By Emma Stessman
Many people already struggle to get the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep every night. Add a bed mate into the mix, and suddenly it makes getting those quality ZZZs even harder.
Whether you’re sharing a bed with a snorer, a fidgeter, or someone whose ideal sleeping temp makes your bedroom feel like the arctic tundra, sleeping next to a partner can lead to regular sleep disruptions that may prevent you from reaping the benefits of a good night’s rest.
Lest you consider moving to the couch to complete your next REM cycle, we sought out some expert advice.
Below, Dr. Wendy Troxel—a licensed clinical psychologist and certified behavioral sleep medicine specialist whose research focuses on sleep and relationships—shares her top tips. Read them over with your bed mate so you can both sleep deep in the nights ahead.
(Featured Photo: Shutterstock)
How to Share a Bed Without Compromising Sleep Quality
1. Squeeze in some one-on-one time
One excuse to fit in some quality time with your S/O? Improved sleep. “Better quality marital interactions during the day predict better sleep that night,” says Dr. Troxel. This one-on-one time can be at any point throughout the day. But the best and easiest time is right before bed. “That time in bed before falling asleep is, for many couples, the largest, most concentrated period that they get to be together.” she says. It’s the perfect opportunity for some quality cuddles, a daily recap, or some good ol’ fashioned sexercise.(Photo: CMDR Shane via Unsplash)
2. Invest in sleep accessories
Your bedtime is a hard 10:30 p.m, so you can get eight hours of shut-eye before an early morning workout class, but your partner likes to stay up late, catching up on all of his or her favorite Netflix shows. A super practical (and affordable!) strategy is to simply to invest in some earplugs or an eye mask to block out any distractions that might disrupt your sleep. Keep in mind, if you’re the one getting up early or crawling into bed late, “Use common courtesy,” Dr. Troxel says. AKA you should probably save the yoga in bed for when you’re both awake.
(Photo: Alexandra Gorn via Unsplash)
4. Layer Your Bedding
You like it hot, your partner likes it cold––or vice versa. To avoid any disagreements over temperature, Dr. Troxel recommends sleeping with layers of bedding. “That way, if one person wants to shed a layer they can, but if the other person wants it on, they can keep it,” she says.(Photo: Ty Carlson via Unsplash)
5. Get individual sheets
If you wake up to find that your blanket somehow *mysteriously* disappeared from your side of the bed and wrapped itself around your partner in the middle of the night, it might be time to consider getting separate sheets. Dr. Troxel recommends having one comforter or coverlet that fits the whole bed and then individual sheets and blankets for each person underneath.(Photo: Logan Nolin via Unsplash)
6. Sleep separately
Try taking a cue from Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip and sleep in a bed or room separate from your partner. Sleeping separately could benefit couples, particularly in the case of a snoring bed mate, Dr. Troxel explains. And no, sleeping in a different room does not signal a troubled relationship. In fact, it’s actually more common than you may think. According to a poll from the National Sleep Foundation, about one in four couples sleep in separately. “There’s a belief that couples who choose to sleep apart are in a sexless or unhappy marriage and that’s simply not the case,” says Dr. Troxel.(Photo: Vladislav Muslakov via Unsplash)
7. Make sleep a conversation
“It’s about negotiating the night—just like healthy couples negotiate issues during the day,” she says. “It’s about finding what works best for you and asking ‘how can I be well-slept and the best partner that I can be the next day?’”(Photo: rawpixel via Unsplash)