Do We Sleep Better or Worse
with a Partner?
The Daily Doze
Sharing a bed absolutely affects your quality of sleep. But is it for better or worse?
Sleep is often analyzed in terms of an individual sleeping alone – while in reality, most adults sleep with a partner. Sharing a bed comes with a whole set of new factors, benefits and unique problems coming into play when trying to get proper sleep or correct an issue.
More people report their sleep is subjectively improved when they share a bed with a partner, regardless of the gender pairing of the couple.
Sharing a bed is romantic and intimate and also has health and mental benefits. It can lower your blood pressure and strengthen your immune system. A feeling of calm and security is released when sleeping next to their partner. There is an overall feeling of happiness when you are sleeping next to the one you love.
Despite all this, if co-sleeping is leaving you sleep-deprived, you’re not alone. For starters, blanket stealers, loud snoring, and arguments over the thermostat can spell problems in the bedroom.
Life is too short to be tired and cranky all the time, so tackling the bed-sharing problem must be a top priority. There is a level of discomfort and ‘getting used to’ with co-sleeping, but also some concrete tips that should help.
How to Share a Bed Without Compromising Your Sleep
Sleep-incompatibility doesn’t require a total change from one or both partners. Just like in relationships, co-sleeping requires a bit of back-and-forth. If you work through your problems together, you can share a bed – and still get the sleep you need.
Snoring is a common problem among co-sleeping couples. The partner’s sleep quality is disrupted, leading to sleep loss, and yet it can be a symptom of a bigger health problem such as sleep apnea for the one snoring. This should be attended to urgently. Once the cause is determined, you can tackle snoring together as a couple.
Side-sleeping and elevating the head can help, as well as mouth guards and over-the-counter solutions such as nasal strips. For the co-sleeper, earplugs, background music, or white noise can help reduce the disruption. The partner can also opt to go to bed before the snorer to get them into deep sleep first.
Also Read: 4 Simple Fixes to Cope with Snoring
2. Different Circadian Rhythms
Are you an early bird, while your partner is a night owl (or vice versa)?
Some people may try to sync their schedules so they can sleep and wake up together. It’s difficult to change one’s chronotype, however, and this can cause further problems. For example, early birds who sleep later may feel daytime tiredness, while night owls who go to bed early will lie in bed for hours awake. The pressure to sleep differently than what’s natural can trigger stress, and in turn, insomnia.
We recommend following your internal body clock as much as possible and not going to sleep together if your sleep cycles don’t match – but if you insist on shifting your internal clock, light exposure can help you move your sleep and wake cycles later or earlier.
3. Different Thermostat Preferences
Some like it hot, some like it cold. Many partners do not share temperature preferences, and it can quickly become a battle for the thermostat or the blanket.
It’s harder to sleep when you can’t cool down than if you’re a bit chilly, so it’s easier for the partner who prefers to be warmer to compromise – they can do so by considering warmer pajamas, more layers, and additional bedding.
4.Hogging the Space or Blanket
Sharing a bed usually means splitting things equally, 50/50 – but some end up waking in the middle of the night shivering and realizing their partner has stolen their blanket. The best solution for this is to invest in a bigger bed and have separate blankets or comforters.
…What if things just don’t work out after lights out?
If sharing a bed has completely gotten in the way of getting your shut-eye, you might consider getting a ‘sleep divorce.’
It’s not as dramatic as it seems! This is a pragmatic solution that has become more normalized across couples in America. People are separating their sleep setup by either using different beds in the same room or sleeping in separate bedrooms all together.
Couples are often wary about this alternative because they fear it means their relationships are heading for troubled waters. This is not the case; and it can even improve your partnership as you get better sleep. Try sleeping separately for a trial period of weeks to see if sleep improves.
Happy alternatives to a ‘sleep divorce’ are also possible, if you take a proactive approach to solve the issue.
Talk to a sleep therapist or try to get an adjustable base for your bed so it can accommodate your different sleep needs. It is important for partners to talk, recognize, and tackle the problem – so you can find the solution together.
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