Scientific research on sleep is typically conducted with subjects who are sleeping alone, but in real life most people share beds when they sleep — with significant others, children, or pets. According to an international survey, 30% of Americans sleep alone. The numbers were similar for Mexico, the United Kingdom, and Germany.
Problems with partners
Sleep troubles associated with your partner’s issues are not only annoying, but they can also cause long-term issues. Anything that interferes with your natural sleep cycles will cause daytime fatigue, but bigger problems like high blood pressure or anxiety can also result. This is why it’s so critical to find a long-term solution before a minor annoyance becomes a major problem.
So what do we mean when we talk about a disruptive partner? It’s not limited to someone who snores, has insomnia, or reads deep into the night. Some other ways that sharing a bed with your partner can affect your nightly rest include:
- Partners who toss and turn or have restless legs
- Partners who snore or are coping with illness
- Different personal preferences in types of bedding or mattress firmness
- Differences in desired room temperature and wanting to feel warm vs. cool
- One person wanting to cuddle and the other wanting space
- Conflicting sleep schedules
- Light from electronics used in bed
Sometimes your partner might be an offender of several of these issues, or something not on the list that is specific to your experience. Whatever the case, we’ve organized some tips and tricks to address these problems and get both of you back to better rest.
What to Do When a Partner is Interrupting Your Sleep
Maybe you’re dealing with several of these issues, or maybe you’re dealing with other issues not listed here. Whatever the case, here are a few common scenarios and solutions to consider:
Problem: You have a partner who moves around so much that you can’t fall asleep or you wake up throughout the night.
Solution: How big is your bed? Queen size or larger will give you enough room to sleep soundly together. Another aspect to consider is the mattress feeling too soft or too firm. Some compromise may need to happen, or you can splurge and invest in a mattress with different settings for each side of the bed.
Problem: You have a partner who snores or who has sleep apnea.
Solution: If your partner snores, you can explore various solutions in our SleepShop. Did you know that snoring sometimes needs to be taken more seriously than just annoying sounds? Some chronic snorers have sleep apnea, a common but potentially very dangerous sleep disorder that can lead to increased risk of high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, and even heart failure. Only medical experts can diagnose sleep apnea; if you think your partner might have sleep apnea, it’s worth their time to see a doctor. Possible signs include snoring or gasping, pauses in breathing, or shallow breaths while sleeping.
Problem: You have a hard time staying on the same sleep schedule.
Solution: When a partner climbs into bed after you’ve been snoozing for a while, it can interrupt whatever sleep phase you’re in and cause tiredness the next day. If you can’t agree on a time to go to sleep together, try using white noise so you’ll be less likely to hear when your partner comes in. If light from their electronics disturbs your sleep, have a discussion together about using phones, tablets, or laptops while in bed.
Everyone’s relationship is different, so communicate with your partner to find the right solutions for your situation. Whether it’s saving up for a new mattress, or simply having an honest talk about each other’s sleep habits, you can make positive changes to get more peace at night. For some couples, sleeping separately could be the best solution, either long-term or for shorter times. There’s no shame in making decisions to get the sleep you need!