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Healthier couples sleep apart

A professor at the University of Surrey has said that sharing a bed with a partner may be the cause of a bad night's sleep.

Dr Neil Stanley says couples should consider sleeping in separate beds, arguing that a good night's sleep is more important than getting close to a loved one.

Speaking at the British Science Festival, Dr Stanley said poor sleep was linked to a range of diseases and disorders including stokes, heart disease, depression and divorce, yet it was largely ignored as important part of general health.

He said there was a 50% chance of a partner wakening if the other one moved while asleep, adding that women were more likely to put up with sleep disturbances than men - who tended to prod partners awake if woken up.

Additional research revealed that the longer couples had spent together, the more likely they were to have separate rooms, with more than 40% of those in their 70s choosing to sleep apart.

He said: "If you want to live a happy and healthy life, diet and exercise are important, but so is sleep."

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British Science Festival