There are a million reasons you chose your partner. The way they make you laugh. Their talents. The way they always remember the little things, like how you like your coffee. There’s a lot that goes into compatibility — but, we never seem to take sleeping into account. So while you may be happy in your relationship, if your sleeping habits don’t align or you have sleep problems, they can actually cause a lot of stress on you both.
In fact, a survey by the National Sleep Foundation found that people with lower marital satisfaction were more likely to report symptoms of insomnia, daytime sleepiness and that they are getting less sleep than they did five years ago. Because you spend so much of your life sleeping and sleeping together, it is imperative that you and your partner find a way to make it work for you both.
If you find yourself feeling like this all applies to you, there are a bunch of things you can try to mend the sleep issues in your relationship
1. Only cuddle before you fall asleep.
When you’re sharing a bed with someone you love, it’s only natural that you want to snuggle. However, this isn’t always the most comfortable way to fall asleep. Sometimes your partner’s body is too warm, their hugs too tight, or the position just not conducive to sleep.
Snuggling while sleeping can also be problematic for those who like to sleep on their back or stomach. If this is the case, carve out time before you go to sleep to cuddle up together and share something positive about your day. Then, say good night and turn over. You're sure to get a better night’s sleep.
2. Use a body pillow.
There’s also the problem for those who need to cuddle to fall asleep, but their partner needs space. If this is the case, a body pillow is a great option. No, these aren’t just for single people! In fact, side sleepers often love to sleep with a body pillow for added support and comfort in this sleeping position.
Try a memory foam body pillow for maximum support and pressure relief. Think of it as an extension of your mattress. There’s no shame in having a body pillow to snuggle at night, in fact, your partner who doesn’t want to snuggle will probably thank you!
3. Be accommodating to your partners sleep schedule.
One of the most common sleep problems for couples is being on different sleep schedules. Maybe you or your partner work late-night shifts. Or maybe you’re a night owl and they’re a morning person. While this can seem like a daunting challenge at first, the best solution to this sleep problem is simply being accommodating to your partners needs. - Make sure you can get out of bed easily If one of you has to get in or out of bed while the other is still sleeping, this can disrupt the others rest. If possible position your bed so that there is room on both sides of the bed for you to get in and out of. This way, there is no climbing over one another. - Use Headphones If you’re the type who likes to watch a TV show before bed or listen to music, investing in a comfortable pair of bed headphones is a great solution. This allows you to ease into a good night sleep without disturbing your partner's peace. - Vibrating or quiet alarm This is especially important if you and your partner wake up at different hours. Instead of disrupting their sleep with your loud alarm, turn on a low vibrating hum on your phone that will ensure you get up while allowing them to sleep. Some couples also like to position one of those wake-up lights that mimics the sunrise on their side of the bed, as the light wakes you up slowly without noise.
If this sleep schedule thing is an issue in your relationship, another way to stop disrupting each other’s rest is to get a memory foam mattress. Memory foam as well as latex mattresses have very low motion transfer. As well, they’re ergonomic for different kinds of sleepers.
4. Use earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones.
Whether your sleeping partner snores, sleep talks or just makes a lot of noise, a pair of earplugs can go a long way in helping you get a better night's rest. This is also something great to try even if you don’t think outside noise keeps you awake at night. Earplugs may just surprise you at how much they can help you sleep.
If the snoring is next-level, try noise-cancelling headphones. Although, these might be a difficult thing for a side sleeper, but if that’s the case, you can find headphones for sleeping where the ear pieces are less than 1 cm thick.
5. Stagger bedtimes.
If your loved one prevents you from getting to sleep — like with tossing and turning or fiddling on their phone — try going to bed before they do. This way, you can ease into a deep sleep before they climb in beside you. To pull this off, though, you’ll need a mattress with low motion transfer, which is where memory foam and latex come back into play.
If you’re worried going to bed at separate times might kill the intimacy of winding down together after a long day and talking, just fit time in for that, too. Many couples really need that quiet time together at the end of a long day; it’s important enough to put the effort into scheduling a committed time for it.
6. Plan for the kids.
A survey by the National Sleep Foundation found that 81% of adults with kids report having a sleep problem. So if you have young children who wake you up a night, make a plan with your partner so that at least one of you can get some sleep while the other cares for the child. This kind of schedule can ease a lot of stress and help you at least plan some sleep during the week.
If you’re a family who co-sleeps, this suggestion obviously isn’t going to work. But custom mattress makers can create a family-sized bed for you. A 12-foot wide bed for co-sleeping gives your toddlers room to violently kick around in their sleep without your face and body being within range of those strangely-strong little legs.
7. If you’re restless, go to another room.
Sometimes, you just can’t sleep because there’s too much on your mind. Other times, you might be dealing with a bout of insomnia. While you may want to stay in bed and keep trying to sleep, or simply scroll on your phone until you get tired, it may be ruining the other person’s good night’s rest. Be accommodating of their sleep needs and go to another room where you can relax until you are tired enough to crawl back into bed without disturbing your partner(s).
A great solution to not having to sleep on the couch, or go through the rigmarole of dealing with your pull-out sofa bed is to make sure the mattresses in your guest rooms are also comfy. As well, consider a wide daybed in your office. It not only makes the space multi-use in the day, but a comfy daybed mattress makes the space multi-use during the night as well. Plus, you’ve also added an extra guest room without even trying that hard!
8. Kick your pets out of bed.
It is already a challenge to share a bed with another person. Then throw in cats and dogs, and your night’s sleep can become even more difficult. While you might love snuggling with your pets, the extra space they take up in the bed or their movement throughout the night may be detrimental to your and your partner’s sleep.
Also, even if you’re not allergic to your fuzzy friends, they’re not exactly hypoallergenic. Pet fur and dander all over the bed can mess with your sinuses, making it harder to get a good night’s sleep. Get your buddies their own little beds, and don’t give into those puppy eyes when they ask to come sleep with you instead.
9. Get separate blankets.
Do you sleep with a cover hog? Waking up without a blanket can be cold, stressful, and cause a terrible night’s sleep. In Europe, like regions like Scandinavia, it is quite common for couples to sleep in the same bed but with their own separate duvet cover. This allows for both people to sleep at their ideal temperature without having to worry about blanket hogging or trying to steal back the covers in the middle of the night.
In the same vein, vastly different sleepers might not be able to share bedding or mattress types. If this is the case, try a split king mattress. It makes that intangible line between your sleeping spaces tangible, and it allows each of you to have the custom mattress and bedding you deserve, all without sacrificing sleeping together.
10. Keep a cool sleeping environment.
Speaking of sleeping with the ideal temperature, it is really important that your bedroom is kept at the optimum temperature for sleep. Experts say your sleeping environment should be anywhere between 60 to 67 degrees F for a better night’s rest. Your body slows itself at night while it does the restorative work, and it needs cool temps to do it. Letting your body cool makes it easier for it to get you to those vital stages of deep sleep. Sleeping cool allows people who sleep hot to stay cool, while giving those who are always cold at night the opportunity to pile on the comfy blankets. We have an entire article about how to sleep cool at night, if you’re dealing with this.
11. Don't just ignore the snoring.
A lot of times, couples look for short-term solutions to the snoring, sometimes even sleeping in separate beds. But, this doesn’t actually solve the problem and just gives into it. Experts say that if snoring is a problem for your and your partner’s sleep, you need to seek a long term solution, often in the form of medical help. "Snoring can be a symptom of a bigger problem such as obstructive sleep apnea or allergies," says Janet Kennedy, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and author of The Good Sleeper, told Good Housekeeping. "And snoring compromises sleep quality for the snorer as well as the partner, leaving them with daytime sleepiness, headaches, and various other consequences of sleep loss or deprivation." Quick snoring solutions: - Raising your head when you sleep - Changing your sleeping position, ie: sleeping on your side instead of your back - Mouthguards - Allergy medication - Breathing strips that keep the nasal passages open - Sleeping with a humidifier in the bedroom - Saline nasal spray
There are also two health conditions that are common culprits of chronic snoring. Larger people often snore because of the extra weight on their system; being overweight actually often leads to sleep disorders like sleep apnea. Or, you might have a deviated septum. If this is the case, you’ll need a simple surgery to fix the structure of your septum and open up your nasal passages.
Weird and Unnecessary Fact:
You know your uvula? The weird thing hanging at the back of your throat between your tonsils? Some people’s are too long, causing them to snore. This is sort of worst case scenario, because you’ll have to have a creepy surgery where they go into your throat and shorten it.
12. Get a bigger, better bed.
"A larger bed can make a big difference for the partner," Dr. Kennedy explained when speaking about sleeping with a snorer. "Getting a few more inches of distance can really help.” But, a bigger bed is also a great solution for couples who sleep at different temperatures — like one who likes to curl up in the covers, and the other who likes to spread out and kick off all the sheets. Having that bigger bed allows you both to get totally comfortable and literally create your own space. A bigger mattress, like an Alaska King, is also a great option if your kids inevitably crawl into bed with you.
A custom mattress designed for your space, and your taste. Older mattresses aren’t going to offer the support and comfort a custom-made mattress can. A huge memory foam bed and some sleep headphones can truly make you feel like you’re sleeping by yourself, even with your partner splayed out and snoring on the other side.
Sleeping with your partner should never be complicated. All these steps can ensure sleep that will lead to a healthier, happier relationship. For taller couples, or those with pets and children, an Alaskan King, extra-long mattress, or even a 12-foot-wide family bed may be the solution. For others, finding the proper boundaries and sleeping arrangements that work for both parties is crucial.