Sharing a bed with your partner is like Marmite – either you love it or hate it. Yes, there's plenty of opportunities for pre-sleep spooning but then there's the inevitable tug of war over the duvet at 2am. Plus, if you've ever slept with a snorer, you'll likely have considered relocating to the spare room. For those who are ‘pro’ bed-sharing, have you ever considered deliberately going to bed before your partner to help your relationship?
According to new research, for over half of the week (3.64 times per week), Brits are having a disturbed, broken, or bad night’s sleep - and a lot of it is down to bed sharing. That's why over a quarter of people admit to sleeping much better when their partner isn’t in bed with them, with 20% going to bed at a different time to their partner just to get some precious kip - and this may be the secret to better mental health and a stronger relationship.
According to Sammy Margo, Sleep Expert at Dreams, stress and lack of sleep can have a significant impact on couples and their home life. “People can be more prone to arguments when they're tired or stressed because fatigue and pressure can impact someone’s ability to control their emotions and respond to situations calmly and rationally,” she said. "Additionally, tiredness can lead to miscommunication or misunderstandings, which may also contribute to arguments.
“All couples need to make sleep a priority in their relationship. Couples with good problem-solving skills can overcome challenges associated with being out of sync in their sleeping and ultimately put their sleep first to benefit their relationship.”
For this reason Sammy recommends going to bed approximately 90 minutes (!) before or after your partner to help improve your quality and quantity of sleep. “If you need some time to get to sleep ahead of your partner, my recommendation would be to take yourself off to bed approximately 90 minutes before or after your partner does. This is the optimal time because it allows you to get to your deep sleep stage before the other person even gets into bed.
“This way, you still reap the benefits of the intimacy of sharing a bed with your partner, without the frustration of struggling to get to sleep next to them. Plus being open to this shows you care about your partner and their needs, it’s not a sign your relationship is on the rocks," she said.
To help navigate a healthy sleep routine with your partner, Sammy shares her top tips:
Navigate your sleep preferences
For many couples, the times before falling asleep and after waking up can be important to a strong relationship, but if you’re an “owl” and your partner is a “lark” you need to ensure you are both getting a restful night’s sleep whilst contributing positively to your relationship.
If your partner wakes up before you at the weekend, they could start their usual early-bird day and return to bed later to wish you good morning — ideally, with coffee or tea in hand. After all, a key to healthy relationships is knowing how to negotiate differences and find compromises, day, and night.
Consider separate bedding
For some cultures, separate bedding is common and the preferred way of sharing a bed. Separate duvets can reduce sleep disruptions caused by a partner’s movement and allows each partner to adjust their bedding in line with their body temperature. While separate bedding may seem counterintuitive to intimacy, it can improve physical and emotional connection by reducing conflicts over bedding preferences and allowing each partner to sleep more comfortably.
Don’t use your phone in bed
The time spent in bed with your partner can be an important part of a healthy and fulfilling relationship - promoting intimacy, relaxation, and communication. It can be a time to wind down from the day’s stresses and relax together in a quiet environment. Using your phone in bed can distract you from these moments with your partner, so I’d recommend leaving your phone on the other side of your bedroom when getting into bed.
Alone time is important too
If it’s not something you are used to doing, don’t feel guilty for taking yourself off to bed earlier than your partner if you are feeling stressed and need some time to yourself. Spending time alone before bed can provide an opportunity for relaxation and self-care which can help reduce stress and anxiety; ultimately leading to a stronger relationship with your partner.
Could this spell the end of Netflix and chill?
This article was originally published on Glamour UK.