Sleeping Together Hurting Men's Brain Power
> 7/21/2006 10:11:13 AM

It may be a sad sitcom plot retread, but the old trope of men complaining about having to snuggle may actually hold some water. According to researchers in Austria, whose findings were published in the most recent edition of New Scientist, men and women both suffered from some reduced mental ability the day after sharing a bed with a partner when compared to sleeping alone. Interestingly, men's stress and hormone levels suffered to a greater extent then did women's. Men also fared significantly worse on an aptitude test given the morning after, while women saw little to no drop off in their performance.

The researchers hypothesize that the diminishment in mental performance exhibited by men relates to their relative increased sleep disturbance in comparison to their female counterparts. The BBC also picked up this story, explaining:

Both sexes had a more disturbed night's sleep when they shared their bed, Professor Kloesch told a meeting of the Forum of European Neuroscience.

But women apparently managed to sleep more deeply when they did eventually drop off, since they claimed to be more refreshed than their sleep time suggested.

Their stress hormone levels and mental scores did not suffer to the same extent as the men.

This study used a small sample size, and while there are some interesting points to note, there will need to be follow up research to solidify the results. These researchers also note that there is no shame to sharing separate beds. This may be true, but the fact remains that many monogamous couples bond in their bed space (and we don't refer here to sex, although that is an important aspect of couple bonding). To remove the shared sleeping experience isn't to say that the relationship will suffer necessarily, but there is an intimacy to sleeping together that would be hard to duplicate in other ways.

Hat tip, Mind Hacks.

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