttime movements for eight consecutive nights in 46 pairs of bed partners. For comparison, researchers monitored individually the sleep of 23 partners when the other one was away, and studied the habits of 39 other people who were used to sleeping alone.

Earlier sleep studies have shown that movement in one bedmate, as well as movement by a pet that sleeps on the bed, often triggers almost immediate movement in the other.

The studies, conducted by researchers Francesca Pankhurst and James Horne of Loughborough University in Leicestershire, England, used a device called an actimeter that counted and measured the movements. They found that people whose partners were not home for one night went to bed earlier and slept longer and more peacefully.

Among other findings: Men are more restless than women, and older couples are less affected by each other's movements than younger couples.

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