Good sleep is central to a happy, healthy life. Individuals who sleep well have been repeatedly shown to have less risk of both physical and mental health issues.
What’s more, how well we sleep also impacts our relationships. Couples in which both partners sleep well have far fewer, and much less destructive arguments, than couples where one or both partner sleeps badly.
Unfortunately when we are in a relationship how well we sleep isn’t also down to us, there is another source of potential problems – our partner.
Sometimes no matter how much we love them, and how nice they are during the day, some people are just a nightmare when it comes to sleep. Maybe they are a starfisher, a snore machine, a fidgeter, a sleep screamer, a kicker, a nightwalker or even one of those creepy people who sleep with their eyes completely open (they exist).
Whatever their problem – if it’s keeping you from getting your doctor-recommended eight hours a night – it’s your problem too!
Such issues will have to be dealt with sooner rather than later if you’re going to keep your relationship healthy and stop resentments creeping from the bedroom into other areas of your life together.
Don’t despair, before you look to take your partner back to the shop and swap them for a different model try working through our three top tips below…
Get a doctor’s opinion
This might seem like an obvious one but so few individuals I know who sleep badly have been to see a doctor about their night time woes. Sleep seems to be one of those rare aspects of our health where lots of stoically accept there is nothing anyone can do to help. This is complete nonsense.
For example if your partner is a bad snorer there are a whole heap of options a doctor may be able to advise on. These range from simple changes in sleep position, to fitted mouthpieces to addressing issues such as deviated septums. If your partner is a really bad snorer heading to the docs is even more advisable because there could be genuine health concerns to worry about, such as sleep apnea.
If your beau is reluctant to visit a doctor then it is up to you to make clear to them how big a problem their nocturnal misbehaviour is for you. Don’t nag but do be proactive.
A technique that worked wonders for me when my man was reluctant to see the doctor about their snoring was to offer them the olive branch of…‘this can be your birthday present to me’. It’s amazing how much more cooperative some people will become when they think they can save a bit of money, and get out of shopping!
Marvel at magic mattresses
One partner is too hot; the other too cold. One partner likes a hard mattress; the other a soft one. These two problems that have been coming between couples since the beginning of time (or at least since mattresses were invented). Thankfully like the scourge of polio both have now been defeated by modern science.
With the invention and rising popularity of so-called ‘smart beds’, innovative solutions such as dual temperature control and independently controlled firmness mean that partners can sleep together but feel like they are sleeping in completely different beds.
One partner can keep their feet nice and toasty while the other is chilled like a bottle of beer in a cooler. One can sink into a fluffy cloud while the other can lie rigid like a soldier in a barracks. The future of the bed is here and it means good things for couples who have sleep problems.
Even if you don’t think you need a space age ‘smart bed’, be sure to check the quality of your current mattress. Having a bed that simply isn’t up to the job causes many more sleep problems that people realise. Investing in a quality sleeping surface (like this) can do wonders for anyone’s slumber and could just save your relationship.
Embrace separate beds
Sleeping in different beds can mean many different things for a relationship. Of course if you’ve taken to sleeping separately it can certainly mean things are too rosy. But it definitely doesn’t have to. An increasing number of couples I know have adopted the separate bed strategy and their relationships have gone from strength to strength because of it.
There’s even a growing number of studies that suggest the most important thing for the health of a relationship is that both partners get a good night’s sleep, not that they have to share a bed together to get this sleep.
There are many different reasons why separate beds could work for your relationship. If you’re a night owl and your partner a lark it’s likely bedtimes and beeping alarms are source of tension, this isn’t a problem if you sleep in different rooms. Similarly if one or both partners in a relationship suffers from a sleep disorder then the chances of getting a good night’s rest could be greatly increased if you sleep in separate beds.
For those looking to go down the two bed route, one thing that relationship experts do strongly suggest is that to keep intimacy alive it’s a good idea for couples to still go to bed together initially. Spend some time in each other’s company before allowing one partner to slip out for their own nighttime nest.
Well, there you have it – three simple strategies to stop your partner’s nighttime actions having a negative impact on the rest of your relationship. Give them a whirl, what’s the worst that can happen? You lose some sleep!
Also published on Medium.