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How Married Couples Can Get a Good Night's Sleep

Sleeping Together - Problems and Solutions

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Couple sleeping in bed, embracing
Steven Errico/Digital Vision/Getty Images

A sleep specialist from the University of Michigan, Dr. Beth Malow, has stated that married couples spend nearly one-third of their lives sleeping together.

She encourages married couples to cuddle. Many marriage experts believe that peaceful sleeping together can keep a marriage healthy.

Why Share A Bed?

Why do people share a bed with a spouse if they would sleep better if they didn't? Usually the answer is because even if you don't get the best night's sleep, you find comfort and emotional intimacy in sleeping together.

What If You Can't Sleep Well Together?

What if you can't sleep well with your spouse? You are not alone.

Many married couples have problems sleeping together. If you are having difficulty getting a good night's sleep because of your spouse's sleeping habits, getting twin beds or in the case of snoring, separate bedrooms may be the best solution.

Sleeping Together Statistics

According to a 2001 survey by the National Sleep Foundation, more than one in ten (12%) married Americans sleep alone. Additionally, "Lower marital satisfaction impacts sleep habits according to the poll.

Almost one-half of those with less marital satisfaction (47%) say they are sleeping less today than five years ago and more than three-quarters are more likely to experience a sleep problem than their more happily married counterparts (77% vs. 69%)."

To no one's surprise, the poll also showed that there were more sleep problems in households with children. "Married people with children average less sleep during the week than those without children (6.7 vs. 7.2 hours/night), and single people without children (7.1 hrs.)

More than one in ten married adults (12%) with children reports typically sleeping with a child; a vast majority of these adults (81%) reports a sleep problem."

Reasons for Sleep Problems

Here are situations that can create sleep problems for couples.
  • Disagreement about who gets which side of the bed
  • Differing sleep positions
  • Temperature of the room
  • To cuddle or not to cuddle
  • Sheet textures
  • Alarms
  • Tossing and turning
  • Teeth grinding
  • Degree of quietness
  • Getting up in the middle of the night
  • The size of the bed
  • The firmness of the bed
  • Snoring
  • Having a window open
  • Sleeping with children or pets
  • Nightmares
  • Going to bed angry
  • Sleep walking
  • Amount of pillows
  • Number of blankets
  • Spousal arousal syndrome
  • Time to go to bed
  • When to get up in the morning
  • Insomnia

Sleep Positions

When you can sleep together, many sleep experts recommend "spooning." This is the sleeping position where people sleep nested together like spoons. This sleeping position is believed to increase intimacy and lower stress.
 

Sometimes people worry because their spouse is sleeping with their back to them or seems to be far away in the bed. Don't jump to conclusions.

Although sleep positions can be a red flag in a marriage, experts say there is no "good" or "bad" sleep positions in a marriage.

John Dittami: "In my case, my partner and I will spend time together talking or cuddling before sleep, but after about 10 or 15 minutes, she turns over, and I turn over, and we each draw up our own separate covers. I know that I snore, so this helps a little bit. The separate covers are like our version of a peace treaty."
Source: Corrie Pikul. "What the Sleep Experts Do To Get a Good Night's Rest." Oprah.com. 

Best Solution: Compromise

So what do you do if you have different sleep preferences? Find ways to compromise. If that doesn't work, be realistic and consider separate bedrooms or twin beds.
 

Separate bedrooms or twin beds can save your marriage. When couples first start sleeping together, they are willing to sacrifice comfort to be close to their partner. After about five years or so, many people just want to have a good night's sleep again.

 

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