As more couples are trying out sleeping apart, there are concerns that these sleep solutions can have a negative impact on their relationship. But the truth of the matter is that whether couples sleep in the same bed or separate, they have to negotiate the solution if they want to stay together.
Sleeping Together Challenges
If people are sleeping together, there are a number of sleep challenges that come up naturally in the course of sharing space.
Snoring is one of the greatest challenges. The sound of snoring can cause the non-snoring partner (usually a woman, but not always) to lose weeks worth of sleep each year.This becomes a source of tension and fights, and can lead to breakups and physical violence.
But people also have to learn to manage their space together. They have to learn to share the bed and the blankets. They also have to manage the temperature and light in the room, which can be hard if people have different sleep timing or habits.
People also have to learn how to manage personal contact. Skin-to-skin contact is vital to maintaining a relationship, but sometimes one partner can feel overwhelmed with the amount of contact being imposed by the other.
Sleeping Apart Challenges
While sleeping apart may solve some of the problems, it will introduce others. One of the problems is managing space. Many people don’t have enough rooms in their house to designate two separate sleeping rooms, let alone have a snoratorium available. Solutions that put one sleeper in a common area can be problematic. But allocating two sleeping rooms can be trouble in and of itself, if one partner feels that space is being wasted or over-utilized by the other partner.
Also important is managing personal contact. Where there is a risk of too much personal contact when couples sleep together, there is a risk that there is too little personal contact when they sleep apart. Physical contact helps regulate stress and can be very good for health, and if there’s not enough of it, couples can experience more stress.
In addition, when one partner moves into another room, the other partner can feel rejected. These hurt feelings can lead to fights, or potentially cause the rejected partner to seek solace outside the relationship.
Sleep solutions cannot be determined by one member of a couple without consultation. It’s important to remember that just maintaining a sleep situation that only works for one member of the couple is essentially, a unilateral decision. If it’s not working for both of you, you have to talk about potential changes.
If you decide to stay in the same sleep space, make plans for handling sources of conflict. A willingness to get snoring treated should be a prerequisite for shared sleeping. Decide how to manage sources of conflict over blankets and space. Talk about different sleep patterns and how to manage going to sleep and waking. Decide how you’re going to handle physical contact and intimacy.
The same is true if you decide to sleep separately. If one partner is feeling neglected or rejected, it’s important to address that. Make plans for maintaining physical contact and intimacy despite separate sleeping spaces. And make sure that both partners feel comfortable with the allocation of space. Either both partners gain a personal space or neither does. Minimize wasted space by combining the sleeping rooms with other functions–sewing room, library, office, etc. (but be aware of potential damage to sleep hygiene when designing these new spaces). If you have to use a common room such as a living room couch, alternate who sleeps in this suboptimal situation.
And, of course, remember that sleeping separately is not an adequate snoring solution. First, it won’t always reduce the sound enough for sleeping. More importantly, though, the health effects of snoring will persist.
If snoring is impacting your relationship, snoring treatment is an essential part of the solution. To learn more about snoring treatment in Omaha, please call (402) 493-4175 today for an appointment with sleep dentist Dr. Roger Roubal.