So, you and your partner have been spending more and more nights together, and may be considering co-habitation. The only problem is, sharing a bed isn’t always easy. Here are some tips to help sleeping with your partner become a more rewarding and restful experience.
Be kind about your partner’s medical needs.
When you first started dating, your partner didn’t wear her retainer to bed. Likewise, you didn’t tell your partner about your terrible snoring and the nose strips you wear when your sinuses get out of whack. When you share a bed on a regular basis, you and your partner will need to attend to your personal medical needs. Be kind about your partner’s sleeping needs, and upfront about your own. Overnight acne creams, mouth guards to prevent teeth grinding, retainers, and nose strips are all a part of life, and all things that get taken care of while sleeping.
If you or your partner has a more serious condition like sleep apnea or night terrors, you need to have a serious conversation about the nature of the problem and what the other partner can do to help. Having that conversation will help you both sleep more comfortably.
Flip the mattress every few months.
Sleeping with a partner affects your mattress differently than sleeping alone. When you sleep by yourself, you probably spread out over the bed or sleep right in the middle. You probably wouldn’t notice if your mattress got a little warped, because you would just roll to a comfier spot. Two people sleeping in the same bed don’t have that option.
When two people share a bed, the weight distribution will cause the middle of the mattress to sink in, while the edges of the mattress will stay higher and slope inward. If you don’t flip your mattress every three months or so, you’ll both end up piled in the middle, struggling to find an even place to sleep.
Use cotton or flannel sheets for absorption.
Satin sheets are great for nookie, but it’s inevitable-you and your partner will sweat in your sleep. In the summer, the extra body heat in your bed will make you sweat even more. I recommend lightweight cotton sheets to draw the sweat away and still allow air to circulate underneath. In the winter, the heavy blankets you pile on your bed will also make you sweat. Use flannel sheets in the winter for extra warmth and their super-absorbent properties.
Everyone gets the good side.
Make both sides of the bed equally appealing so that neither you nor your partner will resent the side you end up sleeping on. Instead of putting your bed in a corner or against the wall, allow enough open space on both sides so that you and your partner have room to get in and out of bed without climbing over the other. Both sides of the bed should have a nightstand for a reading light, eyeglasses, water, or whatever personal items you’re used to having handy. You should each have your own alarm clock to minimize the disturbance to the lucky partner who gets to sleep in later.
When the alarm goes off…
When the alarm goes off, respect the partner who is still trying to sleep. Turn the darn thing off and get out of bed. If one of you is desperately attached to the snooze feature, set rules for how many times you can hit the snooze button before violence is an option. Seriously, there’s nothing worse than being woken up an hour before your alarm goes off and not being able to go back to sleep.
Deal maturely with arguments.
All couples fight from time to time, but that shouldn’t make sleeping an issue. Ideally, you and your partner will agree to resolve arguments before you go to sleep, but this doesn’t always happen in the real world. Come up with a plan for when one of you needs to sleep somewhere else for space because of an argument when you are making your sleeping arrangements. That way, you won’t have a second argument on your hands at bedtime.
Traditionally, the man is expected to sleep on the couch, but that idea is antiquated (and makes no sense for gay couples or feminists). Every couple will come up with different solutions to this problem. In some cases, one partner doesn’t mind sleeping on the couch. In others, the person who is too angry to sleep with the other is responsible for sleeping outside the bed. Sometimes, a close friend or relative to one of the partners lives close by and is willing to lend a couch or spare bedroom.
Give your partner room to be sick.
When your partner gets the flu, she may not want to share the bed. Give your partner room to be sick in bed without adding to her discomfort. Offer to sleep somewhere else as a token of kindness, and discuss what would make your sick partner most comfortable. Likewise, if you’re dying of the chicken pox, you don’t want your partner too close while you try not to scratch. Giving up your half of the bed temporarily to accommodate a sick partner will make your relationship seem that much closer when the illness has passed.