Newswise — For many Americans, simply sharing a bed may cause or worsen their sleep problems. According to a new Harris InteractiveÂ® survey of adult Americans who share a bed with a spouse or partner most nights, approximately one in four (24%) of those surveyed reported that their partners' sleep problems interfere with their own sleep.(1) In fact, of those surveyed who indicated that they lose sleep due to their partners' sleep problems, 47% reported losing at least 3 hours of sleep per week " and 23% reported losing 5 or more hours.(1) The leading reasons for sleep loss attributed to a bedmate were snoring (34%), tossing and turning (15%), insomnia (14%), and hogging the mattress or covers (14%).(1)
"Sharing a bed with someone who has sleep problems or poor sleep habits can wreak havoc on your own sleep," said Bruce C. Corser, MD, medical director of the Sleep Management Institute in Cincinnati, Ohio. "If one person struggles to fall or stay asleep, it certainly can affect a partner's sleep patterns. It's not uncommon for bedmates to experience significant daytime sleepiness and fatigue if their mate suffers from insomnia, some other sleep disorder or simply bad sleep hygiene."
The findings of the survey, which polled 1,361 American adults who share a bed with a spouse or partner most nights, also showed that a majority of respondents (71%) reported that at least one of the sleep partners experienced symptoms of insomnia.(1) More than a quarter (28%) of Americans who share a bed most nights indicated both partners suffer from symptoms of insomnia, further underscoring the prevalence of this condition among American adults.(1) Insomnia is the No. 1 sleep disorder in the nation, affecting approximately 58% of Americans, according to a 2002 poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation.(2)
"Insomnia is a highly treatable condition that can be effectively managed with a combination of behavioral therapies and use of prescription sleep medications that can help you fall and stay asleep without next-day effects," explained Dr. Corser. "Clearly, the survey suggests that if a spouse or partner pursues medical help for insomnia or other sleep-related disorders, it will also provide much-needed relief to his or her bedmate."
Other statistics of interest uncovered by the survey include(1):* More women than men claimed that their partner's sleep problems decrease the quality and/or quantity of their own sleep (29% vs 17%, respectively). * Women aged 45 to 54 years were most affected by insomnia (47%).* 17% of respondents reported that their pet interrupts their sleep.* 13% of respondents reported sleeping better when their significant other is away or in a different bed. * 11% of respondents reported that their bedmate causes them to lose sleep by staying up late watching television, using a computer, or reading.* Only 7% reported that their partner keeps them up late for sex.
Teaming Up for Healthy Sleep For couples who don't want to compromise sleep arrangements, the following steps may help both sleep better together:
* Nix the noise. A bedmate who snores can affect your own sleep. In some cases, using earplugs or adding "white noise" (from a fan or similar humming appliance) can help.(3) Encouraging your partner to sleep on his or her side also may help alleviate the problem.(4) You should also encourage your partner to be checked for sleep apnea, a potentially serious condition sometimes associated with snoring.(5)
* Kick Leno and Letterman out of bed. If your bed partner frequently tunes into late-night programming, ask him or her to watch television in another room. Or better yet, remove the television from the bedroom. Sleep experts generally recommend reserving the bed for sleep and sex only.(6)
* Minimize midnight disruptions. If your partner gets out of bed during the night, make sure he or she sleeps closer to the door. If your partner tosses and turns, consider a larger bed, or even separate beds.(3)
* Temper the room temperature. If you are too warm or too cold, you are less likely to sleep soundly. Adjust the thermostat and your bedding, or open or close a window. If you and your partner cannot agree on room temperature, then adjust your sleep clothes.(3)
* Relocate Rover. If your sleep partner is your dog or cat, your chances for sound sleep are jeopardized. Have your pet sleep on the floor, or get your pet its own cushion and place it in another room.(3)
* Consult a doctor. If you and/or your partner have regular bouts of insomnia, the best solution is to get to the source of the problem. A doctor can help you improve your sleep hygiene or prescribe a sleep medicine such as AmbienÂ® (zolpidem tartrate) CIV.
AMBIEN is indicated for the short-term treatment of insomnia. There is a low occurrence of side effects associated with the short-term use of AMBIEN. The most commonly observed side effects in controlled clinical trials were drowsiness (2%), dizziness (1%), and diarrhea (1%). When you first start taking AMBIEN, use caution in the morning when engaging in activities requiring complete alertness until you know how you will react to this medication. In most instances, memory problems can be avoided if you take AMBIEN only when you are able to get a full night's sleep (7 to 8 hours) before you need to be active again. As with any sleep medication, do not use alcohol while you are taking AMBIEN. Prescription sleep aids are often taken for 7 to 10 days as directed by your doctor. Your doctor will advise you about taking them longer. All people taking sleep medicines have some risk of becoming dependent on the medicine.
References:1. Harris Interactive QuickQuerySM. Rochester, NY: Harris InteractiveÂ®; January 13-15, 2004.2. Epidemic of daytime sleepiness linked to increased feeling of anger, stress, and pessimism [press release]. National Sleep Foundation; April 2, 2002. Available at: http://www.sleepfoundation.org/NSAW/pk_pollresultsmood.cfm. Accessed January 7, 2004.3. Sanofi-Synthelabo Inc. Promote sleep. Available at: http://www.shuteye.com/solutions_promote.asp. Accessed January 7, 2004.4. National Sleep Foundation. Snoring, it's no laughing matter. Available at: http://www.sleepfoundation.org/features/snoring.cfm. Accessed January 27, 2004.5. National Sleep Foundation. Sleep apnea. Available at: http://www.sleepfoundation.org/publications/sleepap.cfm. Accessed January 9, 2004.6. University of Maryland Medicine. Sleep hygiene: helpful hints to help you sleep. Available at: http://www.umm.edu/sleep/sleep_hyg.html. Accessed January 8, 2004.
MethodologyHarris InteractiveÂ® fielded the study from January 13-15, 2004, via its QuickQuerySM online omnibus service, interviewing a nationwide sample of 2,343 U.S. adults (18+), of whom 1,361 share their beds with a spouse/partner most nights. In theory, with a probability sample of this size, one can say with 95 percent certainty that the results have a statistical precision of plus or minus 4 percentage points of what they would be if the entire population of adults who share their beds with a spouse/partner most nights had been polled with complete accuracy. This is not a probability sample. Data were weighted to be representative of the total U.S. adult population on the basis of region, age within gender, education, household income, and race/ethnicity.