Here’s why you shouldn’t share a bed with your partner

Between snoring, kicking or sweating… It baffles me why people share beds at all.

When it comes to being in a relationship, you already have to spend so much time with the other person, sharing meals, shopping trips and family events together…

It all sounds a little bit terrifying to a singleton like me.

But even after the day is done, you THEN have to sleep in the same bed as the person? Seems a bit much.

Regardless of my opinion anyway, plenty of couple choose to snuggle, cuddle and sleep together in the same bed but while that’s probably nice for people who enjoy that, it turns out that sharing a bed with someone can be detrimental to your health.

According to METRO, it may be time to kick your better half out of bed. esearchers from the University of Leeds have found that a lack of sleep from another’s annoying sleeping habits has been linked with depression, heart attacks, early strokes and even divorce.

Researchers from the University of Leeds have found that a lack of sleep from another’s annoying sleeping habits has been linked with depression, heart attacks, early strokes and even divorce.

Sleep expert Dr. Nerina Ramlakhan advised sleeping elsewhere to prevent damaging your health or your relationship.

“Almost a third of Brits say they can’t get a good night’s sleep because they are disturbed by their partner.

So for many people it’s clear that sleeping in separate rooms might make for a better more restful sleep.”

If you can’t bear to be away from your loved one during the wee hours, perhaps an eye mask, ear plugs and a nose plug are advised.

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After about six months, our comfort levels increased and we then talked about what we needed from each other to maintain intimacy in our relationship.

The conversations continued when one of us wasn’t maintaining their role in keeping the intimacy at a level we had agreed to, and continue today as we age, change our lifestyle, deal with the joy that is emotions, and accept from time to time, we need to tweak the arrangements that define how WE do sleep.

I have capitalised WE because I believe that is the crucial bit. How Fraser and I do sleep is different to every other couple. Compared to some, the differences might be minor, but against most mainstream Western couples, our arrangements are significantly different. And that has been a whole other bunch of conversations that we have had with many people. The main focus of those conversations has been convincing others that there was, and still is, nothing wrong with our relationship.

Unfortunately the default position from which separate sleepers often have to justify their decision is that “there must be something wrong”. And yes, there is something wrong – we can’t lie next to each other in the same bed and get enough sleep to function. But there’s nothing wrong with the relationship. We still love each other, want to be together and some of us separate sleepers even manage to fit in some procreating. (It’s true – people who sleep in separate beds still have sex. I promise. We do.)

Nine years on, Fraser and I have found that people are mostly convinced our relationship is not doomed for failure. As a couple we still argue and get cranky with each other over a whole range of issues – but I figure at least we are well rested and thinking clearly when we are trying to resolve those issues.

I’m often asked if I actually want to share a bed with Fraser. My answer is ‘yes’ and ‘no’. The thought of snuggling and all that bed stuff sounds really good, but I just cannot see how it could happen with our different sleep needs and his snoring. We are genuinely happy with our arrangements and I don’t feel estranged from Fraser in any way due to our sleeping arrangements.

One thing I know is that we will need to keep talking about this part of our relationship because we are committed to each other and know that the ‘separate room’ thing requires work.

I also know that I will keep talking about our sleep arrangements to other people in the hope that separate sleepers everywhere can hold up their heads with pride, know they are not alone, and be congratulated for recognising the value and importance of a good night’s sleep and doing something about it.

And that is my bedtime story. Is it yours too?

Jennifer is a mid-40s, married woman, who is very open about the fact that she sleeps in a separate room to her husband. After discussing the topic with hundreds of people over the last three years she has written a book about the topic. The book is called “Sleeping apart – not falling apart: How to get a good night’s sleep and keep your relationship alive”, released in April 2013. Jennifer works in communications in the education sector and is always well rested, and ready to take on life’s daily challenges. She has a blog where she shares her thoughts and interesting titbits about sleeping –

Does your partner have sleep behaviour that drives you nuts?

I Want A Boyfriend But I Really Don’t Want To Share My Bed

I’m on the lookout for a boyfriend, but there’s one thing holding me back: I really want to keep my bed to myself and would consider it a pretty big sacrifice to share it with someone. I know it sounds silly but it’s true.

I’m a really light sleeper.

Ever since I was a little kid, I was always a light sleeper. My little sister’s alarm clock used to go off and I’d be able to hear it even though I was asleep on the other side of the house. Any noise, movement, or breeze will wake me up and having a boyfriend beside me will be a guarantee of not getting a good night’s rest.

My favorite sleeping pose is the starfish.

I’ve taken to sleeping with my limbs all spread out, flat on my stomach. It’s so comfortable and feels so good to stretch out. Ever since I’ve discovered this new way of sleeping, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to go back to the fetal position.

I like sleeping in a tangle of sheets and blankets.

I like to wrap myself up like a mummy when I sleep, so I kinda need all the sheets and blankets to myself. Don’t ask why I do this—it’s just habit that I’ve picked up. I feel secure with the blankets all wrapped tightly around me. If a guy started sleeping over, I’ll probably have to invest in a second duvet.

I suffer with bouts of insomnia.

It really sucks, but there are some nights when I just can’t sleep. I’ll be like a zombie the next day because I didn’t fall asleep until 6 a.m. and I’ll still have to go to work even though I feel like I’m going to pass out. I never know for sure when these episodes of insomnia will happen, so I don’t think sleeping in the same bed as someone else would be a good thing.

I do more than just sleep in my bed.

My room isn’t that big, so a lot of my activities are done on my bed. I read, write, and watch TV on my bed, so there’s not a lot of room for someone else. I keep all kinds of weird things on there. I even keep my folded laundry on there when I’m too lazy to put it away, so there’s only really room for one person.

I’m weird about cleanliness.

I shower at night because I don’t want germs or whatever else I’ve picked up from the city during the day to end up in my bed. I don’t want to force someone to shower before getting into bed because I know that not everyone is weirdly obsessive like that. So it’s probably better that I just don’t share my bed at all.

It’s not that big.

It’s a double bed so there’s JUST enough room for two people. I really want a boyfriend but I’m not ready to give up my space just yet! I’ve gotten too used to being able to spread out and am currently loving it.

Knowing someone else is in my bed makes it harder for me to fall asleep.

I have this weird thing where I think I’m going to roll over in my sleep and crush the other person’s hand. It’s totally illogical because there’s no way I’ll actually crush someone’s hand, but it’s something I think about for some reason.

I’d be tempted to just stay up and talk all night.
I was always the last person to shut up during sleepovers. Remember sleeping on your best friend’s floor and staying up until 4 a.m., staring at the ceiling and talking about whatever comes to mind? I would totally do that if I had someone laying beside me and I wouldn’t get ANY sleep.

I get hot easily.
I sleep wth a fan on because of the white noise AND to stay cool (obvi). Even in the winter, I like to sleep with the fan blowing right on me because when I get too hot, my heart starts pounding and then I can’t get to sleep. I don’t think having another body in bed will help my temperature issues.

Once I’m up, I’m up.
If my BF got up before me, I wouldn’t be able to go back to sleep. As I said earlier, I’m a light sleeper, so having different sleep schedules would be a total and utter disaster and will take away a lot of my sleep time.

I don’t know how people fall asleep in each other’s arms.
I need to be completely on my own and touching no one to fall asleep. I feel safer that way, knowing that I can stretch in any direction without worrying about hitting someone. I like to cuddle but find it hard falling asleep that way because I’m constantly waking up at every twitch or movement my partner makes.

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8 Ways To Get Comfortable Sleeping Next To Another Person

It’s no secret that I am a snuggler to the infinite power. If it were up to me, cuddling would be de rigueur for all sleeping partners. It has been brought to my attention that not everyone feels this way. In fact, turns out that everyone has totally different sleeping preferences, which makes for an interesting process when it comes to getting used to sleeping next to someone new. There’s even something called “sleep compatibility,” which apparently is just a fancy term for the fact that cuddlers do best with fellow cuddlers, white noise–fans should migrate toward other white noise–fans, and no one wants to sleep with a snorer.

The question of how to sleep next to someone comfortably is definitely an issue for plenty of couples. I’ve certainly been guilty of all kinds of offenses, including but not limited to blanket hogging, aggressive snuggling, taking up too much space, waking up in the middle of the night and freezing feet. I am not a perfect bed companion — but then, who is?

Here are a few tried and true methods I’ve used to get more comfortable with sleeping next to another human being. One note: Above all, a good old-fashioned conversation is the best way to go on all fronts. Express your needs, allow your partner to do the same, and find a middle ground if necessary for these eight sleep issues.

1. Snuggling

I’m pretty vocal about my cuddle preferences, as they’re undeniable and will make themselves known once sleep takes me anyway — might as well be upfront. It’s smart to have a quick discussion with your new partner about their cuddling preferences vs. yours. It may be disappointing to learn that your new squeeze is anti and you’re pro (high five), but it’s best to know right away.

If you’ve somehow hit the jackpot and are dating someone who loves (or hates) cuddling as much as you do, props. For the other 90 percent of us, see if you can find a compromise — snuggle as you fall asleep and when you wake up, but retreat to separate sides for the duration of sleeping hours, perhaps. Or cuddle hard a few nights a week and leave the rest of the nights for solo sleep time. Compromise is key.

2. Light Sensitivity

I sleep with a silk eye mask very similar to this one. I’m obsessed with it. I bought one for my mom and I would buy one for everyone I know, given the chance. Since I’m not rolling in billz, all I can do is recommend it and promise it’s a Jackson well spent. Though I prefer a darkened bedroom, I can fall asleep even if my partner wants to stay up late with his book. Problem solved.

3. Noise Sensitivity

I like a quiet room. I live in Brooklyn. Guess what? Those two are not mutually compatible! At about 7 a.m. when construction workers arrive next door to continue erecting a new building (right now: foundation-pouring in progress) and my roommate launches out of bed like a wild early bird, I click on a small but high-powered fan next to the bed, which drowns out the pandemonium. Others prefer a white noise machine. Still others like quiet music or the TV going all night. There are always headphones or earplugs, but that sounds horrible. Some swear by them, though.

4. Anxiety

I have been known to have trouble falling asleep. My favorite fix: Tara Brock’s amazing meditation podcasts, which pack a one-two punch of calming me down and putting me to sleep. (They are also very helpful during the day, when you’re actually trying to meditate.) See if your partner is down to pop on a meditation podcast (or a podcast of any kind — I have a friend who swears by This American Life for sleep-bait) to accelerate the sleep vibes and decelerate the stress of the day.

5. Temperature

I want to be warm at all times. One of my least favorite things in life is waking up freezing in the middle of the night. Cannot abide. If your partner happens to be an air conditioning aficionado and you’d rather die than be cold, a talk is in order. It may come to sleeping in a hat like old men of yore; do whatever it takes to stay warm. I’m famous for sleeping in a sweater or a scarf. NBD.

6. Pajamas

Night attire — or lack thereof — is vital in the sleep comfortability spectrum. If you’re having a slumber party with someone new, BYO jammies. Your future sleep-self will thank you if you slip a pair of silk pajamas, a nightgown or whatever you prefer into your overnight bag before jetting off to your boo’s place. Conversely, if you prefer to go au naturel as you snooze, let your partner know. They probably won’t complain.

7. Snoring

Thankfully, I am delighted to say that I am not a snorer, nor have I ever had to contend with one. But if you happen to be one, never fret: There are plenty in your ranks. Some have to resort to not sleeping next to a snorer altogether — AKA sleeping in different beds or different rooms — which sounds very sad to me. There are treatments for snoring, so that may be one way to go. In any event, if snoring is in your definite future, you should tell your new sleep mate. It may be a little embarrassing, but it’s better to keep them informed — plus, they’ll discover your little secret anyway. If you let the cat out of the bag, at least they know you know about it. And if it’s you vs. a snorer, there’s always those earplugs or a white noise machine.

8. Conflicting Sleep Schedules

If you’re more of an early-to-bed, early-to-rise kinda gal and your partner likes to stay up until 3 a.m. every night, this can create an issue. The problem arises only if you are woken easily and/or have trouble falling asleep again. If this is an occasional thing, you could ask your partner to sleep in another room (but my inner snuggler loathes this suggestion). In general, this is a case-by-case situation: Ideally, you’d both adjust your schedules so as to fall asleep around the same time.

Same goes for the morning: If your partner rises at the crack of dawn for work and you get to sleep till 10 (lucky you), ask your partner to sneak out of bed — you could even invest in a vibrating watch for them (or for you, if you’re the unlucky dawn-riser). If you’re engaged in an active snuggle when the watch sets off its alarm, though, beware: You’ll vibrate awake along with your partner. But maybe you’ll be OK with it, since you’ll be in such a good mood from all of the cuddling.

Want more of Bustle’s Sex and Relationships coverage? Check out our new podcast, I Want It That Way, which delves into the difficult and downright dirty parts of a relationship, and find more on our Soundcloud page.

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How Cuddling Affects Your Sleep

To spoon or not to spoon: That is the question when a good night’s sleep is at stake.

Falling asleep tucked into the arms of the one you love may sound romantic—but it isn’t always the path to sweet dreams. Sleeping side by side can yield 50 percent more nighttime disturbances than snoozing solo, making it no wonder that nearly one in four American couples sleeps separately, a la I Love Lucy. Even among bed-sharers, only 13 percent cuddle close, while 63 percent sleep without touching their partner.

It’s all too easy for the bedroom to become a battlefield for arguments over the temperature, space, the blankets, and even the size of your bed. Women are especially prone to sleeping less soundly when they’re next to a partner. (Men, on the other hand, tend to sleep better with a woman by their side.) One possible reason for the gender gap: Women may have evolved to be lighter sleepers because of their traditional role in caring for infants. Another possibility: Women may be more likely to be woken up by snoring, which is twice as common among men.

Still, there are plenty of benefits to getting touchy-feely under the sheets. Cuddling—whether you’re spooning all night long or just for 10 minutes before turning your backs to each other and drifting off—triggers your body to release chemicals that help you bond with your partner, de-compress after a stressful day, and feel downright blissful. The magic ingredient: the hormone oxytocin (aptly nicknamed the cuddle chemical). And oxytocin has myriad benefits. It relieves pain, boosts your immune system, and relieves stress. And here’s the bedtime winner—it can even help you sleep.

You don’t have to choose between pillow talk and separate bedrooms in order to wake up rested, though. Here are some strategies for sleeping better together.

Create an Ideal Sleep Environment.

Disagreements over bedroom temperature top the list of bed-sharing complaints, but there are ways to make it work. Start with a room that’s not too cold or too warm—between 60 and 67 degrees is ideal. Then, consider making your bed “European style” with a separately-folded duvet on each side of the bed. That way, you won’t be freezing when your partner kicks the blankets off in the middle of the night.

Rethink Your Bed.

A good mattress can be an investment in your health—and your relationship—yet some 28 percent of couples point to their mattress as the weak link in getting a good night’s sleep together. If you have the space, consider whether a bigger one could give you space to stretch out without interfering with each other’s sleep. Or, consider a memory foam mattress, on which you may be less likely to feel the movements on the other side of the bed. If you’re at odds over how firm each of you likes your mattress, look into a mattress made with air chambers that can be adjusted for different sleeping styles, or try two extra-long twin beds pushed together with a mattress topper to form a king-sized bed.

Confront Snoring Together.

Snoring is the third most common gripe among bed-sharers. Sure, a pair of earplugs and a white noise machine may help to cut down on the din, but snoring can be a symptom of sleep apnea, which can be life-threatening. Regular snoring has also been linked with hypertension and can increase the risk of heart disease. In other words, it’s worth seeing a doctor to sort out what’s going on.

The first night’s sleep in bed with a new partner is never easy.

First, you have to contend with the ‘dead arm’ mid hug debacle, test out whether they’re a spooner or a ‘don’t touch me’ kind of individual, then find out whether your other half is a warm-blooded sheet lover or an ‘always cold’ duvet snuggler.

However, after a while, it appears your bodies slowly start to learn each other’s sleeping habits; you acclimatise to a partner’s early morning rising, their preferred lighting and temperature, and sleeping positions that are affectionate but not disruptive to a deep sleep.

So much so, that it soon becomes hard to imagine a night’s sleep without your partner, which is something a new study titled ‘It’s More Than Sex’ claims isn’t as soppy as it may sound.

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The research involved examining the sleep patterns (sleep location and social setting) of 15 heterosexual couples.

The study found that social setting had a specific effect in heterosexual young men, who were found to sleep longer and rise later when sleeping with their partner.

And while sleeping together didn’t improve the couples’ sleep quality or quantity, nor have any affect on the sleep continuity of women, both the men and women in the study said their perceived sleep quality was higher when they slept with their partner.

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Researchers claim this perceived improvement in sleep is due to the love, trust and support partners commonly feel in close relationships.

The study supports a 2012 report by the Wall Street Journal which claimed co-sleeping was psychologically beneficial for partners.

‘Sharing a bed may also reduce cytokines, involved in inflammation, and boost oxytocin, the so-called love hormone that is known to ease anxiety and is produced in the same part of the brain responsible for the sleep-wake cycle, suggested the WSJ.

Happy slumbering!

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10 Incredible Health Benefits of Sleeping next to Someone You Love

There’s a growing body of research all about the benefits of sharing your bed with a partner.

From improving your psychiatric well-being to improving your overall health, we have the reasons why it’s great sleeping next to someone you love!

1: Experience better sleep quality

We all strive for good sleep quality but we don’t always get it, especially if we’re laying there on our own.

Did you know that sleeping beside someone, especially if you’re in a solid relationship, is a good way to help you on your path to good quality slumber?

Wendy M. Troxel, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh, unearthed that women in stable relationships fell asleep faster and had less sleep disturbances in the night than single women, or those whose relationship status changed during the experiment.

2: Fall asleep faster

Surely time taken to fall asleep doesn’t matter as long as we fall asleep, right?


A study by Northumbria University in the UK revealed that that there’s a link between time taken to fall into slumber and our overall sleep health.

Apparently ten to 20 minutes is the normal amount of time it should take you to fall asleep for good sleep health. If it takes longer than 30 minutes, then your sleep efficiency considerably drops.

However, the average time it takes someone to fall asleep is actually seven minutes.

It’s pretty common when you’re by yourself to get caught up in your own head as your mind begins to wander.

Our brains become more and more active; we begin to overthink and, unsurprisingly, struggle to get that much needed shut-eye.

According to research reported by Andrea Petersen (New York Journalist and critically-acclaimed author) in The Wall Street Journal, mental activity makes it difficult to sleep.

This is why sleeping next to someone you love is so beneficial. They’ll give you feelings of security so you begin to relax and drift off.

  • READ: 8 of the Best Yoga Poses for Sleep: Nod off Faster and Wake up Fresher

3: More restorative sleep

Have you ever wondered “Why do I sleep better with my girlfriend or boyfriend?”

Well wonder no more! It’s because having a lover in your bed will make you more likely to experience restorative sleep, which is vital for brain health.

The National Sleep Foundation has explained that sex can make it easier to fall asleep as sex boosts oxytocin (the love hormone) and lowers cortisol (the stress hormone).

For women, sex boosts estrogen levels which improves the REM (rapid eye movement) stage and leads to deeper sleep.

Don’t worry men – you will sleep just as well, too. Post-sex, oxytocin is released and it makes everyone feel super sleepy.

The Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia has shared similar findings, with sex positively influencing the sleep-wake cycle.

Leading health expert, nutritionist and author Shawn Stevenson, in the book Sleep Smarter: 21 Essential Strategies to Sleep Your Way to a Better Body, Better Health, and Bigger Success goes one step further and states that orgasms are like sedatives.

They stimulate the release of a cocktail of chemicals that can help you on your way to a great night’s sleep.

These include:

  • Oxytocin (the love hormone)
  • Serotonin (contributes to wellbeing and happiness)
  • Norepinephrine (helps to regulate sleep and balances responses to stress)
  • Vasopressin (increases sleep quality and decreases cortisol)
  • Prolactin (associated with improving the immune system, great sleep and quality of life)

There’s more! For women, a good night’s sleep will increase their sexual desires.

A study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, has revealed that there’s a 14 per cent increase in the likelihood of sex after sleeping the optimal amount, with more sleep associated with better genital arousal.

4: Lowers your blood pressure

A massive benefit of sleeping next to someone you love is that it can help you live a longer life!

It reduces the chances of life-threatening cardiovascular diseases.

Researchers from the University of North California carried out a sleep and intimacy experiment with 59 women.

They asked all participants to diarize their hugs and cuddles, with their oxytocin levels and blood pressure checked on a regular basis.

The findings were that those with the highest levels of oxytocin had the lowest blood pressure.

  • READ: (Eye-opening) Insomnia Facts: Including Causes, Symptoms, Treatments

5: Improves your immune system

Sharing your bed with your partner is likely to lead to sex which is actually brilliant for your health.

Scientists from Wilkes University in Pennsylvania examined couples who were regularly intimate.

They discovered that sexually active partners were more resistant to common colds and the flu because they produced more antibodies.

Sexual health expert, Yvonne K. Fulbright, has put it nice and neatly when she said:

“Sexually active people take fewer sick days.”

Even cuddling your lover will have you high on oxytocin and will boost your T-regulatory cells, which are key ingredients for keeping your immune system both balanced and strong.

6: Reduces anxiety

Anxiety can play havoc with your sleep, from preventing you falling asleep in the first place, to making you suffer with a restless night.

Laying beside a loved one is great for your psychological well-being.

The skin-on-skin contact sends signals to your adrenal glands (that sit at the top of your kidneys) to stop producing cortisol.

Touch is a powerful force as groundbreaking research from the University of Virginia demonstrated.

The Assistant Professor of Psychology, James Coan, administered MRIs to 16 married women and warned them they might experience some type of shock.

The MRI scans indicated that the participants were experiencing anxiety.

When the women held each other’s hands their stress levels decreased, but when they held hands with their husbands, the women became even more relaxed.

And as we learned earlier, sleeping in bed with a partner reduces cortisol and leads to a surge in oxytocin, which also helps to ease worry and fear.

7: Makes us happier

You’re more likely to feel happier when you’re physically close to someone and there’s science behind this.

Women’s Health Magazine states that:

“Touching someone releases dopamine and serotonin, both of which can boost your mood and curb depression.”

So what’s so special about dopamine and serotonin?

When dopamine, an important chemical messenger to the brain, is released in big amounts it can make you feel pleasure.

Serotonin is sometimes referred to as the “happy chemical” because it contributes to wellbeing and happiness.

Once serotonin has been produced, it can be converted into melatonin by the body.

As neuroscientist Matthew Walker explains in the international bestseller Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams, melatonin, sometimes referred to as the ‘hormone of darkness’ as it’s released at nighttime, is important as it influences the sleep/wake cycle.

It’s no wonder you feel on a high when you awake in the morning.

  • READ: 14 Health Benefits of Sleeping Early (Supercharge Your Life Tonight!)

8: Slows down aging

There’s an easy way to look and feel more youthful which doesn’t involve a stack of cosmetics.

It’s free and just involves you sharing your mattress space with someone.

Quality time together cuddling, and, having sex, can actually shed years off of you.

Scottish neuropsychologist David Weeks wrote in Secrets of the Superyoung that under these conditions and when you’ve got lower stress levels, your body feels a lot younger – 10 years younger!

9: Improves relationships

It would seem that couples that sleep in bed together, stay together.

Psychologist Professor Richard Wiseman, from the University of Hertfordshire, surveyed 1,000 people to gauge whether snuggling up to someone in bed has any effects on your relationship.

Respondents had to divulge how close they slept to their partner, the quality of their relationship, and rate their personality.

The most popular sleeping position for the couples involved were laying back-to-back (41 per cent) compared to facing the same way or ‘spooning’ (31 per cent) and facing one another (4 per cent).

The investigation showed that proximity in bed and relationships were interlinked; the closer the couples spent the night, the strong their relationship.

As cited by Harvard University and mentioned in our recent feature on ‘The Benefits of Sleeping Naked‘, skin-to-skin contact helps you to build attachment to your partner.

  • READ: 12 Health Benefits of Sleeping Naked: Ditch Your Bedclothes (Tonight)

10: Reduces inflammation

Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh firmly believe that sleeping next to someone reduces cortisol levels.

When this is reduced, so are cytokines, proteins that are involved in inflammation, and can lead to pain.

Don’t get us wrong, inflammation can be a force for good as it helps with the battle against infection and injury.

However, chronic low-level inflammation can also be damaging and has been known to play a part in many cancers, heart diseases, Alzheimer’s, type 2 diabetes and depression.

Next time you’re dreading sharing your duvet with your loved one, in fear that they might hog it, remember it’s going to make you feel great, healthier and happier!

  • READ: 68 (Surprising) Sleep Facts: Scary, Important, Interesting, Fun!

How to sleep next to a snoring partner

We’re all after a good night’s sleep – it’s not only good for our health and wellbeing, but our sanity too.

But if you share your bed with someone who snores, it can be difficult to get your eight hours. While they’re blissfully snoring away in dream land, you’re wide awake, quietly plotting how best to get your revenge.

Before you finalise your plot, though, try some of these tricks to make sure you get a good night’s sleep.

Go to bed before your snoring partner

“Going to bed before the snorer does will mean you won’t suffer from the anxiety of waiting for them to fall asleep and begin snoring, which you know will keep you awake,” comments Slumberdown’s sleep expert.

“Even if the snoring usually wakes you up, at least this way you can get a head start with your sleep and, you never know, you might even sleep through the noise when your partner joins you.”

Sew a tennis ball into the back of the snorer’s pyjamas

“It might sound bonkers but it’s one of my best tips to prevent snoring,” explains Sammy.

“Sewing a tennis ball on to the back of the snorer’s pyjamas will make it uncomfortable for them to lie on their back, which is the position most likely to trigger snoring. Instead, the snoring partner will be forced to sleep on their side and will therefore be less likely to snore.”

Try using a white noise machine

These machines are said to work wonders for people with insomnia as they drown out sounds of car horns and dogs barking. They could work for drowning out the sound of a snorer too, creating a calm and peaceful environment.

Record your partner snoring

If they’re in denial about their snoring, there’s only one thing to do – ask the snorer if you can record them.

“It may seem slightly intrusive, but recording the snoring and playing the sound back to your partner will help them to both acknowledge that there is a problem, and to understand the scale of it.

“Many snorers will spend years not actually realising how loud their snoring is. Once your partner is aware, they’re more likely to be more cooperative in tackling the problem and you’ll be in it together.”

Buy them an anti-snore pillow

If the person in question is reluctant to sort out their snoring, switch their normal pillow for an anti-snore one.

These pillows are designed to create the correct positioning of their head, supporting the neck and head to open up the airwaves.

Wear ear plugs

Sometimes there’s nothing for it but to wear ear plugs. Go for a high-quality pair that cancels out the noise, rather than those which simply muffle it, or fall out in the middle of the night.

Your relationship might be practically perfect in every way, but when it comes to sharing a bed and getting your best night’s sleep, even the most in-sync couples can find themselves frustrated. There are many compromises to be made in terms of bed real estate, sleep style and other little things — and they deserve some attention, because everyone’s their best self when they’re well rested.

“Sleep is very important to our well-being, especially for extending the longevity of life,” says Mayank Shukla, M.D., a pulmonologist and sleep doctor in New York City. “Because we spend so much of our time sleeping and together, it’s important to plan ahead with your partner. Going to bed at night with your partner should be something you both look forward to — not dread.”

See below for some common problems that affect the way couples sleep together, and expert tips for how to share a bed with your partner.


First off, if one of you snores, you’re going to want to rule out any medical reasons behind it. “Snoring can be a symptom of a bigger problem such as obstructive sleep apnea or allergies,” says Janet Kennedy, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and author of The Good Sleeper.” And snoring compromises sleep quality for the snorer as well as the partner, leaving them with daytime sleepiness, headaches, and various other consequences of sleep loss or deprivation.”

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If those aren’t at the root of the problem, there are some over-the-counter solutions the snorer can buy or take to try and reduce it. “There are a variety of devices available that can help, from pillows and sleep positioners, to mouth guards and breathing strips that keep the nasal passages open,” Dr. Kennedy adds. “Using a humidifier and saline nasal spray is also helpful.” So is side-sleeping, and elevating the head of the bed.

And then there are some steps that the non-snorer can take, too, like going to bed earlier (if possible) to hopefully be asleep by the time the snoring starts. “A larger bed can make a big difference for the partner,” Dr. Kennedy says. “Getting a few more inches of distance can really help. Earplugs and white noise might also do the trick.”

Differing Temperature Preferences

We each have our favorite sleep conditions: the ideal temperature of the room, firmness of the mattress, the right number of pillows and blankets. You have to take these on a compromise-by-compromise basis.

For example, “A cool sleeping environment — 60 to 67 degrees — is optimal for most people,” says Natalie D. Dautovich, Ph.D., assistant professor at Virginia Commonwealth University and member of the National Sleep Foundation. “However, if you differ from your partner in your temperature preferences, consider separate bedding and wearing warmer or cooler pajamas to bed to compensate.”

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In this case, it’s probably up to the person who likes to be warmer to get the extra-warm PJs and blankets. “It’s very hard to sleep when you are overheated, so it’s harder for the person who likes to be cooler to compromise,” Dr. Kennedy says. “But there are special fabrics for pajamas and bedding that can wick away moisture to keep you cooler. And mattress companies are joining the mix with better airflow and even cooling pads that can help the hot sleeper to be more comfortable.”

When it comes to firmness, you probably have to fix that at the mattress level. “Purchasing a mattress with dual comfort settings is a great investment,” Dr. Shukla says. “Mattress pads or mattress toppers are also available, but that’s a more cost-prohibitive option and, when you’re co-sleeping, both levels of the bed should be the same. If you wake up tired with an achy back, that’s a problem. Looking for a different mattress is a simple remedy. Also, give yourself a couple of weeks to get used to your new mattress — patience is key to adjusting to a new sleep surface.”

Opposing Sleep Cycles: Early Bird vs. Night Owl

As it turns out, there’s only so much control you have over whether or not you’re an early riser or late-night partier: everyone has their own “chronotype,” or body rhythm that controls your internal sleep clock, and it’s hard to fight it. “It’s important for each partner to follow their own sleep schedule and live according to their own chronotype,” says Martin Reed, a certified clinical sleep health expert (CCSH) and the founder of Insomnia Coach.

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Your chronotype may change as you get older. “We peak in ‘eveningness’ in young adulthood and gradually become more ‘morning types’ as we age,” says Dr. Dautovich.

But trying to change it on your own may lead to problems. “Night owls who try to go to bed too early often end up with insomnia, for example, because the pressure to sleep when the body is not ready triggers anxiety and frustration,” Dr. Kennedy says.

“It’s important to follow your internal cues as much as possible, even it means differing bed and wake times,” Dr. Dautovich adds. “However, light can help to shift our daily rhythms. Dim light exposure in the evening and bright light exposure in the morning can help to move your bed and wake times earlier.”

Bed- and Blanket–Hogging

You go to sleep each night splitting things 50/50, but wake up in the morning with one of you curled in a corner shivering with no blankets. There really is only one solution for this: Invest in a bigger bed, and separate blankets. “For example, you can try two twin-size comforters instead of one large comforter so that you each have your own individual sleeping materials,” says Dr. Dautovich. (This also helps if you have different ideal sleep temperatures, since one blanket can be thicker than the other.)

Ikea is launching its TOG-ether bundle to help us sleep the Swedish way

— House Beautiful UK (@HB) January 24, 2018

Incidentally, in many European countries, topping the bed with two smaller, separate duvets is the default. IKEA even tried to get what it called the “Swedish way of sleeping,” to catch on in the U.K., launching a limited-time “TOG-ether” bundle (aka a set of two twin duvets). Unfortunately, the bundle is not available in U.S. stores, but if you’re not into blanket-sharing, just know that you’re not alone.

Uninvited Guests (aka Your Kids)

Sharing a bed with one partner is hard enough as it is, but adding a child, who takes up more space and blankets than you can possibly guess, can really disrupt night rhythms.

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If you have a child who insists on waking you up at night and crawling into bed with you, it might be time for a little tough love. “Set limits!” says Dr. Kennedy. “It might feel impossible, but it is really important for kids to learn how to fall asleep and return to sleep independently. They sleep better — and are much more pleasant to be around during the day — when they can sleep on their own. And marriages can become very stressed when kids come into the bed, especially when one partner leaves the bed to make room. Parents often feel very stuck in this situation, and outside help — such as a sleep consultant — can make a big difference.”

Of course, if you as a family decide that bed sharing works for you, that’s a different story (though it’s definitely wise to brush up on the American Academy of Pediatrics’ guidelines for safe sleeping, which discourage bed sharing with babies). But if your night visitor throws your whole routine upside down, the practice of leading them back to their own bed each night will be worth it in the end.

Late-Night Wake-Ups

If one of you frequently needs to get up in the night, the important word is courtesy. “If you need to get up, then try to go in a separate room and gather yourself or relax,” Dr. Shukla says. “If you want to read or look at your phone, please don’t engage in these activities while you are next partner.” Take your book or tablet in the living room and read until you to start to feel sleepy. Then you can go back to the bedroom.

Calling It Quits

Some people are just sleep-incompatible, and that’s okay. “If you’re regularly waking up during the night or feel unrested upon awakening due to sharing a bed, consider sleeping separately for a trial period of a couple of weeks to see if your sleep improves,” says Dr. Dautovich.” Healthy sleep is important for maintaining a good mood and a positive relationship with your significant other, even if you have to sleep separately!”

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However, be wary of separate sleeping arrangements if it amounts to putting a patch over a larger problem. “It’s important that couples don’t move to separate beds unless this is the long-term goal,” Reed says. “For example, if one person has chronic insomnia and they move to the spare bedroom in an attempt to improve their sleep, they would be rearranging their lives to accommodate insomnia. That’s not a long-term solution. Even if someone sleeps better after moving to a separate room — which, in the case of insomnia, is rare — the insomnia will usually return as soon as they return to bed-sharing with their partner.”

It’s the same with snoring: If one of you moves to a different bedroom because of the snoring, you might miss out on treating one of the medical conditions that could be causing it. But if it just turns out that you sleep better in different rooms or beds, it’s better to be happy and well-rested than together and sleepless.

Marisa LaScala Parenting & Relationships Editor Marisa LaScala covers all things parenting, from the postpartum period through empty nests, for; she previously wrote about motherhood for Parents and Working Mother.

I can’t share a bed with anyone

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