Sleeping with your partner
When you’re madly in love with someone, it feels like you can’t spend a moment apart. It’s as if you are both joined at the hip.
Whilst this may be an essential part of falling in love, it might not be the best long term strategy to staying in love.
This case can certainly be argued when it comes to sleep.
Being tired impacts our relationship because it alters our mood and makes it harder for us to regulate our emotions. Consequently, when we’re tired, we’re more likely to argue and we’re also less likely to be in the mood for sex (as a lack of sleep lowers testosterone levels in both women and men).
The world renowned sleep expert Professor Matthew Walker practices what he preaches and sleeps in a separate room to his partner. He is a firm believer that the desire for intimacy increases the more you sleep.
It seems he’s not alone. According to the 2017 Great British Bedtime Report, while the majority of us (76%) still like sharing a bed with our partners, the trend for sleeping apart continues to grow.
With research by the University of California, Berkeley revealing that one in ten relationships fail because of sleep problems perhaps people are starting to wise up to the fact that sleeping separately might be the best option.
The brutal truth is we’re not designed to sleep with another person; the idea of sharing a bed is a relatively recent invention.
On a practical level, it makes a lot of sense. Your partner could be a loud snorer which means you are unable to sleep properly. Or they might be a sheet stealer or duvet robber?
We differ in other ways too. Around 50% of couples have conflicting temperature desires when they go to bed: one is likely to prefer a warmer sleeping environment, the other a colder one.
Unfortunately, there is still a fair amount of social stigma surrounding couples sleeping in separate beds. Surveys by the National Sleep Foundation and from Ryerson University in Canada, have shown that about 45% of people who sleep in separate rooms won’t admit it in public because they feel ashamed.
If the idea of sleeping apart is too big a step for you, then it might be a good idea to follow some top tips for sleeping in harmony with your partner:
1. Buy a bigger bed. We need space to move in the night without disturbing our partner.
2. Buy a new mattress. An old, uncomfortable mattress will keep you both awake.
3. Avoid duvet wrestling by having separate duvets as opposed to sharing one big one.
4. Consider investing in sleep aids like a nite hood sleep mask or ear plugs to keep out any light or noise.