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Sleep Partner Dysfunction

We’ve all heard about the problems that sleep partners experience as a result of snoring, or more importantly about the numerous times that a sleep partner (usually a wife) ends up saving her husband’s life by insisting on a sleep study after hearing them gasp for breath in the middle of the night. But what happens when your sleep partner problems are less a matter of life and death than an issue of night owl versus early bird. When opposites attract comes down to having different sleeping styles, it can mean real problems for a relationship. Fortunately, there are a number of ways that these differences can be resolved. Whether your issue is that one of you likes the bedroom warm and the other cool or that one of you likes to stay up late reading while the other gets us at the crack of dawn (or before) to go out for a run, here are some tips to make your bed a more harmonious place. 

Sleep Technology to the Rescue

For many couples’ sleep disparities, the answer lies in new technology. For those who prefer different bedroom temperatures, today’s mattresses and mattress pads allow for customized settings with dual zones. Though this has an impact on your sleep surface rather than on room temperature, the difference can be very helpful. Likewise, some sleepers prefer firm mattresses while others like a mattress with plenty of give. Today’s mattresses are available with the ability to adjust firmness for each individual sleeper, allowing people of different sizes, body shape and sleep positions to ensure their own individual comfort.

Another form of technology that can accommodate sleep pattern differences is the use of e-readers. Instead of staying up and reading with a light on, many of the new e-readers come with back lighting, and some of them have the advantage of not using the blue light that is contributing to so much sleeplessness.  Finding readers that provide a glow that is enough to read by but not enough to keep your sleep partner awake can make for much less late night friction. Similarly, rather than having an alarm blaring in the morning, many alarms can now be worn as wristbands that provide a slight vibration, thus minimizing the possibility of awakening a sleep partner too early. Old fashioned solutions like eye masks and ear plugs can be helpful too.

Separate Bedrooms?

Though it is not a romantic solution, in some cases it just makes sense to retreat to separate sleeping quarters if you are not able to find a way to accommodate the difference in each other’s sleep styles. The best way to handle this is to acknowledge the problem and coordinate your schedules to make sure that you are spending plenty of time together outside of the bedroom so that there is no sense of a loss of intimacy or communication. If the separate bedrooms are kept specifically for sleeping, there is still plenty of time for romance in your relationship.


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