Today is World Sleep Day, so it feels like the perfect time to talk about how hard it can be sharing a bed with someone — even when you enjoy the company of that someone very much.
According to a recent Koala survey, around half of all Australians are woken up by their partner’s movements through the night — with 55 percent of these people being woken up multiple times. Yikes.
Short of moving into your own bedroom, or just accepting you’re destined for a life of midnight interruptions, here are eight tips that will help you get a good night of sleep, even with someone sleeping next to you.
#1 If you and your partner run at different temperatures, look to your pyjamas — not you bedding
Being the cold one in your relationship is hard — but being the person who’s constantly needing to kick off the sheets because you’re sweating to death isn’t exactly peachy either. Sharing sheets, blankets, and a doona can be difficult for couples who prefer different temperatures when sleeping, so it doesn’t make sense to rely on these items to keep both people appropriately cool or warm. Instead of focusing on your bedding, consider your pyjama situation. If you run cold, try layering on some warmer PJs before you ask to put another blanket on the bed.
#2 When buying a mattress, opt for one designed to sleep two people with minimal disturbance
One of the hardest things about sharing a bed is being woken up every time your other half decides to roll over, get up, or shift around trying to get comfortable. The best way to avoid this being a major problem is to invest in the right mattress. If you’re looking for a mattress on the firmer side — which most people are — Koala’s Zero Disturbance mattress ticks all the boxes. Foam mattresses limit how much movement can be felt from your partner’s tossing and turning, which can be a major game-changer.
#3 Considering sizing-up your entire bed
If you have the space — and the funds — upgrading your bed to a bigger model can make the world of difference to couples who find themselves competing for space in a double- or queen-sized bed. If space is tight, look for a bed frame that doesn’t extend the footprint of your bed beyond the size of your mattress.
#4 And consider going for a bigger doona too
Oh, blanket stealing — it’s a classic couple sleeping problem. If you find yourself being accused of hogging the blanket, or constantly wake up freezing because your partner hasn’t left enough doona to keep you warm, getting a bigger doona or blanket can be a quick fix. On double beds, a queen-size doona will still hang nicely on your bed, while still giving both you and your bed partner some precious extra material to work with while you sleep.
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#6 If you have the space, keep your bed in the centre of your room
Nobody likes having to crawl over someone to get out of bed in the middle of the night. If your bedroom allows, prioritise placing your bed somewhere both you and your partner have space to get in and out of bed easily, with limited disruption of the other person.
#7 Forget the idea that couples should go to bed at the same time
According to 2017 research, genes may play a big part in how much sleep we need, and what time we prefer to go to bed. While it sounds cute to have the same evening routine as your partner, for some couples, it’s just not reasonable. If you naturally prefer going to bed around 9pm, you’re not going to be operating at your best if you’re staying up with your partner until midnight each night. Similarly, if you’re a night owl, forcing yourself to go to bed with your partner earlier is an easy way to find yourself staring at the ceiling for a couple of hours.
#8 If a noisy sleeper is keeping you up, try a white noise app
I’m a huge advocate for the myNoise app, which is free and literally life-changing. While I personally find earplugs too uncomfortable to sleep in, white noise drowns out traffic, noisy sheets crinkling with every movement, and anything else that might normally wake me up through the night.
(Lead image: Koala)