Tips for Sharing a Bed

Tips for Sharing a Bed

Before you get married or move in with your partner, you spend your sleep time stretching out and taking up as much space as you’d like while you sleep. You also drift off peacefully without any noise or movement in the bed. Once you couple up and begin to share a bed, that’s when the sleep troubles often begin. Sleeping with company isn’t always as peaceful and restful as we’d like it to be. Partners, kids, and pets can interfere with sound sleep. Luckily, there are steps you can take to help make sharing a bed more manageable.

Did you know an estimated 22 percent of Americans sleep alone?[1] That’s according to a survey by the National Sleep Foundation. The cause for sleep trouble in couples may be one you’ve struggled with yourself—Snoring. An estimated 90 million U.S. adults snore—that’s just slightly less than 1 in 3.[2] And since men remain the more likely snorers, it’s no surprise that women frequently cite a snoring partner as the reason they choose to sleep alone. Tending to sleep disorders, breathing problems and regular snoring can help partners sleep more quietly and peacefully together.

Another hurdle that couples face is the problem of having different sleep schedules. Night owls and early birds often have trouble sleeping together without disturbing one another.[3] If you’re an early riser and your partner stays up to watch a television show after you’ve gone to bed, you might wake up when your partner comes to bed—and you may disturb your partner’s early morning rest when you rise for the day. Meeting in the middle on divergent schedules can help. Maybe your partner can turn off the TV a little earlier some evenings, and you can move your early-morning wake-up routine out of the bedroom to avoid waking your bedmate.

Spouses aren’t the only ones sharing beds. Kids and pets also like to get cozy. Children need much more sleep than adults, but they tend to experience lighter sleep more often than adults.[4] That means mom and dad won’t get to sleep soundly when kids are in the bed. Many parents who have been awakened by an elbow to the head or a kick to the back report it’s impossible to get a good night’s sleep next to a sound-asleep but thrashing child. A family bed can work for everyone so long as all sleepers—kids and parents both—get regular, high-quality sleep.

Do you share the bed with your furry family members? Pets are fun to curl up with, but they have significantly different sleep schedules than people do. Animals tend to need more sleep but take their sleep in smaller chunks throughout the day and night.[5] If your pet gets up while you’re in bed, the movement and noise are likely to disturb your own sleep. Remember, too, that pet fur and dander are potential causes of allergies and congestion, making it difficult to get a good night’s sleep.[6] The easiest way to keep from having your pet disrupt your sleep is to have your animal sleep nearby, but not actually in your bed.

All in all, sharing a bed isn’t always easy. Still, since many of us sleep better with our partner right next to us, it makes sense to look for solutions before heading to the den with your pillow.

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