To sleep, perchance to dream....said William Shakespeare.
But perchance not, for couples who sleep together - particularly men.
A study from the University of Vienna recently announced the results of a sleep study involving 8 couples in their 20s, who lived together but had no children. Each couple spent 10 nights sleeping in the same bed, and 10 nights sleeping separately. They had to fill out detailed questionnaires about the quality of their sleep, if they could recall their dreams, take part in tests, and indicate how they felt the next day.
Men fared particularly badly! There was no difference if they had sex the night before - the next day they felt more tired and their stress levels were raised. They all said they felt better and preferred to sleep with their partners but their results said otherwise, with increased stress and faring badly in cognitive testing.
Women slept more deeply than men (thus feeling better the next day) and fared better in the testing but still said they felt better after the nights they slept alone.
Interestingly, women remembered their dreams better after sleeping alone and men remembered them better after having sex.
Dr Neil Stanley, of the the University of Surrey, added that ""It's not surprising that people are disturbed by sleeping together.
Historically, we have never been meant to sleep in the same bed as each other. It is a bizarre thing to do.
Sleep is the most selfish thing you can do and it's vital for good physical and mental health.
Sharing the bed space with someone who is making noises and who you have to fight with for the duvet is not sensible.
If you are happy sleeping together that's great, but if not there is no shame in separate beds."
Researchers also concede that the opposite can happen. Couples can get so used to sleeping together that separation can cause stress and lack of sleep.
Do you think you'd sleep better alone? Would you be prepared to separate at night to ensure you sleep better or do you think that would affect your relationship with your partner?