Sharing a bed is an exciting milestone for most new couples, but it's not all champagne and rose petals. It can be daunting to make the transition from sleeping alone to being a sleeping duo.
In your single days, you could roll yourself in the blankets like a burrito, eat cookies in bed, and smack the snooze button as many times as you could get away with.
Now, you’ve got someone else’s schedule and habits to consider. If your new sleeping arrangement has one or both of you tossing and turning, we’ve got some tips and tricks to help everyone get some much-needed shut-eye.
If you’re both morning people and have to get up for work or school at about the same time, syncing schedules won’t be a problem. However, it’s rare for two people to have the exact same sleep schedule.
If one of you is a night owl while the other is up and at ‘em at the crack of dawn, you’re going to have to put in some effort. Some basic consideration can go a long way. For example, if the earlier riser repeatedly hits the snooze button, he or she may need to amend this habit. Set the alarm for the time you actually have to get up, and shun the snooze button. Besides, hitting snooze is an unhealthy habit.
Maybe you’re a snuggler and your partner has to have his personal space. Or maybe you're a position-switcher, shifting from side to stomach to back throughout the night. Either way, incompatible sleep positions will make for some uncomfortable nights.
The best way around this one might be a new mattress. A larger size, like a queen or king, will give you room to sleep like a starfish, if that’s your thing. There are also mattresses that let you adjust factors like firmness for customized, individual sleeping space. Best of all, a mattress with individually-wrapped coils will minimize the seismic activity of a fidgety sleeper.
Bed hogs, those folks who seem to require copious amounts of space while sleeping, are so notorious that there are even gag wedding gifts aimed at their "victims." In all seriousness, though, there are solutions for sleeping with a bed hog:
- Get a king-size mattress (if you're not willing to go the separate beds route.)
- Can't spring for a new bed right now? Try carving out sleeping space with separate blankets.
- Create a barrier with a pillow or rolled-up blanket.
Snoring is arguably the worst – and most common – offense on this list. It creates a vicious cycle: the non-snoring partner is frustrated and suffers from the many symptoms of inadequate sleep, including irritability. The snorer feels resentful about their partner’s complaints and attempts to stop the snoring – but they can’t help it! These factors can eventually erode even the best relationships.
First, be upfront with your partner if you have a snoring problem so you can both plan accordingly. Otherwise, they’re in for a literal rude awakening on your first night together. There are several products on the market, like nasal strips, that may help reduce snoring.
The non-snoring partner can opt for noise-blocking measures, like ear plugs or white noise. Keep in mind that snoring almost always has an underlying cause, and severe snoring can be a sign of a potentially serious condition called sleep apnea. If snoring reaches an alarming volume, or the snoring partner stops breathing for short periods, it’s time to see a doctor.
Correlation Between Sleep Quality and Relationship Quality
Not getting enough quality sleep can take a toll on your health and your relationship. In fact, a 2009 American Academy of Sleep Medicine study concluded that there is a positive correlation between sleep quality and relationship quality. Not only did those in rocky relationships experience worse sleep, but couples with poor sleep compatibility saw a decline in the health of their partnerships.
If you’ve pulled out all the stops and still can’t get a good night’s sleep with your partner, consider last-resort options like separate beds or a visit to a sleep specialist. It's worth the effort to return to the excitement and romance of those early days.