Tucking into bed with your partner may be a thing of the past as three quarters of couples go to bed at different times, according to a new survey done by bed makers Warren Evans. Between being stuck at the office, late night web-surfing or TV watching, couples just aren't on the same schedule anymore. And a third of respondents said that mis-matched sleep schedules end in fights, while three out of ten reported that they would stay in another room to avoid waking a partner.
Sleeping in a separate room may sound a little extreme, but it turns out partners are ruining each other's sleep by coming in late and disturbing each other. And once they get in bed it doesn't get any better— 55 percent said it wasn't unusual to be kept up by a significant other playing or reading on a tablet. Even sleeping can be disruptive — according to the survey the top two reasons for disrupted sleep were partners snoring and partners moving around, followed by other factors like stress and temperature.
Dave Gibson, sleep advisor to Warren Evans, said that part of disrupted sleep comes from trying to cram too much in the evenings. He tells The Daily Mail: "The evenings are often the only chance people get to relax and break from a hectic routine and so people want to make the most of it but this often leads to a later bedtime — meaning poorer sleep quantity and the problem of waking a partner who has already gone to bed."
Lack of sleep can lead to serious health problems in both the short and long term, and between long days and disturbed nights we're loosing out. Gibson warns:
"Not only are we getting less than the recommended safe hours of sleep, but once asleep couples are often woken by their partners. This means that they are even less likely to get their required deeper REM sleep."
We know that sleeping in separate bed isn't the ideal, so here are some sleep hacks to make sure you're getting the best sleep possible, even with a snoring partner:
1. Avoid night caps
I know that a glass of wine or seven can make falling asleep so much easier, but it actually disrupts your sleep in the long run— you've probably noticed this when you after a big night out you end up weirdly awake at 5 am and feel great just to inevitably crash that afternoon. Best to avoid booze for a good night's rest.
2. Tone down the light
I know, I know, I know— you've heard it before, I've heard it before, but we don't do it. Our body needs the signal of things getting darker to know it's sleep time, which means turning off the TV, gadgets (*cough* put down phone *cough cough*), and lights in the hour before bed. I know it's hard. I love the internet too, but it'll be there tomorrow.
3. Don't eat too much... or too little
I have been guilty of both pre-bed entire pizza and missing dinner, both of which lead to an uncomfortable tummy. You don't want to be lying in bed hungry or too full, so try to have a sensible dinner and then steer clear of heavy snacks before bed.
4. Try this breathing hack
Everyone has been talking about this recently. You breathe in for 4, hold for 7, and out for 8 with a little whooshing sound and apparently it makes your body ready for sleep. It's worth a try!
5. Have a regular schedule
Your body learns patterns, so it's really helpful to try to stick to the same sleep schedule all the time— and all the time includes weekends. It's tempting to go hard during the week and try to make up for all that lost sleep with weekend lie-ins, but this can lead to what's called "social jet lag", which basically means your body is messed up from the change in schedule. Try to be strict!
Reading is one of the best things you can do to wind down before bed, but let's make it a real book please because the glow of the screen won't do you any favors. Apparently just six minutes of reading will help you get in the mood for snoozing.
Maybe this is an obvious one, but if you and your S.O. are having trouble getting to bed at the same time why not hop into bed together and give yourself a nice solid workout to get ready for sleep? It's definitely the most fun on this list.
Images: Megan Schüirmann/Flickr; Giphy (7)