Picture this: You're wrapped in your coziest blanket in your pitch black bedroom about to fall soundly asleep. All of a sudden, your partner turns up the heat and switches on a nightlight before climbing into bed beside you. Now you start tossing, unable to relax enough to drift away. Sleeping may not seem like something that could really affect your relationship, but according to experts,
sleep habits that commonly lead to divorce can range from room temperature to snoring.
First of all, you have to make sure that you're sleeping enough as an individual, Dr. Adeline Peters, lead physician and head of the medical panel at
DoctorOnCall, tells Bustle. Even if you and your partner are sleeping in the same bed with no conflict, if you personally aren't sleeping as much as you should, you're more likely to get sick, she says. In time, this can cause you to get sick more often or skip out on activities with your significant other because you're tired. Set yourself up to be an active part of the relationship by staying well rested and caring for your body.
Evaluate your sleep routine to see if you incorporate any of these potentially bad habits into your night. While they don't all guarantee divorce, adopting new habits, like getting to bed earlier, can mean more time for cuddling.
1 Having Different Bedtimes
If you like to crawl into bed early enough to read a few chapters of a book but your partner prefers to stay up late watching TV, you should be extra careful to communicate so that conflicts don't arise. "Respect each other's right to sleep,"
Alex Dimitriu, MD, double board-certified in psychiatry and sleep medicine and founder of Menlo Park Psychiatry & Sleep Medicine, tells Bustle. Make sure you're both being quiet while the other person is snoozing, and try to use any electronics in another room if your partner is still asleep, he says. While your relationship might benefit most if you have sex and then fall asleep together, making sure to respect each other's sleep can make sure you're both well-rested, Dr. Dimitriu says. 2 One Partner's Snoring
"Loud snoring at night can be tough on a bed partner," says Dr. Dimitriu. The snorer may not even realize how much this habit could be disturbing the other person. "Many people do not believe just how loud they are at night," he says. "I often encourage my patients to use a sleep-recording app like
Snorelab to actually record sounds all night." Once the partner who snores is confronted with the evidence, they'll be more likely to take steps to address the snoring. BTW, anti-snore pillows are totally a thing. 3 Keeping The Room Warm
Dr. Dimitriu says that your sleep will be best in a cool, dark environment. During the night, your body temperature will naturally drop to help you sleep better, so keeping your environment colder (about 65 degrees) can help with that process. If you and your partner tend to disagree on how hot or cold to keep the bedroom, try keeping everyone happy by using separate blankets or wearing different pajama fabrics to balance it out, he says.
4 Not Touching Or Facing Each Other
A little personal space is great on the bus or standing in line, but when it comes to the bedroom, physical contact with your spouse can be an important part of staying emotionally connected, Celia Schweyer, dating and relationship expert at
DatingScout.com, tells Bustle. "Our hormones play a big part in making us feel more intimate and sexually energized," she says. "These hormones work more effectively when there is touching involved." To become even more connected, try facing your partner in bed, even if you aren't touching. This simple positioning will help keep your sense of intimacy from suffering. 5 Having No Alternative Sleep Or Retreat Area
"If you live together with your partner and you only have one bedroom and no living room couch, separate room, or anything else for a person to retreat, this can lead to serious conflicts," Schweyer says. "This is simply because you can't give space to each other which is what you sometimes need to do, even in the best relationships." When you're stuck being too physically close to your partner, you might decide to leave the home during a conflict or just go to bed with hard feelings, neither of which is ideal for keeping the relationship strong. Set aside a small spot for each of you to spend some alone time, even if it's just a comfy chair in a corner or a yoga mat stretched out on the carpet.
6 Taking A Pill To Fall Asleep
Taking a pill to help you fall asleep won't cause problems in your relationship, but it can make it harder to get intimate if you take it
before having sex. If you or your partner regularly take a prescription sleep aid or melatonin, just make sure to take it at a time when you aren't planning on having sex right after, Rori Sassoon, relationship expert and founder of Platinum Poire, tells Bustle. "Make sure you don't take this before being intimate with your partner, and manage when you take it," she says. Explore natural remedies to help you fall asleep like lavender essential oil or relaxation exercise, and keep in mind that sex also releases serotonin, which can naturally help you relax and sleep deeply. 7 Watching TV In Bed
If you and your partner live together, it's good for your relationship to make your bedroom a special place for the two of you, says Sassoon. "It should be used for a sensual relaxing experience and your sanctuary with your partner," she says. Do your best to keep the environment peaceful, soothing, and neat, which means kicking electronics out whenever possible. If you and your partner love bonding over
Game of Thrones for example, try to watch the latest episode in the living room rather than in bed, and save the time right before you go to sleep to focus fully on the other person. 8 Incompatible Sleep Preferences Ommaphat Chotirat/Shutterstock
If you have a hard time falling asleep, adjusting your environment to be as conducive to slumber as possible is probably a priority. Issues can arise when you and your partner need opposite lighting arrangements, mattress firmness, or noise levels. "These traits have to be compatible with your partner's sleeping habits," says Sassoon. "Because if not, one of you will have to deal with restless nights and cranky mornings which may cause a much bigger problem in your relationship." Address these differences head on by having a serious talk about
your sleep prefences, she says. Both of you should try to adjust wherever you can, and adjust again whenever something doesn't work. If you really can't find a balance that suits each of you, Sassoon says you can try sleeping in different rooms. While not ideal, it's better to opt for a "sleep divorce" than an official one.
Whether you are a regular snorer or you and your partner usually don't touch while you sleep, try shaking things up tonight. It might just benefit your relationship in a major way.