Couples may get health benefits simply from sleeping in the same bed, a burgeoning field of study is showing. In fact, some scientists believe that sleeping with a partner may be a major reason why people with close relationships tend to be in better health and live longer.
While the science is in the early stages, one hypothesis suggests that by promoting feelings of safety and security, shared sleep in healthy relationships may lower levels of cortisol, a stress hormone.
Sharing a bed may also reduce cytokines, involved in inflammation, and boost oxytocin, the so-called love hormone that is known to ease anxiety and is produced in the same part of the brain responsible for the sleep-wake cycle.
So even though sharing a bed may make people move more, "the psychological benefits we get having closeness at night trump the objective costs of sleeping with a partner," Dr. Troxel says.
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