Do you ever look at your partner as a barrier to your sleeping success?
Well you're not alone. In a survey of more than 1,000 Aussies across the country, 70% of Aussies complained about having to share a bed, with 60% saying they don’t get enough sleep each night. Unsurprisingly, 32% of Aussies complained of snoring partners which resulted in almost one in 10 couples sleeping in separate beds.
Other findings from the research, commissioned by
ibis hotels, revealed that almost 1 in 5 reported a complete absence of romance in the bedroom and just 29% say 'I love you' before their head hits the pillow each evening. What's going on here?!
According to sleep expert, Dr Carmel Harrington, before bed is the perfect time to reconnect with your partner in your own space, away from the pressures of work, kids, commitments and family. "Sleepiness and lack of sleep definitely affect the way we approach our relationships," she says. The more tired we are the more likely we are to want to go straight to sleep and not engage in any affection or sexual activity. It's not surprising that intimate relationships suffer."
If you share your bed and are struggling to get a good night's sleep, here are Dr Harrington's top tips to get you back on track...no separate rooms required!
1. Work out why you aren't sleeping well with your partner.
There are all sorts of reasons why sharing your bed may negatively impact your sleep. Your partner may have a sleep disorder like snoring or sleep apnoea, you may have different sleep routines or prefer a different sleeping environment. When you work out why you aren’t sleeping well in a bed together, you can take steps to fix these issues.
If your partner snores, this will definitely disturb your sleep. A few things you can try are ear plugs or a white noise generator. This will mask, to a certain extent, the noise of the snoring.
If you regularly struggle to sleep well with your partner, it is important that there is somewhere you can go to get some good sleep. So if possible have another room set up in the house that can be your "sometimes" retreat.
2. Your partner has a different sleeping environment to you.
Many couples find it difficult sharing a bed as their partner likes a warmer/cooler environment.
Make sure the bedding is appropriate for both of you. There is no necessity to have exactly the same covers as your partner as this can make for a very hot (or cold) night which will definitely interrupt the sleep process. If you feel particularly hot or cold, then having a fan or heater by your side of the bed can work wonders.
3. Make sure you set a good sleep routine for yourself.
If we have poor sleep practices and don't set ourselves up for a good consolidated sleep we will often experience fragmented sleep which will make us more aware of our partner in the bed, and sometimes we will blame them for our poor sleep when in fact the problem lies with ourselves.
To enable good, consolidated sleep we need to have our biological cycles working together. If you have decided to make sleep a priority then setting a regular bedtime is paramount. It is important to realise also that a regular bed time needs to be accompanied by a bedtime routine, such as turning off the TV, sitting in a dimly lit room, having a warm (but not hot) shower, relaxing etc - as all these activities send messages to the brain that we are preparing for sleep.