Last Updated on January 29, 2024 by Louise Carter
Feeling sleepy around your girlfriend or boyfriend is common, especially if you’ve fallen in love. This feeling of sleepiness doesn’t necessarily mean you find them dull or uninteresting.
When we’re physically close to a partner, especially when we touch them and experience skin-on-skin contact, the brain releases the hormone oxytocin.
Known as the love hormone, oxytocin introduces feelings of relaxation and sleepiness. You may not even need hormones to feel entirely relaxed around a partner.
Your mind and body may unwind after spending a day watching everything you say and do, but you’re comfortable being yourself around your boyfriend or girlfriend.
Partners in a loving relationship often mimic each other’s body language, speech patterns, and heart rates. This can leave you feeling calm and relaxed, creating the desire to sleep.
Why Do I Get Sleepy Around My Partner?
If you often find yourself sleepy in the presence of a long-standing boyfriend or girlfriend, you may be concerned that you no longer find their company exciting.
There are other positive explanations for why you feel sleepy around the one you love:
The body and mind undergo a hormonal reaction. Spending time with people you love reduces the release of cortisol, the stress hormone, and leads to the release of oxytocin, the love hormone.
While the presence of a loved one enhances oxytocin, physical intimacy and touch increase the intensity.
Regulatory Peptides stated that oxytocin makes you feel sleepy during periods of calm. The hypothalamus releases this hormone and binds to the amygdala, the part of the brain that controls emotions.
Once oxytocin reaches the amygdala, the body releases serotonin and dopamine, hormones associated with happiness and contentment.
This means your brain is feeling rewarded for spending time with your partner.
This encourages you to spend more time together to retain this feeling, meaning you enjoy a constantly elevated state of oxytocin-inspired relaxation and sleepiness.
Mental And Physical Relaxation
You likely feel more relaxed around an established partner. You’ll usually spend time with a boyfriend, girlfriend, or spouse in your home, where you’ll feel more secure.
While at work or in a social situation, you’ll likely second-guess everything you say or do to appear professional and avoid causing inadvertent offense.
Your partner will understand you, your intentions, and your sense of humor so you can be yourself.
It’s also likely you’ll feel more physically relaxed in your partner’s company. You may feel inclined to change into more comfortable clothing you wouldn’t wear around strangers, family, or co-workers.
Mimicking Heart Rate and Energy
You’ll likely subconsciously mirror each other’s body language. The same applies if your partner speaks with a different accent, as you’ll start imitating their speech patterns without realizing it.
The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology explains how this is known as the “chameleon effect,” and it shows enhanced empathy.
A study in Psychoneuroendocrinology explains how romantic partners frequently find their heartbeats synchronizing. Couples found that their heartbeats rose in unison during difficult conversations.
The same can also be the case during calmer times. If you and your partner are calm and relaxed, your hearts will beat in the same slow rhythm. Consequently, you’ll likely both start feeling sleepy.
The early days of a new relationship are always exciting. You’ll likely enjoy late nights together, going on dates, talking long into the night, and engaging in intimacy.
Once the initial dopamine rush of falling in love subsides, the reality of domesticity takes over. This creates a risk that your relationship has slipped into a “rut,” which explains your constant exhaustion.
If you formerly spent your evenings engaging in activities but now spend every night on the couch watching Netflix, you may be a little bored.
You may also fall into familiar habits, like eating carb-heavy comfort food or drinking alcohol together, leading to sleepiness.
Don’t allow your relationship to stop satisfying your needs. Find new ways to engage your mind and body around your partner to avoid constantly feeling sluggish and disengaged.
Why Do I Get Sleepy Around My Crush?
We discussed how the company of an established partner helps you relax, as you no longer feel compelled to be on your best behavior at all times.
The opposite may be true if you’re in a new relationship or spending time with somebody you have a romantic interest in.
If you’re sleepy around somebody who inspires warm feelings, are you being true to yourself in their company? You’re likely constantly attempting to create a positive impression.
This effort may make you nervous, and you’ll be inclined to hide these jitters, which can be mentally and physically exhausting. Nerves can lead to tachycardia, a heart rate over 100 beats per minute.
The side effects of tachycardia are trouble breathing and light-headedness, which can lead to fatigue.
Why Do I Sleep Better Next to My Partner?
The release of oxytocin explains why you feel tired when sharing a bed with somebody you love. There are other reasons why you may sleep better when sharing a bed, including:
Feelings of Safety
For many people, sleeping beside a partner inspires feelings of safety, especially if you spend the night away from home.
It can sometimes be difficult to relax enough to sleep in an unfamiliar environment, including a partner’s home, if you don’t cohabit.
It is common for women to ask, “Why do I only sleep well with my boyfriend?” In addition to releasing oxytocin, the sense of security afforded by another human can promote relaxation.
Sleeping alongside a partner can also help people moderate their body temperature. According to the Journal of Physiology, men usually stay warm in bed longer than women.
This means a woman sharing a bed with a man may enjoy a partner’s body heat due to proximity, while a man may avoid overheating by sharing space with a woman.
Regularly sharing a bed with a partner can also create a sense of familiarity.
Both partners can benefit as it establishes a routine. It’s almost akin to sleeping with a stuffed animal or pet, except you enjoy the company of a walking, talking human.
Familiarity is essential to feeling comfortable in bed, so you may grow uneasy when somebody is missing. Even habits you’ve learned to dread, like a partner’s snoring, can become a natural background to your sleep, and you’ll rue their absence.
However, you may grow too dependent on a partner’s presence to sleep well. If necessary, record the sounds your partner may make overnight and play them out loud when you sleep alone.
If you share a bed with a partner, you’ll likely share a bedtime and preceding routine. This can help you enter a natural rhythm of sleep hygiene, eliminating harmful habits that impede your ability to sleep.
If you’re prone to bedtime procrastination, sharing a bed with a partner may encourage you to sleep earlier. Staying up late watching TV may keep your partner awake, so you’re likelier to get 8 hours of rest.
Women may benefit most from sharing a bed, as Frontiers in Psychology claims that females are likeliest to engage in bedtime procrastination.
If romantic partners sharing a bed expect to retire, the fundamentals of sleep hygiene are likelier to be followed. You’ll switch off screens, dim lights, take a shower, etc.
If you’re relaxed sharing a bed with your partner, you’ll spend more time in slow-wave sleep. Equally, your body releases less cortisol, making your brain less likely to experience intense, vivid dreams.
This means your mind will remain calm overnight, and you’re unlikely to struggle with disturbing dreams or nightmares that wake you in a cold sweat or leave you feeling uncomfortable upon waking.
REM sleep is essential to mental and physical health, but unpleasant dreams can impact your ability to rest well. The presence of a loved one in your bed can ensure that your evening remains serene.
Is it Bad to Feel Sleepy Around My Partner?
Feeling tired and sleepy around a partner is common and usually okay. If you consistently fall asleep watching a movie after a long day, it’s likely just the effects of oxytocin taking hold.
The only time to be concerned about feeling tired in the company of a romantic partner is when these feelings of exhaustion are one-sided. If you have similar lifestyles, but one of you is always tired while the other is awake and alert, this may lead to feelings of resentment.
Consider why you may be consistently fatigued around your partner, especially if you maintain the energy for other people and activities. Are you tired because you are content and deeply in love, or does this person’s company inspire stress and exhaustion?
If you’re always tired, another explanation may revolve around your sleep habits and quality of rest.
Feeling sleepy around your partner is usually a sign that you are happy, content, and relaxed. Embrace these sensations of tiredness, as the company of somebody you love will make it easier to sleep.