Relationships

Sweet Dreams Tips for Cohabitating Couples

Regardless of if it’s love at first sight or slow, hot burning love—many couples just aren’t compatible between the sheets. Get your mind out of the gutter; I’m talking about sleeping together soundly…getting actual, quality sleep.

If you’re not in sync with their partner’s sleep habits (perhaps he or she snores, tosses and turns, or likes to sprawl out and hog all the sheets) it can cause irritability, hostility, and relationship strain. Here are eight tips to help you achieve happily-ever-after in your dreams…

1. Banish Sleep Distractions

Don’t invite other factors into the bed with you and your partner—such as computers, television shows, e-readers, meals, pets, and kids. All of these distracting factors can cause stress in your bedroom and disrupt your sleeping schedules. I mean, it’s insulting to go to bed with your wife and 400 of her closest Facebook friends! Studies from NASA’s Fatigue Countermeasures Program at the Ames Research Center, confirm that light from electronics (or any device with a backlit screen) creates “cognitive stimulation,” which disrupts melatonin production and throws off the calming circadian rhythms needed for a peaceful night’s sleep.


2. Bedroom as Sanctuary

Take back your bedroom as a couple for its intended purpose—sleep and love-making. The only thing you should be cuddling up to between the sheets is your partner and not falling asleep to your husband’s snores over the playoff game. If you designate the bedroom for these few intimate and soothing activities, you will automatically be calm and comfortable when you enter.


3. The Snore Factor

I know many couples (even newlyweds) who sleep in separate bedroom because one spouse snores loudly. According to the National Sleep Foundation, snoring inflicts more than 75 million American bedrooms, which leaves little doubt why one in 4 couples sleep in separate beds and list snoring among the top three reasons for divorce and relationship breakdown. Snoring is mainly a positional affliction that occurs when airways are restricted (i.e., back sleepers). However, it can be fixed by simply getting your partner to roll over and sleep in the fetal position.


4. If Snoring Persists

Enlist help from your grumpy bear in the following ways to cut down snoring:

  • Elevate the head—using pillows, a folded blanket, or a piece of memory foam.
  • Buy a bed with an adjustable head—you may even find a model that adjusts separate sides.
  • Sew a tennis ball on the back of the snorer’s PJs to prevent them from sleeping comfortably on their back.
  • Talk to your family doctor about sleep apnea and associated sleeping aids.

 

5. Refrain from Eating Before Bed

Many individuals crave a nighttime snack before bedtime. However, if you eat too close to hitting the hay; you’ll undoubtedly toss and turn due to insufficient digestion. Not only does the body need a few hours to properly digest food—laying in the prone position works against gravity and makes food more difficult, more uncomfortable, and slower to digest. It’s no wonder you can’t sleep! Make sure nighttime snacks are consumed at least 3 to 4 hours before you go to sleep.


6. Don’t Rely on Alcohol for Sleep

Many of us assume that having a drink prior to bedtime will improve sleep. However, relying on alcohol as a sleep aid is counterproductive. In fact, according to a study published in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research by the London Sleep Center, in the UK, sure, alcohol-induced slumber will make you doze off faster. However, you will wake up more often during the night and wake less rested if you drink partly due to the fact that sedatives relax the throat muscles—thus exacerbating snoring.


7. Create a Pre-Bed Ritual

Part of retraining yourself and your partner to sleep better is creating new, healthy sleep habits or rituals to help you sync up your sleep schedules. For example, the American Sleep Disorders Association recommends partaking in relaxing activities before slumber—such as a warm bath or shower as a couple, burning calming aromatic candles, giving each other massages, or mediating—all activities that  encourage the production of melatonin and help the body prepare for sleep.


8. Set One Alarm

My husband typically wakes up at 7 in the morning. I, on the other hand, don’t typically rise until 8 in the morning. We also tend to go to sleep at varying times. It’s no surprise that our mismatched sleeping and waking schedule causes sleep deprivation. Sleep Services experts at Florida’s Pritikin Longevity Center & Spa say no good, couples should create a pattern of going to bed and rising at the same time every day for better quality, refreshing sleep…and that includes weekends!

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