Many marriages end due to the loss of connection and intimacy – especially 10-12 years down the line, according to a Gottman Institute research. Not sleeping together creates feelings of loneliness, and being emotionally and physically detached.
Perhaps one of the most significant aspects of being a couple is that warm, intimate time you spend together before falling asleep – but going to bed at separate times is more common than you think. Within three and a half years of their relationship, many couples stop going to bed together. If you find yourself not going to bed at the same time as your spouse, understand that now is the time to fix this problem.
For many couples, the time before going to sleep feels the most precious, as it is crucial for cuddling, for talking about life or the kids. According to research published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, during this time, most people felt incredibly relaxed and nurtured as it stimulates feelings of comfort, satisfaction, love, bonding, appreciation, and happiness. Unfortunately, 75% of couples don’t go to sleep at the same time, because one of them is working, watching TV or is on the phone.
There are many ways to make your relationship bulletproof, such as showing gratitude to each other, going on regular date nights and constantly surprising each other. However, one of the easiest, yet most effective habits is to go to bed together and have a generous amount of time to connect before you sleep. Even if it means you can only do this a few times per week, you should do it.
Why Going to Bed Together at the Same Time is Important
The healthier habits you can cultivate with your spouse, the greater the chance you’ll have of forming a thriving, successful relationship. One key habit is to go to bed together, but there are two dynamics to this. Yes, it’s amazing if you can go to bed at the same time, but avoid going to bed angry if you’ve just fought. We’ll delve deeper into the latter, later in this section.
For now, let’s understand why it’s important for couples to sleep at the same time.
1) Pillow Talk
When a couple has a conversation after sex, also called pillow talk, their bodies release a neurotransmitter called oxytocin, which is linked to closeness, relationship satisfaction, and trust. Pillow talk is essential for a relationship and sexual satisfaction. The release of oxytocin also makes it more likely for the couple to share positive feelings for each other.
Cuddling is also the perfect time people like to talk about relationships, their plans, the future, work, school, friends, family, children or movies. Going to bed at the same time also allows couples to have intimate conversations, which allows for more clarity, communication, and connection in a relationship.
According to a study published in Psychosomatic Medicine, going to bed together is particularly important for women. When bedtimes were in sync, women reported that their interactions with their partners were more positive the next day. Since women tend to be more sensitive to the ups and downs of a relationship, they a show a stronger link between sleep patterns and how their relationship performs.
Going to bed at the same time as your partner ensures that both of you remain on schedule and don’t stay up too late. This holds both parties accountable and makes sure one of them doesn’t get to bed too late if the reason is avoidable.
However, when one partner does come to bed late, there’s an increased risk of disturbing the one who is already sleeping. This a habit can annoy your partner, and it can cause anger and resentment to build up, increasing the strain in the relationship.
Not going to bed with your spouse can prevent you from being intimate with them on a regular basis. However, it’s important to not have sex and rush out to watch TV, check your phone or do the dishes. Use this time to build emotional and physical connection in your relationship.
According to a study published in the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, mismatched couples, for example, a morning person married to a night person, report spending less time in shared activities and serious conversation. These couples also have less sex, report more conflicts and feelings of loneliness. However, going to bed at the same time as your partner isn’t just about sex. Just physical closeness is enough to release oxytocin and serotonin, increase bonding and reduce stress and anxiety.
Being together in bed allows couples to have share skin-to-skin contact and cuddle, which helps lower blood pressure and anxiety, improve pain, and boost immune system function. Being next to your partner in a dark, quiet space, also allows freedom to talk about the highlights and low points of your life – as well as your joys and stresses. It also offers an increased opportunity for couples to get physically intimate – whether this includes sex, cuddling, kissing or rubbing each other’s backs.
To top it all off, the happy chemicals released in your bodies also set you two up for a good night’s rest. This helps you feel more positive and refreshed when you wake up, thereby increasing your intimate bond the next day and even increase your productivity at work.
4) Prevents Negative Late Night Habits
Remember the old saying: “nothing good happens after midnight?” Staying late in the night, whether it’s for work or entertainment can be detrimental to your health. Not only does it lead to a poor night’s sleep, sleep deprivation and lack of productivity the next day – it also allows late night habits such as snacking.
Staying late in the night can lead to weight gain due to many reasons. Your body produces more ghrelin (hunger hormone) and less leptin (hunger-suppressing hormone) during odd hours. This increases cravings for sugary or fatty processed foods, which disturbs your sleep even further. It’s a vicious cycle and the perfect recipe for deterring growth and development in your body and ruining your emotional and physical health.
Your best bet: have a set sleep schedule with your partner. This will help improve your health in a plethora of ways – from maintaining a healthy diet to feeling more energetic the next day.
5) You Settle Arguments Before Bed
Always try your best to resolve arguments with your partner before going to bed, instead of sleeping in separate rooms after a fight. Recognize what’s worrying you about your fight and make attempts to resolve the issue thoughtfully and productively with your partner. If you don’t have the energy for a thoughtful conversation, politely ask your partner if both of you can discuss your concerns at a set time the next day.
Following a set sleep schedule with your partner will increase your chances of coming up with a rational solution, and prevent you and your partner from staying up all night following your fight. If you have a habit of sleeping in different rooms, or at different times, for any reason, it may feel much easier for you to storm off and spend the rest of the night away from your partner.
What’s worse is that going to sleep feeling upset at your spouse will only allow negative feelings to linger for much longer.
6) Impact of Sleep on Memory
A study published in the journal, Nature Communications confirms that going to bed angry after a fight with your partner can make things worse. Researchers found that sleep reinforces memories of the day in the brain. When you go to sleep following an argument with your partner, this negative memory gets locked in your brain, making it more difficult for you to get over it later.
The study investigated the effect of sleep on memory on 73 male college students, who were trained to associate certain images with negative feelings. The participants were asked to look at the images again and to either recollect those negative feelings – or fight them and not let negative memories come into their minds. The experiment was conducted twice, once half an hour after training, and once after a night of sleep.
When researchers scanned the students’ brain activity, they found that it was much harder for participants to suppress negative memories after sleep. Furthermore, these negative thoughts were stored away in their long-term memories, making it harder for participants to shake them off in the future. This indicates that sleep is the pathway for newly acquired information to be transferred from short-term memory to long-term memory. Not being able to suppress negative memories is linked to many psychiatric issues, such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Causes of Couples Sleeping at Different Times
An increasing number of studies show that married people sleep better than single people and have fewer sleep-related issues, such as insomnia. Couples who sleep at the same time have more stable sleep-wake schedules and help regulate each other’s sleep.
But what if your sleep schedules are not synchronized? In general, couples who sleep at different times report less satisfaction from their relationship than those who follow the same sleep routine. More and more people are giving up traditional bedroom setups that tend to be more intimate, where all the sex and sleep takes place. Instead, they’re deciding to sleep solo, either after taxing days at work or on a full-time basis.
So what causes couples to sleep at different times, or in two separate bedrooms?
- One of you is a loud snorer
- Watching TV or spending too much time on the phone
- Having significantly different body temperatures, one may release more heat, and the other may feel increasingly cold
- Having different views on temperature, light, and noise in the room
- Clashing work shifts
- Sleep training a child
- One partner has a sleep disorder, such as restless leg syndrome or sleep apnea
- One of the partners is a bed hog (e.g., sleep diagonally in bed)
Partners who sleep separately have one thing in common: they want to get optimal sleep. In today’s fast-paced lifestyle, optimizing mental health and productivity is key to success in the workplace – even if it means getting better sleep in a separate room. So what can one do if they can’t fall asleep next to their partner? Keep reading to find out.
How to Start Sleeping at the Same Time Again
We get it, life is busy with work, family, kids, bills, household chores and other daily stressors, so finding time to connect with your partner is easier said than done. This is why it’s so important that you make the most of whatever time you have alone with your partner, whether it 2 hours or just 15 minutes.
To help you out, we’ve rounded up some of the best habits happy couples stick to before going to bed, to increase their bonding and lessen their relationship woes.
1) Unplug From Flickering Devices
Scrolling through social media, watching the latest news, or reading your favorite blogs can be an addictive process. Unfortunately, this habit can take away from the time you spend connecting with your partner via verbal and physical intimacy. Also, when one partner is on the phone, the other feels like they’re not in the same room and are in two separate worlds instead. Your first step should be to become aware that phones, TVs, and computers are intrusive devices.
What’s worse is that they’re jeopardizing your sleep. Electronic devices with screens release artificial blue light that works similar to the blue light released from the sun. Blue light suppresses the release of your body’s natural sleep hormone, melatonin, preventing you from falling asleep on time. Prolonged exposure to blue light from continually looking at a screen in the night can also increase your risk of sleep deprivation, insomnia and mood disorders.
Therefore, start by understanding the adverse effects of keeping electronics in your bedroom, or using them close to bedtime. It helps to create general rules, such as “no phones in bed” or “no phones, computers, and TV after 9 pm.” Suppressing your social media habits will increase levels of melatonin, serotonin, and oxytocin in your body and help you and your partner enjoy a great night’s sleep and feel closer throughout the next day.
2) Keep the TV Out of Your Bedroom
Most people make the mistake of keeping their TVs in their bedroom. This isn’t only damaging to your sleep due to TV’s blue light effect, but can also seriously harm your relationship. When one partner is a night owl, and the other is an early riser, watching television in the night, despite keeping a low volume can affect the other person’s sleep quality. This can cause them to wake up feeling annoyed, lethargic and not refreshed the next day and build negative emotions toward you.
3) Prioritize a Good Night’s Sleep
Beyond the usual advice of kissing goodnight, cuddling and having sex before sleep, making sleep an essential factor in your relationship may not sound all that romantic. However, sleep helps improve mental health, which can make a couple emotionally present throughout the next day.
When sleep is disturbed or is difficult to come by, it can cause one of you or both of you to wake up feeling groggy and moody, thus fostering irritability and other negative feelings.
If you or your partner are having difficulty falling asleep at the same time, try getting professional advice on how you can create a healthy sleep routine. You should also include relaxation techniques into your nightly routine and curb screen time before bedtime, to reduce the risk of insomnia.
4) Build a Habit of Practicing Gratitude Together
Gratitude, in the form of a prayer, or verbal affirmations can have a massive positive impact on your mood and mindset. So why not share the power of gratitude with your partner?
Whether it’s a positive experience you had during the day or something specific you’re appreciative about, sharing positive feelings and your gratitude can help end your and your partner’s day on a positive note.
5) Address Snoring
A loud snorer can keep his or her spouse feeling sleepless throughout the night, causing the couple to sleep in two separate bedrooms. So what’s the best way both of you can get a good night’s sleep while sleeping in the same bed? Find a solution for the snoring problem, such as wearing earplugs to block out your partner’s snores.
Luckily, in most cases, snoring can be abated. Natural solutions such as changing your sleep position, changing your pillow, avoiding foods that cause snoring, taking a hot shower before bed and staying hydrated are all incredibly effective in silencing a loud snorer.
If one of you is a noisy snorer, keep a lookout for sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs in 75% of the people who snore. If you suspect obstructive sleep apnea to be the cause of the loud snoring, see a doctor as soon as possible. Luckily, treatment measures such as the continuous positive airway pressure device (CPAP) are available for people with the condition.
6) Medical Help for Restless Leg Syndrome
Restless leg syndrome is an uncomfortable sleep disorder which causes discomfort, pain and tingling in the legs that do not go away unless one shakes their legs. Having restless leg syndrome can not only affect your sleep quality, but your partner’s as well. However, instead of resorting to sleeping separately, try seeking medical attention for your issue.
Neurpo, Requip, and Mirapex are all FDA-approved treatments for moderate-to-severe restless leg syndrome. Speak to your doctor about the severity of your condition and what measures you can take to improve it in the night.
7) Have Some Time to Chat
Happy couples tend to regularly discuss the lows and highs of their life and allow each other to vent. Although this doesn’t mean you should pile on negativity in the evening hours, setting aside just 15 to 30 minutes before going to bed to unwind and show support to each other can be incredibly beneficial to your relationship.
However, try listening to what’s stressing your partner, without having the urge to counter them or problem-solve. Just feeling that they’re being understood can empower your partner, create appreciation in them and help them power through the next day’s stresses.
8) Don’t Go to Sleep Angry
As we discussed earlier, going to sleep with a negative mindset can consolidate unhappy emotions in your brain during your slumber, transferring these thoughts to your long-term memory files.
Instead, try to settle your disagreement and if it is too late, come up with a set time with your partner to discuss the matter more productively the next day. Either way, end on a positive note where both of you agree to be open to each other’s thoughts and feelings.
9) Keep Kids Out of the Bedroom
Your bedroom is your sanctuary, where you can get optimal rest and have maximum intimacy with your partner. Even though sicknesses and nightmares can cause your kids to crawl into bed with you, if you prioritize intimacy and connection, encourage your kids to stay in their rooms.
Your intimacy with your partner doesn’t have to end just because you have children. Couples need boundaries and privacy for emotional and physical connection. It also increases positive feelings, which helps them push through stressful moments with their children.
Is it always going to be feasible to go to bed at the same time? Or is sleeping in separate beds sometimes bad for marriage? Probably not. However, attempting to sleep together at the same time regularly can help you develop a higher level of intimacy with your partner.
Understand that habits have a reason. If you desire a powerful marriage, you have to work with your partner to develop positive habits that strengthen your marriage and help it thrive. Going to bed is just one of these habits, but it’s an incredibly effective one your relationship will thank you for.