Most couples in long-term relationships end up sleeping together in the same bed—but that can be a problem for one or both lovers. Sleep is an important component of your health, and if one person makes it harder or impossible for the other to get a good night’s sleep, the other partner will suffer the consequences, and may grow resentful of the offending partner.
Incompatible sleeping habits could include snoring, tossing and turning throughout the night, going to bed and waking up at different times, and preferring different mattresses or temperatures for sleeping. So are couples with “incompatible” sleeping habits doomed to a failed relationship?
How to Overcome Conflicting Sleeping Habits
Fortunately, there are many ways you can correct the situation:
- Start with a conversation. The first and most important step you need to take is an open conversation, in which you both discuss the problem. This can be awkward; for example, if one partner is snoring, they may feel embarrassed, and the non-snoring partner may be hesitant to bring it up. However, it’s vital that you state your preferences, your problems, and any proposed solutions you may have out in the open. Only when the door is open for both parties can you begin discussing various solutions. If you’re the one initiating the conversation, be patient and respectful, but also direct. Express your needs clearly and honestly. If you’re the one responding to the conversation, have an open mind, take no offense, and truly listen to what your partner is saying.
- Explore home remedies. After you’ve had a conversation, you can try some home remedies for whatever’s happening between the two of you. If one partner is snoring, for example, you may try positional changes or nasal strips that allow easier breathing. If one partner is a chronic insomniac, they may try herbal teas or mindfulness meditation to give them a path to better sleep. Both partners should be looking up potential solutions and trying them here.
- Find a compromise. If the home remedies and solutions aren’t working, you’ll probably need to change the scenario in which you sleep—and that means finding a compromise. For example, if one partner is consistently several hours late to bed, and that disruption interferes with the other partner’s sleep, perhaps you can both go to bed at a time somewhere in the middle. If one partner hogs all the covers, perhaps you can bring new covers into the room. If one partner is always cold and one is always hot, perhaps you can alternate the temperature on certain days of the week.
- Invest in new solutions. If your compromises aren’t working out, you’ll likely need to spend some money if you want to solve the problem. You may find temporary relief with over-the-counter sleep aids, or prescription sleep aids if the problem is severe, but these are often habit-forming and shouldn’t be used as a long-term solution. Instead, you can invest in a higher quality mattress, or one that allows individualized settings on different sides of the bed. If your partner is a chronic snorer for whom conventional prevention methods don’t work, surgery may be a viable alternative.
- Sleep in separate beds or rooms. Don’t make the situation any more complicated than it needs to be. If you’ve tried diligently to experiment with home remedies, try compromises, and invest in other features, it may be better if you and your partner sleep in different beds, or even in different rooms. It’s not as uncommon as you might think, and some couples find themselves much happier when sleeping separately. Even if you only sleep separately half the time, it could be enough to restore some healthier sleeping habits.
Trial and Error
Chances are, no matter how willing you both are to solve the problem, it’s not going to correct itself in one night. You’ll need to work together, trying different arrangements and alternatives until you’re both comfortable with the circumstances. No relationship can survive if only one partner is getting sleep regularly, so keep trying new things until you find a mutually agreeable solution.