By: Julie Sprankles
While the thought of snuggling up in bed next to your partner should be a welcome one, it's decidedly trickier if you share the sheets with a snorer, kicker, sleep-talker, or otherwise incompatible snoozer. But given how important sleep is to your well-being (individually and as a couple), it's high time to put those sleep compatibility issues, well, to bed.
Buy a Larger Bed
If you've got a little wiggle room in your budget, investing in a bigger bed is a surprisingly simple way to solve an array of issues – think thrashing, kicking, and overcrowding. Splurge on a queen or king, and you'll be less likely to encroach on the other's sleep space.
If you don't have the square footage for a bigger bed, a new mattress is a great alternative. Adjustable mattresses allow you to customize each side, making them ideal for the couple who can't agree on firmness. Memory foam mattresses absorb movement, so your partner won't feel it if you toss and turn.
If you and your partner's internal clocks are wired differently – or if you have opposite work schedules – there may not be a mutual hour that makes an ideal bedtime. Even if you have disparate sleep habits, you can help each other get a good night's sleep by simply being more mindful of each other's schedules. If you like to stay up and read, doing so in a different room so you don’t shine the light in your partner's eyes is a considerate idea. Or, similarly, if you have to get up early for work, get dressed in another room.
Give Your Bedroom a Makeover
Having the right energy in your sleep space may mean different things to you and your partner, so work to find restful touches that will benefit both of you. Experiment with options until you find a combination that helps each of you sleep more soundly — the deeper you sleep, the more difficult you'll be to disturb. Room darkening shades, an essential oil diffuser, an ambient noise machine, and a humidifier are just a few popular sleep enhancers to try.
Prepare for Problems
As Benjamin Franklin once said, "By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail." Don't set yourself up for disappointment by heading to bed without taking a few simple steps that could lead to better snoozing. For example, if you can't stand heavy covers but your partner practically forms icicles at night, have an extra cozy blanket on hand. If he likes a little light filtering in and you need pitch black, keep an eye mask on the nightstand.
Being disturbed by electronic devices in the bedroom is a common sleep compatibility complaint among couples. So if you tend to linger on your laptop in bed at night but the click-clack of the keyboard keeps him awake, it might be time to ban screens from the bedroom. Or at the very least set limits, such as shutting them off an hour before bed. After all, the artificial light does confuse the body's circadian rhythm. If you can't sleep and still want to surf the web, take your laptop to an adjacent room until you're ready to crash, too.
Consult a Pro
Snoring plagues many couples, with a 2011 CDC survey of twelve states showing that nearly half of all adults polled copped to the occasional snore. And while this can understandably seem irksome if you are on the receiving end, the reality is something more serious could be to blame. It's best to consult a doctor to rule out conditions like sleep apnea.
Consider Separate Quarters
This is not an uncommon solution. In fact, according to the National Sleep Foundation, nearly a quarter of American couples end up sacked out in separate beds at night to ensure sound sleep. While this idea might seem off-putting at first, mull this over – some couples actually find that separate beds lead to improved sexual and overall health. The bottom line? Getting a good night's sleep, even if it isn't together, can strengthen your bond in more ways than one.
About the Author
A native of Charleston, S.C., Julie Sprankles has been writing professionally since 2003. She received a double Bachelor of Arts in English and communications from Charleston Southern University. Formerly editor-in-chief at award-winning shelter publication "Charleston Home + Design Magazine," Sprankles now enjoys writing and editing full-time.