Sharing a bed can put a strain on some relationships, causing sleep disturbances for one or both partners. A 2018 survey found that 46% of Americans in a relationship would rather sleep alone at least part of the time. A 2016 study from Germany showed that sleep issues and relationship problems tend to occur simultaneously. Not sharing a marital bed is becoming many couples’ dream, the New York Times wrote. Healthy couples who sleep separately can be as happy as those who sleep together, studies show.

Too little sleep linked to weaker bones in women

Women who don't get enough sleep may be putting their bones at risk, a new study found.

The research showed that postmenopausal women who slept less than five hours a night were 22% more likely than those who slept at least seven hours to have low bone mass and 63% more likely to have osteoporosis of the hip. Results for the spine were similar. 

» Why a ‘sleep divorce’ could benefit your health and maybe your relationship

Bone mass is important because weaker bones are more likely to break. In the elderly, fractures can reduce quality and length of life. 

In the study, which was published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, researchers described the relationship between short sleep and bone health as "modest" and said it was equivalent to a year of aging. 

Still, sleep, unlike many treatments, comes with no harmful side effects. "It's not a pill. No one has to pay for it," said Heather Ochs-Balcom, a University at Buffalo epidemiologist who led the study. "It's just a nice easy recommendation to improve health." 

» 5 common myths about sleep that can damage your health

The study adds to mounting evidence that sleep has wide-ranging effects on our health. Short sleeping has been associated with cardiovascular, mood, metabolic and immune system problems. 

Previous work by this team found an association between sleeping too much or too little or having disturbed sleep and recurrent falls and fractures. 

This new study analyzed data on 11,084 postmenopausal women. It relied on self reports of sleep. The researchers, who were from 12 institutions, including the University of Pittsburgh, controlled for weight, smoking, age, education and several other factors. Ten% of the women said they slept less than five hours a night. 

Ochs-Balcom said this study was not meant to examine why sleep affects bone health. Previous work has shown a connection between short sleep and hormonal and metabolic changes as well as inflammation. 

» Study links early menopause to heart problems

Earlier this week, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine released a new survey that found that many Americans are letting entertainment get in the way of a good night's sleep. Binge watching was the most common culprit, but video games, books and sports events were also common sleep robbers.

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