Sleep Incompatibility: Eye-Opening Solutions for Couples

You and your partner may be the best of friends during the day, but what happens at night? If you're not sleep compatible, your relationship can suffer, as can your physical and mental health. You can't sleep poorly every night, so you have to find a solution. The first thing to do is figure out what's wrong with your sleeping arrangement and, together, agree to fix it.

If you're up at night, restless and suffering because you can't sleep, while your mate snores deeply beside you, something's gotta give or you'll end up sleeping apart. For some people, that really is the best solution and, with some mutual understanding and alterations in lifestyle, the story can end happily, right there. But for many couples, sleeping apart means losing intimacy and both partners will end even more miserable.

There are many reasons for sleep incompatibility. Some are as simple (and easy to resolve) as different bedding preferences (you like a heavy quilt; he likes a thin blanket), while other issues, such as one partner snoring or kicking, or very different sleep cycles, can be a little more complicated. A serious sleep disorder usually requires the intervention of a physician or sleep specialist. Other problems, such as bedtime differences or one partner's need to keep a light on and read in bed, or use a laptop late into the night, may require some negotiation and compromise on both sides, or maybe all you need to do is buy your partner a non-intrusive book light.

The good news is: there is a mattress solution for almost every incompatibility problem. Maybe all you need is a larger mattress so you both have a little more legroom. If body or room temperature is causing a conflict, consider a mattress pad with dual temperature controls. You can also use two twin beds pushed together, or a king-size bed fame fitted with two extra-long twin mattresses. That way, you can have your own, preferred type of mattress and bedding and still be close enough to cuddle.

If you cannot solve your compatibility problem by purchasing a new mattress, you may have to make some lifestyle changes. If you disturb your partner because you get up in the middle of every night to use the bathroom, or for some other reason, think about how to do it without causing so much of a disturbance. For instance, if you've been turning a light on in the bedroom, can you find your way out in the dark and depend on a hall nightlight instead?

Do you have to climb over your mate in the middle of the night or to get up earlier each morning because your bed is in a corner? If you can't move your bed, you may have to switch sides so that you can slide out unnoticed. It takes some practice to adjust to sleeping on the other side of the bed than what you are used to, but it can be done. Another way around this problem is to sleep in a bed with no footboard, so you can slide down to the bottom and get up from there.

If, after much consideration, sleeping apart seems to be the only solution, try it. Once you start sleeping in separate rooms, both your health and your relationship may improve in unexpected ways. You'll not only get a restful nights' sleep every night, you can have fun being more creative about when, where, and how you are intimate.



Rush University Medical Center: Sleep Tips. Web 24 Jan 2011.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Healthy People 2020-Sleep Health. Web. 24 Jan 2011