WHETHER YOU ARE part of a new couple or have been married for more years than you can count on your hands, sharing a bed is a major part of your relationship. After all, your spend about a third of your day there together, and it's this type of connection that helps keep you close.
Unfortunately, some studies have shown that sharing a bed can also lead to interrupted sleep, which can leave you feeling irritable — and maybe even itching for an argument with your partner. If you're having trouble sleeping — or if your bed has become a bit of a battleground over stolen blankets — your solution may lie in each other. Try these relaxation tips for shaking off the stresses of the day and reconnecting before you hit the sack, and you're sure to get a better night's sleep together.
Talk It Out
If you sense that your partner is tense, set aside some time to talk about it, preferably over dinner or a few hours before you're ready to head to bed. Ask to hear about the problem, and listen without offering advice. After your partner has had a chance to vent, ask how you can help. Then make sure to take your turn talking about your day. By getting issues out on the table before bed, you have a chance to let them go without bringing tension into your bedroom when it's time to drift to sleep.
Meditation is a proven way to reduce your stress and improve your overall outlook on life, but did you know that you don't have to do it alone? Couples meditation is a different take on the deep breathing and mental focus that you're probably already familiar with — but you also get to connect to your partner.
To give it a try, sit cross-legged facing each other, with your hands and knees touching. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing and your connection to your partner for five or ten minutes, and you should feel more relaxed before bed.
Read to Each Other
There's a reason children love bedtime stories. They allow them to connect to the material in a whole new way, and it works for adults, too. When your partner reads to you, you can become fully engaged in the story while closing your eyes to allow sleep to come. You also get to enjoy the sound of your partner's voice without the burden of responding. To keep things fair, try taking turns reading to each on alternate nights.
Give a Great Back Rub
Most people hold on to a lot of tension in their necks and shoulders, and tight muscles can make it difficult to get comfortable in bed when it's time to sleep. Give your partner a great back rub by having him or her sit on the floor in front of you while you remain on the couch. This will give you leverage so you don't get tired. Use a loose fist to apply gentle pressure, and don't grab or pinch. Releasing excess muscle tension should help you drift off peacefully in no time.
Choose one or more of these relaxation techniques to add to your evening routine, and soon you and your partner should be enjoying deep, restful slumber. Like most things, these activities are more fun with two, so get started tonight!