The Cost of Sacrificing in the Bedroom

By Ashley Little

We surveyed over 1,500 adults to learn how much couples are sacrificing in the bedroom to compromise on a comfortable sleep environment and how much sleep this costs them in the end.

Image of a displeased confused young man lies in bed under blanket near sleeping woman.

Summary of Main Findings

  • 4 in 5 people who sleep with a partner are making sacrifices when it comes to their sleep environment
  • The biggest sacrifice people make is sleeping with the fan on (20%)
  • Men are making more sacrifices than women (84% vs. 76%)
  • Gen Xs make the least sacrifices (68%) and Gen Zs make the most (88%)
  • People who sleep alone get 100 more hours of sleep each year as compared to those who make sacrifices while sleeping with a partner

The tricky thing with compromising in relationships is sometimes there are matters, like those relating to your health, that aren’t worth sacrificing. But how do you know where to draw the line? 

Here at Mattress Advisor, it’s our mission to help people live their best days by getting their best night’s sleep. We aren’t saying you should never compromise in your relationship again, but when your sleep is on the line, you should be careful about what you’re giving up for your partner. Some of the best mattresses for couples are designed to help you meet in the middle on comfort preferences, but beyond the bed there are many other factors to worry about like settling on a  temperature or debating on whether the late-night TV binging is appropriate in the bedroom.

We decided to find out just how much people in relationships are sacrificing for their sleeping partner, and how much sleep they end up losing as a result. Keep reading to see the results.

The Sacrifices Couples Make in the Bedroom

graphic showing how many couples sacrifice in the bedroom

First we wanted to know just how many people who sleep with a partner have to face these tough decisions on who sacrifices what. Alarmingly, it’s almost everyone!

People can be very particular about their sleeping habits and what makes them the most comfortable to get the best night’s sleep. We don’t blame you for sticking to your gunsgetting good sleep is important!

graphic depicting sacrifices couples make in the bedroom

What people are willing to sacrifice for their partner’s comfort are no small deal. One in 5 people who sleep with a partner are stuck sleeping with the fan on, even though they don’t want to!

Other problem areas include whether or not you wear pajamas, sleeping with the TV on, or even sleeping with a light on. Each of these factors can cause a real disruption to your sleep quality. While your partner may be happy to have their ideal setup, your sleep could be suffering from the sacrifices you make on their behalf.

Who Sacrifices the Most in the Bedroom?

So who’s getting the worst end of the deal? We segmented the data to find out whether men or women ended up making sacrifices for their partner.

graphic depicting gender differences in bedroom sacrifices

As it turns out, men are more willing to sacrifice for their partner in the bedroom than women are. This may have to do with the fact that women tend to be more sensitive about their sleep. In fact, one study even showed that women need 20 more minutes of sleep each night than men do.

Women are also more susceptible to sleep disturbances as a result of hormone changes, pregnancy, PMS, and menopause. With all of these stressors coming into play, it’s no wonder women are less willing to sacrifice even more for their comfort.

We also looked at how the data differed by generation. Gen Z, the youngest age group, make the most sacrifices. Those in Gen X, aged in their 40s and 50s, make the least compromises.

graphic depicting generational differences in bedroom sacrifices

When Sacrifices Sabotage Your Sleep

You may be thinking, So what? We all have to make sacrifices in relationships. 

That’s true. But you should be wary of making sacrifices that compromise your health and well-being. We took a look at which sacrifices are taking the biggest toll on people’s sleep health.

graphic of the cost of sacrificing in the bedroom

Sleeping with the TV on resulted in the worst sleep quality. That means, while you’re being generous and allowing your partner to stay up binging their favorite TV shows, your sleep is suffering.

Sleeping with the fan on resulted in the lowest average duration of sleep each night. Feeling comfortable in a room with an ideal temperature is important for your body’s thermoregulation and your ability to sleep undisturbed. Clearly, those who are sacrificing sleeping in cooler temperatures than they prefer are feeling the pains of that unwanted air flow.

Should You Just Get a Sleep Divorce?

If sleeping with your partner is causing this many issues… is it even worth it?

We compared the reported sleep quantities and sleep quality ratings of those who sleep with a partner vs. those who are in a sleep divorce with their partner (sleeping separately, even though you live with a partner) to find out.

graphic comparing sleep quality
graphic of sleep gained by entering a sleep divorce

The numbers speak for themselves. While we aren’t insisting you go through a bedroom break-up with your partner, we do realize it’s not that bad of an idea.

It’s true that the way you choose to sleep with your partner (or not) can affect your relationship satisfaction. But we’ll leave it up to you to decide how much you’re willing to sacrifice for your romantic partner.


We surveyed over 1,500 adults in November of 2019, asking them about what sacrifices they make in their sleeping environment (if any) and their average sleep quantity and quality ratings. The survey respondents were not limited to specific demographics. We estimate the margin of error at 1%. 

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See the full infographic


infographic of the cost of the sacrifices couples make in the bedroom

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