Unisom study: There’s a “Great Sleep Divide” between couples

Nearly half of couples living together feel envious or jealous of their partner because of their differing sleep behavior, per a Unisom study.
Sandra Levy
Senior Editor
Levy

With daylight savings around the corner, a survey by sleep-aid brand, Unisom, shows that there is a Great Sleep Divide, and it is common in many couples.

In fact, according to the survey, nearly half of couples living together feel envious or jealous of their partner because of their differing sleep behaviors.

What's more, the survey found that  72% of adults harboring negative feelings say their partner is getting 7 hours or more of sleep per weeknight, while only 45% say they are getting that much sleep. 

Additionally, of adults harboring negative feelings towards their partner, only 43% are satisfied with their current sleeping situation, and most (89%) want to improve their sleep quality.

[Read more: Seeking more than sleep]

Here are more key findings:

  •  When looking at couples experiencing negative feelings towards their partner, more than half say they have different sleep schedules which has caused a tension/divide in a third of their relationships.
  • The difference in sleep schedules leads nearly half of these couples to have feelings of frustration, irritation, a lack of intimacy and more than a third to lack of emotional connection or even sleeping separately.
  •  When told sleeping helps you think more clearly, have quicker reflexes, and focus better and can also strengthen your relationship, nearly half were interested in finding solutions that could help improve their sleep.
  •  About 2 in 3 adults are harboring negative feelings towards their partner are looking for new remedies to help them fall and stay asleep.

[Read more: Products to Watch: HRG’s top 5 selections from March 2022]

Findings among all couples:

  • The majority of adults find it important to get 7 hours of sleep per night. Yet among most couples this is not a reality as one partner is getting more sleep than the other.
  •  Two-thirds of adults say their partner is getting 7 hours or more of sleep per weeknight while only half say they are getting that much sleep.
  • Among those not sleeping at least 7 hours, the top reasons are stress, anxiety and aches and pains.
  • There is room for improvement when it comes to couples sleeping situations, as they are not satisfied.
  •  Only half of adults in relationships are satisfied with their current sleeping situation.
  •  Only 30% of adults rate their quality of sleep as ‘excellent’ or ‘great.’
  •  Younger generations (37% of Gen Z and 36% of Millennials) rate their quality of sleep significantly higher than older generations (27% for Gen X and Boomers, 17% for Silent).
  •  Half of couples say they have trouble sleeping at night, especially females, and are concerned they do not get enough sleep on a weekly basis.
  • Most couples are sleeping in the same bed every night, but nearly half say they have different sleep schedules or regimens.
  •  1 out of 4 couples who have a different sleep schedule/regimen say it has caused a tension or divide in their relationship.
  •  The difference in sleep schedule leads almost half of couples to have feelings of frustration.
  •  A third of couples have had arguments about the sleep divide – or have been jealous that their partner can fall asleep so easily.
  •  A quarter of adults in relationships prefer to sleep without their partner because they have better quality sleep.

When it comes to sleeping preferences, couples are bantering about a variety of things.

  • Nearly half banter about the temperature of the room and who’s hogging the covers/blanket.
  •  A third (32%) banter about the amount of space each person takes up in the bed.
  •  Two fifths say their partner’s most annoying sleeping habit is their snoring. 
  • The majority of couples (85%) are using a solution to help them fall asleep at night but are still having trouble getting quality sleep.
  • Over a third are watching TV to help them fall asleep while a fifth are reading or showering/bathing.
  •  17% are taking melatonin as a sleeping aid while a tenth is using an OTC sleeping aid.
  • More than half of couples are interesting in learning on how they can improve their sleep.
  •  When told sleeping helps you think more clearly, have quicker reflexes, and focus better and can also strengthen your relationship, more than half were interested in finding solutions that could help improve their sleep or interested in knowing more. 
  • Especially Millennials (63%) and Gen X (62%) adults.
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