For many couples, having a shared bedtime routine is crucial to maintaining a strong connection to their loved one. Whether it’s to increase physical intimacy or just vent about the day, going to bed at the same time as your partner can have a big influence on your relationship–-and experts agree. Even though a 2015 survey by bed makers Warren Evans found that 75% of couples typically do not go to bed at the same time, new evidence suggests that many couples should maybe switch up their nighttime habits.
According to research published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, psychologist and researcher Michelle Droulin found that partners with a disconnect between bedtimes reported lower satisfaction with both their relationships and their sex lives.
“Sex or no sex, going to bed as a couple is a gateway to increased connection,” Droulin explains in her PsychologyToday article, highlighting the study. “At the end of the night, unencumbered by children, work tasks, and housework, people can really unwind. They can talk and touch. Just being in the bedroom at nighttime with a partner is a promising concoction for intimacy,” she says.
As part of the study, Droulin and her fellow researcher Brandon McDaniel asked 289 American adults in married or cohabiting relationships how they typically spend their nighttime routines with their partners, in addition to how they would ideally spend those nighttime hours with their partners if given the opportunity. Droulin and McDaniel, unfortunately, found many mismatches across their subjects’ answers.
“Many of these individuals expressed frustrations with their partner, noting that their partner went to bed without them, spent time alone on their computer or watching TV, or never wanted any physical or emotional intimacy. Many of them mentioned they were unhappy with their typical nighttime routines. Miserable, in fact,” Droulin says.
Droulin further explains that although the mismatches in participants’ answers did not necessarily indicate dissatisfaction in their relationships, mismatches in physical intimacy did coincide with lower levels of bedtime satisfaction.
“People who were less satisfied at bedtime were less satisfied sexually, less satisfied in their relationship, and less satisfied in their life, overall,” Droulin says.