How to Sleep Better with a Partner

by | Read time: 4 minutes

You love your partner, of course – but if you’re sharing a bed with a blanket hogger or sleeping next to log-sawing snoring machine, things can get a little tense. Establishing proper bedtime protocol and habits, however, can bring you closer together and help you both get the good night’s sleep your bodies need.

After all, getting the right amount of rest can do way more than prevent morning crankiness – the benefits of sleep include helping your organs repair and supporting proper functioning of your immune system, which is of particular interest during the coronavirus pandemic.  

Ready to get some shut-eye together? Here are some helpful tips and habits to consider.

Couple Laying Together and Cuddling in Bed

Relationship Sleeping Tips

Eat earlier (and healthier)

If you and your S.O. end up digging into a whole pizza or binging on burgers and fries not long before bedtime, you could run into some serious sleep troubles. Having a full stomach can make it harder to fall asleep and increase your chances of experiencing digestive discomfort like heartburn and gas.  

“Eating with your circadian rhythm may also promote more restful sleep. By eating regularly balanced meals throughout the day, ensuring enough energy is eaten early, tendencies to overeat late at night subside,” says Jones.

Consuming large amounts of food within the couple of hours before bed may disrupt sleep quality due to the hormonal responses from that big meal. “Furthermore, diets rich in whole plant foods like green vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds are more likely to provide adequate amounts of calcium, magnesium and potassium, which can elicit a calming effect in comparison to high sodium diets,” she says. So, fill your plate with these foods instead!

Related reading: How to Get Your Partner to Eat Healthier

Talk and compromise

Different people have different sleep preferences, so it’s all about meeting in the middle. “Some are light sleepers who can barely sleep if they hear a slight noise, and others could sleep through the apocalypse,” says David Bennett, relationship counselor at Double Trust Dating.

You may have to compromise with your partner so they, as well as you, can get a good night’s sleep. “Lack of sleep can lead to a variety of mental and physical health issues (including weight gain and depression), so if you’re refusing to compromise to help your partner sleep, you could be sabotaging your relationship,” he explains.

And be kind when you communicate. “Some partners may be sensitive to any criticism related to sleeping in the same bed. As a light sleeper, I have had to deal with partners who couldn’t understand why I was reluctant to sleep in the same bed some nights, especially when I had a big day the next day and needed a full night’s sleep,” he says. This is where honest and empathetic communication comes in, as well as finding compromise on certain habits or situations when you might just need space.

Turn off technology

Turn off those phones, tablets and televisions before bed. “New research shows that screen time before bed can negatively impact sleep. If couples already are having sleep issues, removing technology from the bedroom and focusing on winding down will be helpful,” says Bennett.

Try a sound machine

The only exception to kicking technology out of the bedroom? A sound (or white noise) machine, which can be especially useful for the partner of someone who snores. Aside from providing an auditory distraction from noisy snoring, the soothing hum of a sound machine can help take your mind off the day so you’ll fall asleep faster.

Consider taking supplements

“Sleep is important to me, so I make sure that I cultivate healthy behaviors related to it, and I communicate to my partner that this is important as well,” says Bennett. “I take melatonin and magnesium before bed, and I have drastically reduced the time it takes me to fall asleep,” he explains. A popular sleep supplement, melatonin is a great natural way to relax before bed, so if your partner can be disruptive, it’s a way to get to sleep faster.

Find the right room temperature

It’s a good idea keep the room at a cooler setting, around 65-70 degrees F, because a room that’s too hot can be uncomfortable and make it hard to fall asleep. However, if your partner is always freezing and you’re too hot, it’s best to meet in the middle. So, if you need another blanket, take it.

Alternatively, consider getting a mattress where you can set the two sides to different temperatures. That way, one partner stays warm while the other is cool as a cucumber, and you don’t need to impact each other’s sleep to feel comfortable.

Sleep separately when necessary

From the outside, sleeping separately may seem like an extreme measure, or the sign of a strained relationship, but it actually could be a sign of a strong relationship if done for the right reasons or on specific occasions.

Partners who sleep together wake each other up six times a night on average. “As I mentioned earlier, this can lead to sleep deprivation, which causes a whole host of mental and physical health issues which do impact relationship quality,” says Bennett. “To sleep separately might be exactly what a relationship needs,” he says.

One compromise might be to sleep in two separate smaller beds pushed together in the same room. This can also help you adjust to sleeping in the same room—though not same bed—to then work your way up to getting back into the same bed in the future.

Looking for more info on how to get better sleep? Get our FREE Healthy Sleep Guide!