Couples are more likely to sleep in sync when the wife is more satisfied with her marriage, according to a study from the University of Pittsburgh.

The study examined 46 couples who completed relationship assessments. Objective sleep data was gathered by actigraphy over a 10 day period as well.

The results showed that overall synchrony in sleep-wake schedules among couples was quite high, with those who slept in the same bed awake or asleep as their partner about 75 per cent of the time.

When the wife reported a higher level of marital satisfaction, the percent of time the couple spent awake or asleep at the same time was greater.

The lead author of the study, Heather Gunn, said “Most of what is known about sleep comes from studying it at the individual level; however, for most adults, sleep is a shared behavior between bed partners.”

“How couples sleep together may influence and be influenced by their relationship functioning,” she said.

“The sleep of married couples is more in sync on a minute-by-minute basis than the sleep of random individuals,” said Gunn.

“This suggests that our sleep patterns are regulated not only by when we sleep, but also by with whom we sleep.”

Top image: Flickr/Richard Foster