In the movies, people can happily doze off in each other’s arms and wake up in the same position, looking utterly refreshed. Not in real life! Even the couples that couldn’t imagine spending a night away from their partner usually find that spooning blissfully into slumber doesn’t last forever. Maybe you keep waking up with a numb arm that you can’t retrieve from underneath your loved one. Perhaps their snoring deserves a rank on the Richter scale. Even if you’ve simply lost the will to battle for the duvet every night, here are seven tips to getting back to sleep you can only dream about now.
- Switch positions
Finding the right sleeping position is essential. Lots of couples choose to spoon, with the smaller person lying on their side, facing the edge of the bed, and the taller person lying behind them facing the same direction. In reality, this position can get unpleasantly hot and sweaty. A different sleeping position might give you both a bit more space, without losing the intimacy.
It might sound outrageous, but you could also consider switching sides of the bed. If one of you gets up frequently in the night to use the bathroom or wakes up much earlier than the other, it’ll create less disruption to put that person closest to the door.
- Ditch third parties
It doesn’t matter how cute your kids and four-legged fur babies are – they are disturbing your sleep. It’s basic maths; the more people or pets in a bed, the more things that can potentially wake you. Children and pets are less sympathetic to your sleeping needs than a partner will be, so break the bad habits with them as soon as possible. You and your other half will be rewarded with more space, less fidgeting and better rest.
- Get a bigger bed
Squeezing into a single bed feels super romantic as a teenager, but once you’re grown-up, it’s time to invest in a bigger bed. This is especially important if either of you have been used to sleeping in double beds alone for any length of time, as you’ll be more prone to spreading out or sleeping diagonally.
Work out how much space you both naturally take up and invest in a bigger bedframe to accommodate this. You’ll stop feeling like you’re sleeping on top of each other and actually get better-quality sleep.
- Find the right bedding
Do you find yourself fighting a duvet hog every night? Go European and invest in two blankets, so that you each have your own. This is also a great way of managing different temperature preferences – one of you can have your big fluffy goose-down duvet while the other person can cool off with a thinner quilt.
The mattress matters, too. If one of you tends to toss and turn, a memory foam mattress will limit how much the other person feels this movement. Even replacing a worn-out mattress can have a big impact on how well you sleep – regardless of your partner. You might want to look into mattresses that are designed so that each half has a slightly different firmness setting, too. They’re not exactly cheap, but can you really put a price on a good night’s sleep?
- Fix the snoring
According to the National Sleep Foundation, 37 million adults regularly snore… So if your partner’s night-time pneumatic drill impression makes you want to leave them and never look back, the chances are you’ll only run into the same problem with someone else. Sorry.
Instead, find a long-term solution. Back-sleepers tend to snore more than side-sleepers, so the offending party might want to look into ways of training themselves to change position. There are sprays and nasal strips that make it easier to breathe through your nose while asleep, or a number of other options available.
- Be courteous
Feeling sleep deprived is awful, particularly if you can’t help but feel like it’s the fault of someone else. When you’re tired and cranky, there’s a temptation to be stubborn about your bedroom habits – whether that’s insisting on the window being open, sitting up on your phone or coming in and out to get things in the morning while the other person is still trying to sleep.
Resist the urge and try to find a compromise. A fan will generate a cool breeze, or earplugs can dampen noise from outside. Scrolling through social media late at night isn’t going to help you rest, but at least turn your volume and brightness down. Is there a way to get ready in the morning that doesn’t require lots of noise in the bedroom?
- The last resort? Separate beds, separate bedrooms.
Sharing a bed with someone adds to the bond and intimacy of a relationship… Unless your lack of sleep is starting to make you fantasise about killing them, that is. If you’ve tried everything and you just can’t find a way to sleep comfortably together, maybe it’s time to start taking the “divide and conquer” approach.
Nothing says you have to sleep apart every night, but if you’ve got conflicting schedules or incompatible habits, try sleeping in separate rooms on weeknights. The goal is to get enough rest so that you both feel happy and productive the next day – which is much more beneficial to a relationship than a sleepless night!