Being married may help you live longer, but what about all of the blanket stealing and tossing and turning? A new field of research finds that the benefits of sharing a bed may outweigh those slight discomforts.

Sleep is an essential part of life. Too little sleep can affect your heart and may lead to obesity. Some researchers think that sleeping together with your partner may promote health in a number of ways, such as by lowering the stress hormone cortisol, as well as cytokines that are involved in inflammation.

Sharing a bed with your partner, though, is not always easy. Mismatched sleep patterns can negatively affect how well couples sleep together. The most extreme is when one person is a night owl and the other tends to be an early riser.  You can’t change your internal clock by more than an hour, so in this case, it’s important to find a compromise.

This may involve both people going to bed earlier in the evening, with the night owl leaving the bedroom for a while and coming back later. Sleeping with separate blankets, especially if one person is a light sleeper, can help minimize sleep disturbances.

Still can't get shut eye—not matter how big or comfortable the bed? Add this to your routine for deeper, more restful sleep. 

Relationship problems can also affect the sleep patterns of couples. One study showed that negative interactions with a partner during the day can make it more difficult for women to sleep at night. For men, it was the converse. Sleeping better at night helped them get along better the next day.

While research into the benefits of couples sleeping together is fairly new, some researchers think that sharing a bed is one way to strengthen the relationship, which in the end, may help you live longer.