Couples who share a bed may reap health benefits
14th June 2012
In recent times it has not been uncommon for many couples to insist on sleeping apart and in separate rooms. Issues such as snoring, sweating, wind and even fighting over the sheets can lead to one half of a couple deciding enough is enough and sleeping in the spare room. However, if you are in a relationship with one of these problems and are considering leaving your partner to sleep alone, stop! According to experts in America, there could be major health benefits sharing a bed with your long-term partner. Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh claim that sleeping with somebody by your side, can decrease the stress hormone cortisol. They believe this could be related to feelings of safety and security elevated due to someone being next to you.  A high cortisol level is often attributed to prolonged stress. Occasional increase in the level of cortisol may not be too dangerous. However, a prolonged case of high cortisol release can then result in too much ‘cytokines’ being emitted. These are proteins can cause inflammation that can bring on heart disease, depression, and have detrimental effects on the immune functions, fertility, and eventually, lead to the condition known as Cushing's syndrome. Lead researcher Wendy Troxel spoke about how a couple sleeping together may help to decrease these damaging proteins, “Sleep is a critically important health behaviour that we know is associated with heart disease and psychiatric wellbeing. There is extensive literature showing that married people — happily married people, in particular — live longer, happier, and healthier lives than their unmarried or unhappily married counterparts. We also know sleep is critically important for health and wellbeing, and it happens to be a behaviour couples engage in together, so it stands to reason it may be an important link with their health.” However, there are even more reasons for partners to continue to share a bed. Some experts say that this will increase levels of the ‘love hormone’ oxytocin and many people have previously assumed that this is only released during sex. Dr David Hamilton is a scientist who has released a book titled ‘Why Kindness Is Good For You’, and he has studied in great depth that the role oxytocin plays in the body. He says, “Sleeping together will increase oxytocin levels, providing you are happy in the relationship. Making love is one of the most reliable ways to produce oxytocin, as is going to sleep embracing someone or just being physically happy in their company or with the conversation you are having in bed. And oxytocin has a super-spiral effect; the more physical contact you have, the more oxytocin you’ll produce, which causes you to want more contact, and so on. Oxytocin can have an addictive effect.” Dr Hamilton also says that low levels of the love hormone oxytocin have been shown to be existent within patients suffering from irritable bowel syndrome. He comments, “Oxytocin has also been shown to reduce inflammation. While inflammation is a necessary part of the healing process, too much of it, which can accompany bacterial infections or chronic stress, is damaging to the body. It’s well known, for example, that inflammation plays a role in many types of cancer. Meanwhile, a number of recent studies have shown how oxytocin can affect the heart.” Of course, for single people out there suffering from irritable bowel syndrome, relying on the release of oxytocin may be a futile thing! At Medical Specialists Pharmacy, we are currently analysing the massive range of products for IBS sufferers with a view to expanding our evergrowing span of medications and chemist shop items, and we hope to offer effective solutions very soon, so keep checking our website regularly for more updates. Mebeverine is just one of the IBS products which will soon be available to new and existing patients. In the meantime, feel free to browse around our website for help with other such common problems like male and female hair loss, impotence, help with quitting smoking, lowering cholesterol and much more.