Although a lot of us tend to romanticize the idea of sleeping with a partner, the truth is that sharing a bed often isn’t as easy as it seems.
Whether one of you is a blanket hog, a snorer, or just a restless sleeper, there are any number of reasons why you or your partner could be losing more precious hours of sleep than you can really afford.
Although sharing a bed can often feel more like a circus act than the nonstop cuddle-fest you might have been hoping for, with the help of the right tips and tricks, you and your partner will be catching sweeter ZZZ’s in no time.
Here are some of our favorite ways to improve your sleep when sharing a bed!
Get the Right Kind of Mattress
First of all, there’s a good chance you’ll want to have a look at your mattress.
Many people have a tendency to take their mattresses for granted, but there’s actually quite a bit more variety on the market than you probably expect.
There’s a whole science to mattress design – and if you know what you’re doing, you stand to majorly improve your sleep.
The Power of Motion Isolation
If you’re sleeping with a partner, one especially important aspect of your mattress is its motion isolation.
If your partner tends to be a somewhat restless sleeper – maybe they toss and turn a lot, or get multiple times throughout the night – you don’t want to be waking up every time they move.
Thankfully, with the power of motion isolation, those sleepless nights can soon be a thing of the past.
Basically, all motion isolation really means is your mattress’s ability to contain motion, rather than letting it transfer to you.
Maybe you’ve seen one of those late night commercials with the wine glass on the bed.
You can jump up and down as much as you like, but the wine stays exactly where it is.
Similarly, in a mattress with good motion isolation, your partner can move around as much as they like – as long as they aren’t directly touching you, you’re not going to feel a thing!
The Best Mattresses for Motion Isolation
If you’re considering investing in a new mattress sometime soon – and if you’re like a lot of Americans, there’s a good chance you should be! – there are a number of really affordable products out there specifically designed for couples.
In general, you’re going to want to look for anything with memory foam.
Memory foam is naturally good at absorbing all kinds of motion, regardless of how restless you or your partner may be.
Additionally, many of the latest innerspring mattresses are getting better and better with motion isolation, as well.
Specifically, look for products featuring pocket coils.
Unlike traditional innersprings, which tend to feature a solid coil core that hangs together as a single unit, pocket coils are arranged in rows and columns.
Each spring contracts and expands independently in response to the indent of your body, so there’s no way for your partner’s movements can make their way across the bed to you.
If you’re interested in learning more about the options available today, check out our complete consumer guide here.
Get the Right Mattress Size
In addition to getting the right kind of mattress, you’re also going to need to make sure your mattress is the right size.
In general, most couples don’t tend to do well on anything smaller than a queen.
If you and/or your partner like to take up a bit more space while you sleep, you might want to consider upgrading to a king, or maybe even a California king!
Keep in mind that the bigger a mattress you get, the less you and your partner will have to worry about.
Consider a “Dual-Comfort” Mattress
Even with a good-sized bed and quality motion isolation, however, there still remain a couple reasons for trouble in paradise when it comes to your mattress.
This is because not everyone has the same preferences when it comes to their sleep environment.
The most typical concern links back to your mattress’s firmness level.
Not everyone likes the same degree of firmness while they’re trying to get to sleep, and if you end up with a mattress that’s too soft for you or too hard, it’ll be practically impossible for you to get a good night’s sleep.
Thankfully, though, your mattress’s firmness level doesn’t have to be a compromise between you and your partner anymore.
Instead, you can both sleep in the comfort you need with what many companies are calling a dual-comfort mattress.
These kinds of mattresses are seamlessly split down the middle, so you and your partner can both pick the material you’d like best, while still sharing the same bed!
The Helix is the most highly-rated mattress to use this technique.
You can check out our full review of it here.
Try Sleeping With Separate Blankets
But of course, a bad mattress is just one of many problems that may plague a couple when they’re trying to sleep.
Another common issue is, of course, the bedding.
Maybe your partner is just a blanket hog, and you tend to wake up halfway through the night freezing because they’ve taken all the covers.
Or maybe your partner is trying to reconnect with their Nordic roots, and likes to keep the room at some ridiculously low temperature!
Whatever your cover-concerned conundrum, there’s a good case to be made for sleeping with separate blankets.
After all, your partner can’t hog the blankets if you’re each sleeping with your own!
What to Do If Your Partner Snores
Another common problem couples face is that of snoring.
This is a particularly common complaint among women, since men are substantially more likely to be the cause of the problem.
Couple this with the fact that women in general often have more trouble sleeping than men, and it’s not hard to see why snoring spouses is such a frequent cause of lost sleep.
One option, of course, is to simply block it out with things like earplugs or soothing music.
However, there’s a substantial chance your partner’s snoring is affecting their sleep just as much as it is yours.
This is because many snorers suffer from sleep apnea, a condition brought on by repeated interruptions in airflow throughout the night.
Your soft palate droops down into the back of your throat, leaving you choking for a few seconds.
This forces you awake to breathe – though only for a moment, and not long enough for you to even remember it in the morning.
These frequent awakenings prevent the brain from progressing into the deeper, restorative stages of sleep, so you wake up feeling just as tired as when you went to bed!
Even if your partner isn’t suffering from sleep apnea but is just a really terrible snorer, it’s still a good idea to consult a health professional about what to do.
They may try hooking your partner up to a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, which keeps the windpipe open and prevents both sleep apnea and snores.
Although CPAP is effective in the vast majority of cases, if the snoring and/or sleep apnea is especially bad, some manner of minor surgery might become necessary.
Should You Be Sharing a Bed at All?
Now, with all these issues cropping up for couples around sleep, you might be wondering whether sharing a bed is actually worth it at all.
It’s certainly tempting to just give up on sleeping together entirely, and just get separate beds – and in fact, according to a survey reported by the New York Post, an astounding 46 percent of Americans in a relationship said they’ve considered the possibility!
And it’s true, catching your shut-eye in the same bed as another person frequently leads to disturbed sleep (again, especially among women).
Because of this, some sleep experts have even gone so far as to advocate for independent sleeping – a trend that’s been gaining some traction in recent years.
However, while bed-sharing often leads to some pretty obvious challenges, there’s a growing body of evidence that suggests it might make a real impact on your psychological health.
People crave physical connection.
Cuddling has been shown to reduce stress in multiple ways, decreasing levels of the stress hormone cortisol while boosting levels of the happiness hormone oxytocin.
Sleeping in the same bed as your partner stimulates intimacy – and not just when it comes to sex.
According to the same survey mentioned above, the happiest couples were those who slept together.
Those who say they never sleep separately were more than twice as likely to rate their relationship “10 out of 10” – and the better a person’s overall sense of wellbeing, the better their sleep tends to be.
So while there are a lot of striking disadvantages when it comes to sharing a bed, at the end of the day, the pros far outweigh the cons.
In any case, there’s really no reason why we should take it as given that sleeping with a partner will mean worse sleep.
There are a lot of options out there to get around this, and with persistence and mutual cooperation, you’ll be sleeping like an angel before you know it.
Good luck out there, lovebirds!
Updated at September 6, 2021