While the idea of sharing a bed with someone may be appealing, the reality is that many of us sleep better alone. That’s because sleeping with another person can be challenging. It requires adjusting some of your bedtime habits and accepting someone else’s. If you’re committed to bed sharing, there are some simple strategies you can try for making it a more peaceful practice.
Early vs. Late to Bed
One of the most common differences among sleeping partners is their internal clocks. There are night owls and there are early birds—and sometimes they’re in relationships with each other. The strategy here is open-mindedness. Rather than forcing one partner to change their natural inclination so that you can go to bed at the same time, consider embracing your difference and finding other times to connect.
A professor of chronobiology tells the New York Times, “It will be very hard to demand of your partner to override their internal clocks in order to spend more time together. It’s possible, but not very beneficial. . . . If you don’t sleep during your own internal timing window, you will not be as socially capable or as effective at work, and you will have somebody to blame for it, and that is your spouse.”
Hot vs. Cold
The temperature struggle is real for many couples. One runs hot while the other runs cold, making heat settings and blankets a constant debate. If this sounds like you, check out ChiliPad. It’s a mattress pad that lets you control your sleep temperature anywhere from 55–110 degrees. The best part: the queen and king sizes have different settings on each side, so you can sleep by your sweetie but at your own temperature!
Snoring vs. Silence
Snoring is an age-old complaint by people who sleep with another (noisy) person. Fortunately, noise-canceling products are getting better with each passing year. Non-snorers can invest in some good earplugs. A Swedish brand called Happy Ears that gets rave reviews by users is shaped to fit snuggly in your ear like earbud headphones. They come in three sizes and are made of soft plastic, so they stay comfortable even on side sleepers. If you just can’t do earplugs, white-noise machines or apps can be helpful as well.
If you’re the snorer in the couple, try to avoid alcohol before bed. It relaxes the muscles in your throat, causing your tongue to fall back into your airway. This makes snoring worse, as do congested nasal passages. If you’re feeling stuffed up, try taking a very hot shower before bed; the steam can help clear the nasal passages, and it will also relax you. Avoid antihistamines for nasal congestion because they have a similar effect to alcohol on your airway.
Movement vs. Stillness
If you sleep with someone who moves around a lot, go with a memory-foam mattress. These mattresses minimize what’s known in the sleep biz as motion transfer. In other words, you won’t feel it as much on your side when your partner is rolling around. If your better half is a real mover and shaker, you could splurge on a mattress that allows each person to adjust the firmness on their side of the bed.