Sharing a bed with a partner is not always as easy as it sounds. After all, most of us have the bed to ourselves throughout our whole childhood and teenage years. We get used to it.
Once we begin living with a boyfriend, girlfriend, husband or wife, we suddenly have to start sharing our sleeping space. There’s no doubt that it can be hard to get accustomed to this significant change. Even if you’re used to sleeping next to someone, sharing a bed with a new partner can pose fresh challenges.
For some people, this awkwardness doesn’t last for long, and sharing a bed becomes second nature. However, you may be surprised at just how many people have trouble figuring out how to sleep next to someone comfortably. Some people may even develop a fear of sleeping with others as a result.
Fortunately, there are a lot of different things you can try to make it easier.
10 Things You Can Do When You Can’t Sleep Next to Someone
The following guide will take you through our top ten tips to help you fall asleep next to your partner. So if you’re the kind of person who thinks “I can’t share a bed with anyone,” read on. You might end up thinking again!
1) You May Need a Larger Bed
This may seem like the most obvious solution, but often the most straightforward answer is the best. More space really can make a world of difference. A lot of people find it hard to sleep next to someone because they feel squashed or claustrophobic.
When someone else’s arms, legs, and hair are all encroaching on your space, it can be pretty tricky to get comfortable enough to fall asleep. Sound familiar?
Most standard “double” (or “full”) beds are relatively small and don’t offer each person that much space to sleep in. Sounds strange, right?
Well, in fact, double beds only provide an additional 16 inches of space than a twin (or single) bed. That’s not much more space for a whole extra person.
If you have the bedroom space and the money, it may be worth thinking about upgrading to a queen or king size bed. Queen beds offer another six inches of space, whereas king size beds are double the width of a single bed.
This means that each person gets plenty of room while still being able to sleep together. If one or both of you are tall, it may also be worth thinking about a California king. They’re not quite as wide as a king bed, but they offer more vertical space.
2) Invest in a New Mattress
This is another common problem that can stop people from being able to sleep properly. Having a good quality mattress is essential. Its where you spend about a third of your life, after all.
Mattresses can be reasonably expensive, but they are so worth paying that little extra on. Cheap mattresses can be uncomfortable, trigger back problems, and make getting to sleep a nightmare.
When you bring another person into the equation, it’s even more critical. A cheap spring mattress may be easier on the wallet, but when your partner shuffles around in bed, you are going to feel every little movement. This is a big issue, especially if you’re a light sleeper and your partner tosses and turns a lot.
If this is the case for you, investing in a higher quality mattress would be a good idea. There are all different kinds, but in particular, it’s worth considering a memory foam mattress.
These don’t bounce around the same way spring mattresses do. Many people say that their partner can jump in and out of bed without them feeling it at all.
If your budget doesn’t stretch to a memory foam mattress, don’t worry. You can also get memory foam mattress toppers which will offer extra support without breaking the bank.
3) Try Using Two Separate Blankets
How often have you had trouble with your partner ‘hogging the comforter? Surely everyone’s experienced this at some point. You’ve finally managed to drop off to sleep when you’re rudely awoken.
Your partner has stolen the blanket, wrapped it around themselves and is happily snoozing away while you’re cold. And trying to pry the tightly-wound comforter from their sleeping body? Impossible.
The solution is pretty simple. Instead of sharing one large comforter or blanket, use two separate ones. You can either opt for two large comforters or two smaller ones, whichever you find the most comfortable. Two twin comforters would fit better on a double bed, but if you live in a colder area, having extra material to keep you warm may help.
Not only does this completely fix the problem of blanket-hogging, but it also offers some extra benefits too. Firstly, you can each wrap the blanket around you more effectively, so as not to let any heat out.
Also, if you and your partner prefer a different style of bedding, you don’t need to come to a compromise. You can have a woolen blanket while they use a duck feather quilt, for example. Or if you prefer to be cooler than your partner, you can each choose a different thickness.
4) Buy Some Earplugs
If the problem you’re having isn’t related to the bed itself, it could be a noise issue. A lot of people can’t get used to the noise of having someone moving and breathing next to them. Not to mention the trouble you might have if your partner snores, or talks in their sleep.
You can get cheap earplugs from almost any chemist, or order them online. Most are made of a soft foam material that fits itself to the inside of your ear. That way, no sound can get in, and you’re left sleeping peacefully. These kinds of earplugs are often disposable.
However, there are also many companies which manufacture quality earplugs for sleeping. These are often made of higher quality, more comfortable materials.
Some manufacturers even design them to filter out ambient and snoring sounds, while still allowing you to hear your alarm clock.
Some people, however, find earplugs too uncomfortable to wear at night. The sensation of having something inside your ears can be too much for light sleepers.
Fortunately, you can also buy ear muffs, which you wear on your head rather than inside your ears. Again, there are lots of brands designed to be comfortably worn while lying in bed. It’s worth shopping around.
5) Use a White Noise Machine
Most people prefer to sleep in total silence. But because of that lousy dog next door, that isn’t always possible.
And depending on the noises your partner makes when they’re sleeping, it may be impossible to block out all noise. Sometimes even earplugs and earmuffs can’t drown out loud snoring or coughing.
That’s where a white noise machine comes in. White noise is a type of constant, unchanging sound which is produced by all the different frequencies of sound together at once.
To get a rough idea of what it sounds like, imagine TV or radio static. While it’s not exactly a pleasant sound, some people swear by white noise to help them get to sleep.
White noise works by helping to blend all other background noises so that your brain doesn’t notice them. If you’re sleeping in total silence, your partner snoring can sound extremely loud. But if there’s white noise in the background, you may not even notice it.
There are various kinds of white noise machine available to buy. If you can’t afford one, you can even get apps for your phone which produce white noise. You could also use a fan to achieve a similar result, as long as you don’t mind the room being a bit breezy.
6) Create a Perfect Sleeping Environment
When you’re trying to make it easier to fall asleep next to your partner, little things can make a big difference. It’s vital to create the perfect environment in your bedroom so that your body knows its time to sleep. Have you ever considered, for example, how the lighting in your room might be affecting your sleep?
Not all bulbs produce the same kind of light. All bulbs emit light at different ‘colour temperatures,’ with ‘cool light being bluer and ‘warm light being redder.
Being exposed to a ‘cool light source, such as the kind of light emitted by phones and computer screens, can trick your brain into thinking its daytime. This is because daylight is very cool.
So, try to avoid looking at screens an hour or two before you want to go to sleep. Also, make sure that any lightbulbs in your bedroom emit warm, yellow light. This should make you feel more tired, and make it easier for you to fall asleep next to your partner.
If you live in an area where it stays light outside until late at night, or where it gets light in the early hours, you could also try using a sleep mask. These block out all light so you’ll be able to rest in pitch darkness.
Also, think about the temperature of your bedroom. Science tells us that its easier for us to fall asleep when the room is slightly cooler. Your body initiates sleep by dropping your body temperature, so if your room is too warm, it can make it difficult for you to fall asleep.
This is especially true if you’re trying to sleep next to another warm body. Try setting your thermostat to between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit.
And don’t forget that certain room colors are better for sleep!
7) Establish a Sleep Schedule
No, it’s not just toddlers that need a bedtime routine. Have you used a sleep tracking device to determine if your rest is interrupted?
If you’re a parent, you already know that if children do the same thing every day before bed, they get to sleep quicker. Adults are no different: it’s all about training your body to be ready for bed.
In the same way that the right lighting and temperature are important, so is establishing a decent pre-sleep ritual. If you do the same thing every evening before hitting the hay, your body will soon learn when it’s time to power down. And having a partner next to you shouldn’t get in the way of your sleep.
If you can, aim to start your routine at the same time every evening. This will align your circadian rhythm so that your body always knows when it’s time to sleep. Start by shutting off all electronic devices. Then, you could have a warm bath, read a book, talk to your partner, meditate, or prepare your things for work or school.
Whatever you choose to do before bed, make sure it’s a calming activity. And if you and your partner do it together, you’ll both be on the same schedule, helping you to fall asleep together.
Also, make sure that you only ever use your bedroom for sleeping (or spending time with your partner.). Your brain should associate the very act of walking into your bedroom with going to sleep.
If you’re spending time in there during the day, for example watching TV or playing games, you aren’t going to create that mental association. And if you aren’t tired when your head hits the pillow, you’re going to find sleeping with a partner difficult.
8) Try Herbal Sleep Remedies
If the above ideas haven’t worked, it may be time to think about natural sleep remedies. There are so many herbal sleep aids available nowadays. Some people prefer these to medications as they are natural, and usually, don’t have any side effects or risk of addiction.
One of the most popular herbs traditionally used to aid sleep is valerian. The root of this plant is said to not only help you fall asleep at night but also improve your sleep quality. It’s most effective when taken over a long period.
Other herbs that help sleep are lavender, chamomile, kava and passionflower, though there are many more. You can usually buy these in pill or capsule form. Some people also recommend the use of essential oils.
You can also find herbal tea blends which use a combination of herbs to promote sleepiness. These have the bonus of being delivered through a warm, calming drink.
It may be a good idea to incorporate a cup of herbal tea into your bedtime routine, to naturally encourage your body to feel tired along with your mind.
9) Take Sleeping Pills
Of course, if herbs just aren’t cutting it for you, there are more advanced options. There are a wide range of OTC sleeping pills out there, of varying brands and strengths.
Some can be bought over the counter in pharmacies, whereas some are only available through a prescription from your doctor.
Sleeping pills should be used as a last resort. If you’ve tried everything else that we’ve suggested and you still can’t get to sleep next to your partner, pills may be the only option.
As there are so many different kinds available, it’s worth seeing your doctor first. Explain to them that you can’t sleep, and they will be able to recommend a pill that may work for you – but only if they think that you need it.
It’s worth mentioning that some sleeping pills can come with nasty side effects, such as a ‘hangover feeling or sickness. You can also become dependent on certain sleeping pills, meaning if you stop taking them, you may go through withdrawal symptoms.
So, pills aren’t for everybody, but they’re worth giving a go if you’re desperate to be able to sleep in the same bed as your partner.
10) Two separate beds
I’m afraid we’ve now reached the end of the line. If you’ve tried everything from a larger bed to sleeping pills, and you still can’t fall asleep next to your partner, you may be incompatible. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be together – just that you’re incompatible sleepers.
Some couples struggle to sleep together for reasons that can’t be fixed, such as different mattress preferences. Then again, some people will always find it difficult to sleep next to someone else, regardless of who it is.
If that’s you, you shouldn’t feel bad. It’s just the way that some people are, very light sleepers. And at least you can now say you’ve tried.
Not being able to sleep in the same bed as your partner doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice closeness. Consider buying two twin beds and putting them in the same room, but apart. That way, you still get to share a room with your partner and be with them while you sleep. You may find it easier to sleep without any clothing. This also has a number of health benefits.
But it also means you’re comfortable in your bed and don’t have to worry about being poked, squashed or drooled on. You can still cuddle and spend time together in one bed before it’s time to sleep, then switch to your own beds.