Getting to sleep easy with your partner could be bad for your relationship and your health according to reports by the BBC. One study found that doubling up in the same bed can lead to approximately 50% of sleep problems. Unfortunately we all need sleep and if we don’t get enough of it, we quickly become moody, irritable and curt especially toward those we live and work with. How can we sleep easy and get uninterrupted deep sleep that is so important for our health and well-being? Why can some of us sleep in any situation while others find it hard to fall sleep?
A recent study released this week in the Current Biology found the answer may be tucked in sleep spindles or bursts of brain activity that occur only during sleep. The more spindles that are produced in the brain’s thalamus the more likely a person will stay asleep during the night despite outside influences. The thalamus is the part of the brain that conveys senses and the spindle is responsible for blocking sounds, even your partners snoring and sounds created by tossing and turning.
Women tend to sleep more deeply and are less likely to be disturbed by sharing a bed while men sleep lighter and are more vulnerable to their partner’s movements. This might be due to a woman feeling safer with her partner by her side and the husband always on the alert…or sleeping with “one eye open”, as he is expected to be the protector in case of any emergency situation. Over time men show increased stress hormone levels and reduced mental abilities. If you share a bed with your partner here are some common sleep disturbances and ways to minimize interrupting your partners sleep.
Do you or does your partner steal the covers? Taking the covers from your partner causes them to have a change in body temperature which will wake them up. No need to sleep in separate beds, just replace your double, queen or king blanket with two single ones and that way each will have their own without disturbing the others sleep. Usually cover stealing is a result of tossing and turning. Unfortunately most mattresses cause the entire bed to move because they are single spring reinforced and as the mattress ages each partner’s weight will distort their side of the bed and eventually causing a downward slope right to the middle. Some mattresses come with an anti-roll technology which separates the springs on each side of the bed. Other suggestions would be to buy two single bed mattresses for a king size bed or even better (and cheaper) a memory foam mattress pad topper to reduce or even eliminate movement from one side of the bed to the other.
Do you or does your partner snore? Some people snore every night while some only snore occasionally due to congestion from dry air or an illness. Snoring can be disastrous for your partner and has caused many couples to sleep in separate bedrooms. Suggestions; don’t sleep on your back, use anti-snore nasal strips or nasal spray, try a humidifier or cold remedy like Nyquil if feeling ill. For those with a chronic snoring problem it may be recommended to see your physician as snoring can be caused by sleep apnea, a condition that triggers a person to stop breathing periodically during the night due to an obstruction in their air passage way.
Eventually scientists will create a drug or device that will help the brain to produce sleep spindles naturally so for those that sleep lightly, either at home or away, can sleep without interruption despite external noises/movements that can be controlled or not. There are 40 million Americans that suffer from sleep disorders including sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome and insomnia and many more don’t get enough sleep just because they are stress about work and the economy. They take their work home and stay up too late then they toss and turn because they haven’t prepared their mind and body to fall asleep easy. Establishing a nightly routine like taking a warm bath, reading a book or snacking on foods full of tryptophan will help make you drowsy and relaxed.
Today couples sleep together…. tomorrow evidence may suggest that sleeping apart will be the norm regardless of what people might say about their “love life”. Sleeping apart can make the time spent together more meaningful and both partners are less likely to be grumpy or irritable with each other. It is funny or not, but the well-to-do couples from the Victorian era had a bedroom just for intimacy and then they retired to their own bedroom for the night. During the industrial revolution many middle to lower class families had to live in smaller spaces causing people to share beds. So it was really for monetary reason we started to share a bed than it was a romantic one. Some of us are lucky we can sleep together without being disturbed during the night while others of us have to make do with alternative solutions until science or public opinion provides answers to how we can sleep easy. The content provided is for information purposes only, intended to raise the awareness of different solutions for sleep problems and should not be considered medical advice. For medical diagnosis and treatment, please see your qualified health-care professional.