Though love is frequently touted as a cure-all to your ailments, it turns out being single could be better for your health.
The health benefits of the single life range from less debt and stress to having stronger friendships, which are vital to remaining healthy as we age. Single people also report feeling like they have grown and developed more psychologically over time than married folks. Stress is linked to many physical conditions, as it increases cortisol and inflammation, two factors in everything ranging from cancer to autoimmune diseases.
So, don't pity your single friends - or yourself, for that matter. Being in a relationship doesn't guarantee a full life that benefits your health, and being single doesn't doom you to misery.
After the financial crisis of 2009, single people lost about 5 million jobs, and married people lost approximately 6 million. But of those two groups, unmarried people have gotten back about 90% of the jobs, whereas married people have gotten back only 22% of the posts.
There are a few possible reasons for this. Single people don't typically need to provide for a family, so they can often accept a lower-paying job. Married people may not feel as much pressure to work, meanwhile, since theoretically, one person could have an income large enough for two. And single people are often young, so their salary expectations are generally lower. As more and more people stay single for longer, however, it's unclear how the data will shift.
It's also more important to single people to find a job they see as meaningful, so they may enjoy their jobs more than married people do. Since single people aren't tied to someone else's career, they're often more likely to pursue loftier career ambitions in other locations or fields.
A survey of 13,000 people showed that single people worked out more than those who were married or divorced, according to IFL Science. Psychology Today reports men who are single get about 8 hours of exercise per week, and women who are single get about 5.5 hours per week. This compares to nearly 5 hours per week for married men and 4 hours per week for married women.
Likewise, a study of 4,500 people showed that single people had lower BMIs than those who were married, and married couples had an average of 5 pounds on single people.
Sleep is vital to your emotional, mental, and physical health. According to Amerisleep, adults require about 7 hours of sleep to be happy, and men get more sleep than women across the board. Single people average 7.13 hours of sleep, which is the most out of any group.
Interestingly, the longer a couple is together, the worse their sleep gets. A couple together for 1-3 years gets about 7.06 hours of sleep; a couple together for over a decade gets only 6.65 hours of sleep.
When responding to the question, "How often do you feel lonely?" those who answered "Often" got the most amount of sleep at 7.2 hours. But to those who have shared a bed with someone who snores or moves a lot in their sleep, it's probably not surprising that sleeping alone gives you a better night's rest.
Though you may associate being single with engaging in nightlife, data reported on by Live Science suggests marriage makes women drink more. Married men, however, drink less. It seems that married women drink more to match what their husbands consume since men can typically drink more.
Perhaps more strangely, men drink much more after divorce, but women consume less. Either way, being single means less alcohol, and that can mean less weight gain and a lower risk of the litany of health problems that come with frequent imbibing.