How to Sleep Better if You Share a Bed With a Partner (2024)

  • Health
  • Preventive Health
  • Sleep

From loud snoring to thermostat battles, here's how to put your most disruptive partner sleep issues to bed.


Karen Asp, MA, CPT, VLCE

How to Sleep Better if You Share a Bed With a Partner (1)

Karen Asp, MA, CPT, VLCE

Karen Asp is an award-winning journalist and author specializing in fitness, nutrition, health, animals, and travel. She has over two decades’ worth of experience writing for leading print magazines and digital brands, including Real Simple, Better Homes & Gardens, O, SELF and more. Karen is a certified plant-based nutrition educator, certified vegan lifestyle coach and educator, and ACE-certified personal trainer and fitness instructor.

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Updated on May 01, 2023

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Samina Ahmed Jauregui, PsyD

How to Sleep Better if You Share a Bed With a Partner (2)

Reviewed bySamina Ahmed Jauregui, PsyD

Samina Ahmed Jauregui is a specialty trained sleep psychologist with expertise in non-pharmaceutical, behavioral treatment of sleep disorders. Other areas of mental health expertise include chronic illness management, pain management, and mood and anxiety difficulties that impact physical health and wellness. Dr. Ahmed has five years of experience in the field of sleep psychology.

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How to Sleep Better if You Share a Bed With a Partner (3)

Sharing a bed with a loved one is perhaps one of the most intimate things you can do. Yet while there are health benefits to slumbering with a bed partner, it doesn’t come without some issues, especially if your sleep styles don’t sync.

So does this mean you’ll need to slumber apart (a.k.a. file for a sleep divorce)? Not necessarily—there are a few strategies you can (both) try to improve your shared sleep experience, no matter what the problem is.

11 Healthy Habits That Can Help You Sleep Better

Sleeping With a Partner Has Healthy Benefits

Sleeping with a loved one comes with numerous benefits. Some of the main ones include decreased anxiety, improved insomnia, and increased relationship connection, says Nilong Vyas, M.D., board-certified pediatric sleep coach, founder of Sleepless in NOLA, a family consulting service. and medical reviewer for study published in Frontiers Psychiatry journal even found that sharing a bed was associated with roughly 10 percent more REM sleep, less fragmented sleep, compared to sleeping individually.

Plus, when you sleep with someone you love, oxytocin, the hormone of love, is released in your body. “As a result, sleep can be more consolidated and everyone wakes up more refreshed,” says Allison Brager, Ph.D., neurobiologist with expertise in sleep and circadian rhythms and a member of the National Academy of Sports Medicine’s CWC Scientific Advisory Board.

Of course, this isn’t always the case—especially if your partner is disrupting your sleep, a common issue among people who share a bed. There are numerous reasons for this, the primary being that your partner has major sleep issues of their own, like insomnia, sleep apnea, or periodic limb movements, Brager says. Other reasons include sleep schedules not being in sync and pets or kids also sleeping in the bed.

Solutions for Better Sleep if Your Share a Bed

01of 07

Set rules.

“Differences in a partner’s sleep habits can be overcome if specific rules are followed, such as turning off the TV once it’s sleep time and not having distracting sounds in the bedroom,” Dr. Vyas says. If you have pets or children, you also need to come to an agreement about whether they’re allowed in bed or not. “Having a child in the bed can diminish the benefits of sleeping with a partner and sometimes even hurt the relationship, especially if one parent isn’t on board with having a child in bed.”

02of 07

Unwind together.

Following a shared pre-bed ritual can ensure that you’ll both be on track for restful sleep. For starters, start getting ready for bed about an hour before you plan to crawl under the sheets. Kill the television at this time. Thirty minutes before bed, dim the house lights and turn off all phones. You might even consider taking a shower together, which can be relaxing in many ways, Brager says. Finish by making sure the room is dark, quiet, and cool.

Is Your Bedroom Dark Enough? Sleeping With Ambient Light Can Harm Your Health, Study Finds

03of 07

Resolve issues before bed.

You’ve probably heard you shouldn’t go to bed mad at each other, and it’s true. “When partners are stressed after a fight and still in the fight or flight mode, hormones in the body aren’t conducive to sleep,” Dr. Vyas explains. If possible, address any grievances as best as you can before you head to bed.

04of 07

Plan proactively around your sleep schedules.

Whenever you have changes in your schedule like having to get up earlier or staying up later, communicate that to your partner, Brager says. At the same time, use night lights—preferably with motion sensors—so there’s no need to turn on disruptive overhead lights. If this is happening frequently, invest in a mattress that doesn’t move too much when one partner gets in and out of bed, Dr. Vyas recommends. The Design Within Reach Matera storage bed has drawers with soft-closing guides that allow you to easily access items without disturbing your partner.

05of 07

Control your bed temperature.

Does one of you run hot and prefer a colder climate, while the other gets freezing at night and needs the room a little warmer? If so, look into bed toppers with cooling and heating properties that can be individually controlled. You can also place a fan or portable air conditioning unit near the hotter sleeper or even use separate comforters so temperature shifts can be managed individually, Dr. Vyas says.

Yes, There's an Ideal Temperature for Sleep—and Here's Why It Matters

06of 07

Sleep under separate comforters.

If you’ve ever traveled to Europe, you know that beds there are designed for each person to have his or her own sheets and duvet (the beds are often pushed together). Trying this same strategy at home may be a game-changer if one of you is a sheet hog, which is how Dr. Vyas manages this issue with her husband. Also known as the Scandinavian sleep method for its popularity in Scandinavian countries, this practical sleep solution allows you to compromise and use the weight and style of comforter most suited to your comfort levels, body temperatures, and sleep needs—without having to sleep in separate rooms or wage a nightly war over the thermostat.

07of 07

Address snoring issues.

Snoring is one of the most common complaints among partners who sleep together. If your partner snores, you can use ear plugs or a white noise machine to drown out the sound. A few more examples of lifestyle tweaks you (or they) can try to make before seeing a professional include avoiding alcohol, getting dust mite covers for pillows and comforters, trying side sleeping instead of back sleeping, or wearing a nasal strip, like Breathe Right, to open up nasal passages.

But if the snoring is serious, you should also encourage them to get evaluated for sleep apnea, which isn’t just a noisy inconvenience, but a health issue they should address sooner rather than later (for both of your sakes).

What if they’re not willing to take that step, Brager suggests it might be time to sleep in another room entirely in order to get the proper sleep you both need for overall health and well-being. “Perhaps it will convince him or her to get a sleep study and manage their sleep disorder,” she adds.

6 Nightly Techniques to Help You Get to Sleep Fast, According to Sleep Experts

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  1. Drews HJ, Wallot S, Brysch P, et al. Bed-Sharing in couples Is associated with increased and stabilized REM sleep and sleep-stage synchronization. Front. Psychiatry 2020;11:583. doi:10.3389/fpsyt.2020.00583

How to Sleep Better if You Share a Bed With a Partner (2024)


How to Sleep Better if You Share a Bed With a Partner? ›

Sharing a bed with your partner isn't a biological need, but a cultural norm, so it makes sense that you're having trouble adjusting. Neuroscience professor Roxanne Prichard said new environmental factors like noises, smells, and lighting in your partner's bedroom could be keeping your body awake.

Why do I struggle to sleep next to my partner? ›

Sharing a bed with your partner isn't a biological need, but a cultural norm, so it makes sense that you're having trouble adjusting. Neuroscience professor Roxanne Prichard said new environmental factors like noises, smells, and lighting in your partner's bedroom could be keeping your body awake.

Why do I struggle to sleep without my partner? ›

“Some people just simply get used to having someone to spoon with or to snuggle next to,” says Harris. Any change in your sleep environment can interfere with your ability to fall asleep. If you're newly single or your partner is out of town, it might take some time to adjust to sleeping solo.

Does sharing a bed with a partner affect your sleep? ›

Even though people tend to get worse sleep when they begin sharing a bed with a new partner, there are many benefits to sharing a bed with someone. According to some studies, many couples report experiencing better sleep with their partner than they do alone.

Why am I not getting restful sleep? ›

Reasons for Poor Sleep Quality. Any number of things could be contributing to your poor sleep quality. Some potential causes include poor sleep hygiene, stress, sleep apnea, or another chronic health condition or sleep disorder.

What is sexomnia? ›

Sexsomnia, also known as sleep sex, is a type of sleep disorder known as a parasomnia. Parasomnias refer to unusual sensations and behaviors, such as sleepwalking, that people may experience or exhibit while asleep, falling asleep, or waking up. In the case of sexsomnia, people engage in sexual behaviors.

What is sleep divorce? ›

A sleep divorce refers to romantic partners sleeping in different rooms rather than sharing a bed at night. We explore reasons couples initiate a sleep divorce, pros and cons of sleeping in different rooms, and when it's time to consider sleep divorcing.

Do people sleep better with or without a partner? ›

Improved sleep duration and efficiency: Research shows us that sleeping next to a partner is linked to increased sleep duration, higher sleep efficiency, and better sleep quality overall. 2 Getting a good night's sleep helps reduce stress and boosts restorative functions.

Do you sleep better with or without a partner? ›

Sleeping next to someone can also help promote deep REM sleep. Emotionally, sleeping next to someone means reduced anxiety, a sense of safety, improved sleep quality, and increased happiness. Sleeping next to someone can also create a stronger relationship bond.

Do couples sleep better alone? ›

According to The Better Sleep Council, more than one in five (63%) couples spend most of the night sleeping separately, with one in four (26%) reporting that they sleep better alone. Of those that do share a bed, one in five (20%) end up “cling[ing] to their respective corners.”

What is unsafe bed sharing? ›

Bed-sharing increases the chance of suffocation, strangulation, and SIDS. An adult bed has many safety risks for a baby, including: suffocation from a soft mattress, memory foam, waterbed, or loose or soft bedding such as pillows, blankets, or quilts.

Why do guys get sleepy around their girlfriends? ›

Touching or being around your loved one releases the “love hormone” oxytocin, which promotes sleep and can make you feel drowsy. Being with your partner makes you feel safe and secure, both emotionally and physically. This makes you feel relaxed and makes it easier to fall asleep.

How often should partners sleep together? ›

Once a week is "just right" for sexual happiness, according to a study. But there's no magic formula.

How to cure insomnia in 12 minutes? ›

  1. Want to know how to fall asleep in 12 minutes or less? It may take some trial and error, but these strategies could help cure your insomnia (at least for tonight). ...
  2. Focus on your breath. ...
  3. Find some peace and quiet. ...
  4. Take a blue light break. ...
  5. Read a book or magazine. ...
  6. Try herbal tea. ...
  7. Get comfortable. ...
  8. Try melatonin.
Jul 18, 2023

What to do if I haven't slept in 3 days? ›

  1. Napping. If you've only lost a few hours of sleep, napping could reduce your symptoms. ...
  2. Good sleep hygiene. Practicing healthy sleep habits is key to preventing and treating sleep deprivation.
  3. Over-the-counter sleep aids. ...
  4. Prescription sleeping pills. ...
  5. Light therapy. ...
  6. Breathing device.

Why can I only sleep 4 to 5 hours a night? ›

Sleep deprivation often occurs with sleeping disorders. If you cannot sleep for more than four to five hours per night (or less), you may have sleep deprivation. In addition, regular sleep interruptions from things like night terrors or "sleep starts" can also lead to sleep deprivation.

Why can't I fall asleep cuddling? ›

Researchers point out that sleeping with a partner can cause sleep disturbance, and in some cases touch may be arousing rather than relaxing, which can interfere with sleep.

What is the infatuation phase? ›

Understanding Infatuation

Infatuation often presents itself as two people falling “madly in love” with each other from the very beginning of a relationship. Intense relationships like these are usually characterized by grandiose gestures (think: The Notebook), intense physical attraction and undeniable passion.


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