Follow these tips to divorce-proof your bedroom
If misery makes strange bedfellows, snoring bedfellows make for a whole lot of misery.
Not only does a partner who keeps you up lead to a bad night’s sleep, but it may also affect your daytime relationship: According to a study from UC Berkeley, a disrupted night’s sleep worsens arguments between romantic partners.
Follow these tips to smooth things over between the sheets—and to make you even closer when you’re actually conscious.
Snoring is one of the biggest problems couples face, says Steven Zorn, M.D., a diplomat for the American Board of Sleep Medicine.
“Half of men and 25 percent of women snore, and it’s a huge issue for the bed partner,” explains Dr. Zorn. “Snoring falls into two categories: simple snoring, which is the result of environmental factors, and sleep apnea syndrome, which is more serious.”
Solve it: “Generally, we advise couples to start with the least invasive option and work from there,” says Dr. Zorn. In other words, it’s time to see how effective earplugs are.
If they’re not working, Dr. Zorn suggests sewing a pocket on the back of your partner’s pajamas that can fit a tennis ball.
We know this sounds pretty strange and perhaps impractical, but here’s why it works: Snoring tends to occur more frequently when sleeping on the back. The tennis ball makes it impossible for the snorer to comfortably roll over, causing her to stay silently on her side—and hopefully allow you to drift off.
If your partner frequently wakes up gasping or sometimes stops breathing, this could be a sign of sleep apnea and should be checked by a doctor.
She can’t stop kicking. And when she’s not doing sleep karate, she’s hogging the blankets. And by the time the sun rises, you’re relegated to a tiny corner of the mattress.
Solve it: If it happens every night, a checkup is likely in order to rule out any neurological problems. But if it’s an every-so-often occurrence, limiting alcohol four hours before sleep can help lead to less restless shuteye, says Dr. Zorn.
Stress can also lead to disrupted sleep, explains Meredith Broderick, M.D., a doctor at The Polyclinic Sleep Medicine Center in Seattle.
Stress doesn’t just stem from the usual culprits, like a bad day at the office. Even an intense TV show can elevate levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the blood, which can mess with your sleep cycle.
In other words, maybe you shouldn’t binge watch Stranger Things right before bed.
THE HUMAN FURNACE
Her body heat is off-the-charts hot while you insist on sleeping with the windows closed. Either way, neither of you are feeling especially temperate . . . which leads you to feel chilly toward each other when the morning rolls around.
Solve it: Option one: Give in to the cold war. “People tend to sleep best when the room is at cooler temperatures,” says Dr. Zorn.
Next option: Raid the linen cabinets. “Having two blankets not only helps you regulate your own temperature, but it reduces movement disruptions that might wake you up,” says Dr. Zorn.
Not only that, but naked bodies next to each other can actually raise your body temperature; the blanket provides a barrier that keeps you both cool.
THE SNOOZE BUTTON ADDICT
The alarm goes off . . . and off . . . and off. By the time you’re both out of bed, you’re running late and feeling cranky.
Solve it: The extra 10 minutes isn’t doing you any favours. You’re not getting quality sleep in that extra time, and you’re confusing your internal body clock, which can make your next night’s sleep more difficult.
“The body works best when it wakes up around the same time,” says Dr. Broderick. Since that’s easier said than done, the best way to beat your snooze button fixation is to figure out what time you really need to get out of bed each morning and set the alarm for that time.
Spend a week or so recording how much time it takes you both to take a shower, get dressed, have breakfast, and get out the door, then subtract that from your ideal departure time. You’ll be more likely to stick to your routine when you know there’s no wiggle room.
THE NIGHT OWL
You may not have a bedtime, but it’s annoying when you’re ready to hit the hay and your partner is planning to stay up for hours. Or worse, when she finally slips under the covers, she wakes you up.
Solve it: “Exercise has been found to lead to a deeper night’s sleep,” says Dr. Broderick. Make sure it happens at least four hours before bedtime—any closer can make it hard to relax when bedtime rolls around.
Second, make it a priority for you both to see sunlight during the day, even if it’s just spending your lunch hour in a window-filled café. A recent study from Northwestern University finds that exposure to daylight leads to better sleep quality at night.