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7 Strategies to Sleep Better if You Share a Bed

Hayley Dawes
22 March 2023

From loud snoring to thermostat battles, here’s how to put your most disruptive partner sleep issues to bed. Proper sleep is so important to your health – you need a full night of quality sleep in order to function. It’s the same thing when sharing the bed with another person. Good sleep is vital for both partners’ health as well as your relationship; poor sleep can hurt both.

Sharing a bed with a loved one is perhaps one of the most intimate things you can do. Yet while there are health benefits to slumbering with a bed partner, it doesn’t come without some issues, especially if your sleep styles don’t sync. 

There are a few strategies you can (both) try to improve your shared sleep experience, no matter what the problem is.

Sleeping With a Partner Has Healthy Benefits

Sleeping with a loved one comes with numerous benefits. Some of the main ones include decreased anxiety, improved insomnia, and increased relationship connection. One study even found that sharing a bed was associated with roughly 10% more REM sleep, less fragmented sleep, compared to sleeping individually.

Plus, when you sleep with someone you love, oxytocin, the hormone of love, is released in your body. As a result, sleep can be more consolidated, and everyone wakes up more refreshed. 

Of course, this isn’t always the case – especially if your partner is disrupting your sleep, a common issue among people who share a bed. There are numerous reasons for this, the primary being that your partner has major sleep issues of their own, like insomnia, sleep apnea, or periodic limb movements. Other reasons include sleep schedules not being in sync and pets or kids also sleeping in the bed.

Solutions for Better Sleep When You Share a Bed

If sharing the bed has gotten difficult or uncomfortable, don’t put up with it. Whether comfort or another person is the source of your sleep woes, there’s always a solution.

Set rules

Differences in a partner’s sleep habits can be overcome if specific rules are followed, such as turning off the TV once it’s sleep time and not having distracting sounds in the bedroom. If you have pets or children, you also need to come to an agreement about whether they’re allowed in bed or not.

Unwind together

Following a shared pre-bed ritual can ensure that you’ll both be on track for restful sleep. For starters, start getting ready for bed about an hour before you plan to crawl under the sheets. Kill the television at this time. 30 minutes before bed, dim the house lights and turn off all phones. You might even consider taking a shower together, which can be relaxing in many ways. Finish by making sure the room is dark, quiet, and cool. 

Resolve issues before bed

You’ve probably heard you shouldn’t go to bed mad at each other, and it’s true. “When partners are stressed after a fight and still in the fight or flight mode, hormones in the body aren’t conducive to sleep,” explains sleep coach Dr. Vyas. If possible, address any grievances as best as you can before you head to bed.

Plan proactively around your sleep schedules

Whenever you have changes in your schedule like having to get up earlier or staying up later, communicate that to your partner. At the same time, use night lights – preferably with motion sensors – so there’s no need to turn on disruptive overhead lights. If this is happening frequently, invest in a mattress that doesn’t move too much when one partner gets in and out of bed. 

Not every couple will have the same sleep schedule, especially if one person works outside of normal work hours. It’s also quite possible that you and your sleep partner are different chronotypes – one of you may be a morning person, while the other is more of a night owl. If you’re not sure what this means, your chronotype works closely with your circadian rhythm to determine your ideal times for being awake and for being asleep.

Control your bed temperature

Does one of you run hot and prefer a colder climate, while the other gets freeing at night and needs the room a little warmer? If so, look into bed toppers with cooling and heating properties that can be individually controlled. You can also place a fan or portable air conditioning unit near the hotter sleeper or even use separate comforters so temperature shifts can be managed individually. 

Sleep under separate comforters

If you’ve ever travelled to Europe, you know that beds there are designed for each person to have his or her own sheets and duvet (the beds are often pushed together). Trying this same strategy at home may be a game-changer if one of you is a sheet hog. 

Also known as the Scandinavian sleep method for its popularity in Scandinavian countries, this practical sleep solution allows you to compromise and use the weight and style of comforter most suited to your comfort levels, body temperatures, and sleep needs – without having to sleep in separate rooms or wage a nightly war over the thermostat.

Address snoring issues

Snoring is one of the most common complaints among partners who sleep together. If your partner snores, you can use ear plugs or a white noise machine to drown out the sound. A few more examples of lifestyle tweaks include avoiding alcohol, trying side sleeping instead of back sleeping, or wearing a nasal strip to open up nasal passages.

If the snoring is serious, you should also encourage them to get evaluated for sleep apnea, which isn’t just a noisy inconvenience, but a health issue they should address sooner rather than later (for both of your sakes).

Try different sleep positions

The right sleep position can make a big difference when it comes to comfortably dozing off with your bed partner. What’s comfortable for you and your partner will vary, but it shouldn’t be too hard to find a comfortable position for you both to doze off in together.

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