Sleeping Together: How to Actually Catch Some ZZZs

You’ve figured out how to share a life with your partner, but have you figured out how to share a bed? Sometimes your bed is used for really fun things (like binge watching House of Cards) but other times you need to use it for sleep.

Two people, one bed, a million issues. Temperature, mattress firmness, snuggle interest, cover hogging, snoring, alarms, and on and on. It can be nearly impossible to actually get a restful night. So much so that more at least 12% of married people sleep in separate rooms. Experts say that solution can save a marriage—but should be a last resort because there are a lot of benefits to sleeping in the same room such as higher intimacy and lower stress. OK, so how do we make it work? Like, without smothering our snoring spouse with our fluffy down pillows?

For me, bed size makes all the difference. I cannot sleep if someone is touching me. Or breathing too loud next to me. Or so close that they might touch or breath on me. My husband and I were recently on vacation and stayed in a queen size bed. At one point we both rolled inward and ended up with our noses touching and yoga breathing into each other’s mouths. I was literally concerned about getting carbon dioxide poisoning. We have three kids, so if allowed I would have bought an Alaskan king which is even bigger. My husband correctly points out that a standard king is already too big for our bedroom and our closet door doesn’t fully open but SO WHAT? It’s worth it. Hell, I would rappel into our bedroom through the window if that had been what was required to get a king size bed.

A big bed works for us. I know other couples who stagger sleep times so the night owl doesn’t keep the other awake with electronics in the bedroom. Another couple knows one spouse is sleeping on the couch if they drink red wine because it makes them snore. For some a TV helps and for others it doesn’t. Some have fancy sleep machines or fancy beds or fancy sleep gadgets. Some have fancy spouses who just sleep without issue. I don’t think they sell those at Brookstone, but what a great idea!

Getting a good night’s sleep makes you better at everything, including marriage. It’s worth trying anything to make it work in the same bed—earplugs, mouth guards, noise machines, separate covers, dual firmness mattresses. But more than that, sleep issues require communication and compromise just like every other thing about marriage. Bummer right? Eventually there will be some problem we can fix by not talking and getting everything we want. There has to be! Let’s sleep on it.