Some of us love sleeping with our partner. We can’t wait to cosy up, big spoon and little spoon, in one limited space. But for many people, sharing sleeping space with another person can be nothing short of a minefield.
Not only do partners have the potential to snore, fidget and steal the duvet during the night, they might also encroach on your space; bad news if you’re dedicated to the slumbering starfish position. It works both ways too. For some, sleeping next to another person, even a loved one, can be fraught with awkwardness. Perhaps you’re the snorer . Maybe you grind your teeth or talk in your sleep. We get it, it can be hard to get used to sharing your little oddities with your other half.
Perhaps you’re moving in with your beloved for the first time or giving bed sharing another go after some time alone. Maybe you can’t wait to jump into co-sleeping or maybe you dread the idea of sharing bed space. However you feel about taking the plunge, we’ve got the lowdown on the lot. We’ll take you through the pros (and cons) of falling asleep next to someone you love and help make bed sharing a positive move for both of you.
Benefits of sleeping next to someone you love
Sleeping together is thought to be extremely beneficial. Not only can staying close at night help us to sleep better in the long term, sleep boffins think it could even benefit your health too.
Here are just a few of the ways that hopping into bed with your favourite person could do you good:
1. Sleeping together helps you to get better sleep
Do you sleep better next to someone you love? Scientists behind a 2010 study into women in midlife and their sleeping habits certainly think so. Their experiment showed that those in stable relationships not only fall asleep more quickly but that they experience less disturbed sleep than singletons or those in unsteady partnerships [i].
With a good night’s sleep so important to our health and wellbeing, we think that’s reason enough to cuddle up together under that duvet asap.
2. Sleeping together can make us happy
Getting up close and personal is known to release serotonin and dopamine, those feel good chemicals that help us to feel joy and contentment.
As well as making us feel great, serotonin can also contribute to better sleep through its role as the precursor to melatonin, the ‘sleep hormone’ [ii]. Dopamine, meanwhile, is known as the ‘feel good hormone’ and it can even give us a kind of natural high. One of the most important neurotransmitters when it comes to our mood, a dose of cuddly dopamine can help us to get happy.
3. Sleeping together can improve relationships
According to research, couples who fall asleep together stay together. At least, that’s what a study carried out by Hertfordshire University concluded when they surveyed 1000 people to find out if getting cosy impacted personal relationships [iii].
The results of the study were pretty clear – the closer together partners slept at night, the stronger their relationships were.
Why sleeping next to someone you love can be difficult
You spend every waking minute together. You text constantly if do you have to be apart. You share spaghetti like Lady and the Tramp. In short, you’ve fallen hard. So why is the idea of spending nights together so difficult to get your head around?
It seems like something that should be perfectly natural, but plenty of people hit a mental wall when it comes to sharing a bed. Here are just a few reasons why that might happen:
A new environment could be keeping you up
Have you ever found it hard to get a decent sleep during your first couple of nights on holiday? This can be a normal fight or flight type response.
Finding it hard to sleep in a new situation is so common that scientists have given it a name – the First Night Effect, or FNE. And even once that subconscious heightened awareness settles down, there’s still the disturbances that a partner can cause to get used to. On top of that, if you’re sleeping in a new place, the ambient light and sound is likely to be different than what you’re used to at home.
You’re feeling awkward
Be honest. Do you snore? Grind your teeth? Talk in your sleep? Even sleepwalk? If a previous sleeping partner has mentioned an annoyance in the past, even a minor one, there’s every chance that it’s still playing on your mind and putting you off sharing a bed again.
You’re used to sleeping alone
A lot of us live alone for a long time before we make the choice to move in together. So perhaps you’re just pretty happy with your sleep set up just exactly as it is.
When you’re used to turning in whenever you like, switching on your favourite classical radio station and spreading out in the dead centre of the bed, it can be tough to adapt to a new arrangement.
Your sleep schedules are off
If you’re a total night owl and your partner is an early to sleep, early to rise type, it can be hard to adapt. Perhaps they drop straight off to sleep while you lay there for an hour or more counting sheep. It only makes things worse.
This issue can work both ways too. If you typically turn in early but force yourself to stay up to align with their schedule it can, ironically, make it even more difficult for you to get to sleep.
Your partner is a pain to sleep with
Let’s not beat around the bush. Some people are just really blinkin’ difficult to sleep with. And the harder you try to ignore their irritating habits and tell yourself that they can’t help it, the more frustrated you get and the more difficult it is to get some shut eye.
In fact, so annoying are they, that difficult sleep partners deserve a whole ‘how to’ guide of their own…
How to sleep next to someone who snores (and other challenging bedfellows)
There’s no magical solution to sleeping with a partner who has an irritating (if unintentional) sleeping habit. There are things you can do though, that could help you to sleep easier without retreating to the spare bedroom in exhausted frustration.
Sleeping with a partner who snores
If your partner snores loudly enough to rattle the windowpanes at night, sleeping separately can seem like the only option. But before you give up on them once and for all, there are a few tricks you could try .
Encouraging them to roll onto their side (most people snore when lying on their back) is a good idea. You could even invest in a wedge pillow to slip behind their back, stopping them from rolling back over. Ear plugs or a white noise machine can also help, giving you a solution that you’re in control of.
Sleeping with a partner who steals the duvet
If your other half has a tendency to swipe the quilt, leaving you shivering on the sheets, there’s an easy solution - and it’s straight out of Scandinavia.
Yep, many Danes, Swedes and Finns choose to sleep with a personal duvet. Not only does this allow you to choose the right tog for your temp, it also stops duvets rustlers in their tracks.
Sleeping with a partner who hogs the bed
This is one of those problems that really needs an honest chat to help your partner understand how their flailing limbs are causing you sleepless nights. It’s likely that they haven’t even realised that they’re disturbing you.
You might then agree on a strategy such as nudging them awake so they can reposition. Or perhaps the solution is saving up for a super king size bed so you each have your own generous space.
Sleeping with a partner who sleep talks
Sleeping with a chatty partner can not only be disruptive it can also result in arguments when you hear something you don’t like (it happens more than you’d expect!).
It’s important to remember that dreams are just that – subconscious meanderings. And haven’t we all had a weird dream we’d rather not share?
Sleeping with a partner who stays up late
Some of us need early nights, while there are those of us who function best at night. If you and your partner are on different schedules, it can be hard not to get irritated by the flip of their book, click of their laptop or the glow from their bedside lamp.
There’s no rule that says you should go to bed at the same time, so why not compromise on them watching TV, reading or browsing the web in another room until they’re drowsy? A nightlight in the bedroom will make it easier for them to join you without causing disruption.
Top tips for sleeping next to someone
Sleeping together can be fraught with difficulties. It requires us to compromise in ways we simply wouldn’t have to compromise during daylight hours. And for many of us, making those compromises is hard. While we haven’t got one grand catch-all solution, we have got a few handy tips to make sleeping with a loved one just that little bit less stressful:
Communication is key
Talking through your issues is vital in every aspect of your relationship, not least when it’s affecting your all-important nightly rest. Try to approach any grievances you have (snoring, fidgeting or hogging the duvet) gracefully and without pointing the finger of blame. Your partner may even have an easy solution that you haven’t considered.
Choose the right bed for both of you
Selecting a bed that suits two different people can be difficult and it’s well worth spending some dedicated time on. With the right mattress, you’ll both be more comfortable, enjoy a better night’s sleep and be far less likely to get frustrated with each other.
Head into your local Bensons for Beds store to try out our sleeppro® system . This smart gadget will help you to find the ideal mattress for you, and our sleep experts can guide you through the process of finding the perfect bed arrangement for two, based on both of your individual preferences.
Consider motion transfer
Certain mattresses will allow for more motion transfer (which is that bump and roll you get every time your pesky partner moves) than others.
Latex mattresses, memory foam mattresses and good old pocket springs are your best choice for minimising motion transfer. Open coil mattresses, on the other hand, tend to cause more bounce so aren’t ideal if you’re easily disturbed.
Adjustable beds can also make sleeping together, but apart, easier. With an individual mattresses each, as well as inch-by-inch adjustability that may help to minimise snoring, these remote control beds can deliver independent sleeping without separate beds.
Accessorise your sleep
There are all sorts of bits and bobs out there designed to make sleeping easier. Ear plugs are just the start.
Partner likes to sleep with a light on? A silk sleep mask will let you shut out the glare. Snorer or tooth grinder in your bed? If earplugs aren’t doing it for you, how about sleep headphones that allow you to comfortably listen to white noise, a podcast or music while you drift off? Your other half loves it Baltic while you prefer to keep things cosy? That sounds like a good excuse to go pyjama shopping to us.
There’s no shame in separate beds
If, despite all your best efforts, sleeping together just isn’t working out then making like your great grandparents and sleeping in twin beds could be the solution you need.
There are a number of benefits to sleeping in an adult single bed, not least the ability to sleep in the exact right bed for your comfort and choose the bedding that best meets your needs. And we think sleeping in the same room but separate beds is a far preferable option to one of you resentfully skulking off to the sofa night after night, don’t you?
Let’s look at it together
Sleeping with a partner doesn’t have to be a nightmare. We’re here to help you find a solution to all of your co-sleeping worries. From adjustable beds, available with mattresses of differing firmness to super king size bedding that will make any bed feel luxurious. From grown up single beds to pillows that could make sleeping more comfortable , no matter whether you’re a snorer a front sleeper or a side sleeper , we’ve got the lot. And the expertise to help you create the ideal sleeping situation for both you and your partner to boot.
For help and advice simply drop into your local Bensons for Beds store or give us a call on 0808 144 6160.