We all know that being sleep-deprived (or hungry) often us leads to behave irritably and impulsively. It’s also commonly known that how you sleep with your partner throughout the night could be indicative of the health of your relationship as well.
These are not just urban myths or conventional wisdom. They are based on scientific studies. Being well-rested is crucial to your brain’s ability to retain memories and process or interpret the events of the day. According to Time Magazine, “sleep deprivation…is like falling into an icy river.” Your body goes into survival mode and thus impedes with your ability and willingness to converse or do any activity outside the category of the basic functions needed to stay alive will diminish dramatically.
It’s not just about being well-rested so you can be at your best self. How you guys sleep together has surprisingly profound repercussions so it’s worth paying attention to.
But how exactly do you know if your ‘sleep’ is negatively impacting your bond with your partner? And how do you address it even if you realize it does?
Having Aligned Sleep Schedules Matters
According to W. Christopher Winter, an American neurologist, it is rare that someone with whacky work and sleep schedule is able to successfully maintain a relationship.
If you and your partner have different work schedules, you can make small, two-way sacrifices to spend a bit more quality time during the hours that do overlap. Keep in mind that cooking together or having a meaningful conversation is the kind of quality time (not watching TV in the same space for hours) that you should shoot for.
One can go to bed a bit later or wake up a little earlier; you guys can take turns. Try your best to have little moments that help make you guys feel like you are going to bed together and waking up together.
Have an open dialogue and agree on what you both could do (consistently and realistically) to better align your schedules and stick to it. Be respectful of your partner’s need for sleep. Demanding that your partner sacrifice his/her sleep is never in the best interest of the relationship’s future.
So if you have to wake up earlier than your partner, find a more natural way to wake up (sunlight alarm or sound machine, for instance) more peacefully than snoozing your alarm 15 times.
Setting up Your Bed to Support Both of Your Sleep Positions
This may sound strange initially but there’s a reason why so there are so many ‘smart’ mattresses nowadays that are focused on providing the right firmness and temperature to improve the quality of shared sleep for couples.
Everyone has their own quirky sleep habits, whether they realize it or not. You each likely have different ideal sleep positions. While there’s no denying that spooning and physical contact are great for your relationship, it is also difficult to stay in the same position without having a muscle spasm.
Memory foam mattresses are best in terms of customizing the same mattress to accommodate both of your sleep habits. They regulate your sleep temperature as well as the firmness to suit your body type and sleep patterns. Do some research and invest in the right pillows (a body pillow for those who like to wrap your legs around something in your sleep), duvet, mattress pads, and sheets that will make sleeping together more naturally.
Big spoon-and-little-spoon position can be painful for the big spoon so you guys can try and get used to multiple positions that allow physical contact – holding hands, your leg on your partner’s leg, arm in arm, putting your head on his/her shoulder, etc. Find your favorite positions and make sure your bed is set up to allow you to maintain these positions effortlessly. Sleep is a shared behavior that you have to learn to form together.
Keep the Bed Sacred
You know the old saying, ‘Never go to bed angry’? That’s very important to remember. If you guys are arguing, make sure you do it away from the bed. A bed is a shared space that should remain positive and neutral.
It should be a spot that helps you heal. Keeping this rule and showing your respect to your shared sleep pad even in heated moments will solidify your foundation.
Think of your bed as the oasis from The Alchemist – a neutral territory in the desert all tribes respected even during wars so all parties have a place to safely access rest and resources.