Having sex with your partner for the first time is a special occasion, for sure. But the first night you spend really, truly sleeping together gets you to a whole new level of intimacy. There's something so sweet, blissful even, about waking up next to your significant other after being tangled up in each other for several hours. After the honeymoon phase passes you by, though, you might lose the fresh excitement over the mere prospect of mutual bedtime. Pretty soon, you kiss each other goodnight and roll to your respective sides of the bed, and that's that.
There are ways to keep the intimacy rolling in the sleep realm, though — even if you've been together for a long time. Manhattan-based therapist and relationship expert Amber Madison says that emotional intimacy, combined with physical availability, is the special combination you need for a satisfying, long-lasting relationship — and a lot of that work takes place in the bedroom.
Cotton USA conducted a poll of 1,000 Brits which showed that there is a direct correlation between sleeping habits and healthy relationships. Clearly, how you sleep together matters.
Read on for the poll's findings, and seven tips to keep you close(r) all night long.
1. Ban Electronics In Bed
There's nothing sexy or intimate about a couple independently staring blankly at two iPads as they're lying in bed next to each other. It's a total buzzkill. Owner of Bikram Yoga Lower East Side Tricia Donegan recently revealed in Marie Claire that she has a strict "no electronics" rule in her bedroom, and it makes the nighttime routine with her long-time girlfriend all the more enjoyable. Instead of responding to emails, they can catch up on their day and quietly snuggle up for a good night's sleep.
Science shows that the lights emitted from our phones and laptops could disturb our sleep patterns, as well as our attempts to get cozy with our partners. When you climb into bed together, make sure it's just the two of you, free of distractions. So you can chat, or whatever...
2. Get Naked
You probably used to sleep naked together all the time when you first started knockin' boots. But it's never too late to get nude once again — or at least invest in some cute sleepwear. Skin-on-skin contact, including non-sexual touching, is key to feeling close to each other. You're also more likely to cuddle if you're undressed.
The Cotton USA poll showed that 57 percent of couples who slept nude reported being in happy relationships, while only 43 percent of nightie wearers said the same. Madison says naked contact keeps a couple joyful, despite the stress they encounter during the day. Another bonus? Your sleeping temperature will also be more regulated.
3. Experiment With Cuddling Positions
A recent study conducted at the Edinburgh International Science Festival proved that couple's sleeping positions reveal a lot about their level of intimacy. Touching during sleep is connected to closeness between partners. Ninety-four percent of cuddling couples say they are in great relationships, while only 68 percent of non-touching folks said the same.
It's important to find which version of cuddling will suit the two of you best, because being intertwined clearly makes for blissful sleeping. To start, figure out how each of you like to fall asleep — maybe you on your side, them on their back. Then you can start playing with different variations, like classic spooning, or your head on their chest.
4. Turn On Some Soft Tunes
Researchers at Aoyama Gakuin University's Psychology department conducted a study showing how music can enhance attraction amongst couples and make them feel closer to each other. Even if it was a song playing in the background, romance seemed to fill the room a bit more when tunes were involved.
Replace the TV with a Spotify playlist with some relaxing songs. What we put in our brains right before sleep matters; it sets the tone for our dreams and how we wake up. If you want to get a bit closer to your partner, compile a list of songs that will put the two of you in a cozy spot. Might I suggest "Open" by Rhye?
5. Invest In Good Bedding
Ain't nobody going to be a happy sleeper if you're on an uncomfortable bed. Individually, you're tossing and turning to find a tolerable position, so what makes you think you'll be able to get comfy together? Not only do bad mattresses contribute to back and neck stiffness, they also have been known to break up happy couples. OK, I kid.
Seriously, though, according to Cotton USA spokesperson Stephanie Thiers-Radcliffe, soft bedding encourages openness and intimacy between couples. They might have a horse in that race, but it's true that it pays off to buy some heavenly sheets and blankets; that way, you can't wait to climb into bed with each other.
6. Never Go To Sleep Angry At Each Other
Getting into a fight so close to bedtime is definitely less than ideal, but it happens to the best of us. But no matter how pissed off you are at your SO, don't fall asleep without reconciling — bad things can only come out of it. Dr. Karl A. Pillemer, professor of human development, says couples who have been happily together for 50 plus years always give this advice to us young folks for a reason.
Don't fall into the dysfunctional pattern of holding overnight grudges. If it nearly impossible to forgive your partner, take a few minutes to yourself, whether you go to the other room or take a walk around the block. The extra time will likely give you the space you need to put things into perspective.
7. Keep Your Room Clean
Even if it's subconscious, couples find clutter on the floor and clothes all over the bed a huge turn-off, according to the Cotton USA poll. Cleanliness matters when it comes to emotional intimacy, so pick up your dirty socks and create an environment the two of you want to fall asleep in.
It doesn't have to look perfect all the time, but even the smallest amount of effort can contribute to a well-kept bedroom — try not to eat under the covers (tough one, I know), keep shoes tucked away in the closet, and don't put up with stained pillow cases.
Your sleep — and relationship — will thank you.
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