Is Your Partner Ruining Your Sleep?
3 ways your partner could be impacting your rest.
Posted January 31, 2021
From snoring to fighting over the TV or even the thermostat, living with a partner has its challenges, and that’s especially true if they’re ruining your ability to get a good night’s sleep.
When you don’t get enough sleep, whether it’s because your partner has a different sleep schedule or the two of you don’t see eye to eye on the perfect sleep environment, not only may your mental and physical health be suffering, but your relationship may, too.
In fact, good, restorative sleep may strengthen your intimate relationship dramatically. You’re especially likely to notice these differences if both of you have been struggling for a while.
From a personal perspective: when my wife was suffering from back pain, we both struggled with sleep. We finally got a Hastens mattress, then we both started sleeping better.
Here are the top ways your partner could be ruining your sleep—and how to resolve them.
1. Your Partner Snores
A snoring partner is actually one of the most serious ways your partner is ruining your sleep. If your partner is snoring, there’s a good chance that they might be suffering from sleep apnea.
In fact, snoring has been identified in as much as 94 percent of those with obstructive sleep disorder. Sleep apnea, and snoring in general, indicates a disruption in breathing. This puts your partner at an increased risk for heart disease, mental health issues, and even death.
Not only does their snoring keep you awake, and interrupt your sleep cycles; it also poses risks for your partner. That concern for your partner may create anxiety which can also keep you awake.
Solution: Track Your Sleep. Like I said, snoring isn’t something you can just ignore, and it goes beyond your partner keeping you up at night. Start by tracking your own sleep along with your partner’s sleep.
From there, encourage your partner to be examined by a sleep specialist. They can recommend treatment for snoring, including mouthguards, CPAPs, and lifestyle changes that can help with the risks of sleep apnea.
2. You Can’t Agree on the Thermostat
We’ve all been there. Whether it’s you or your partner sneaking over to crank up the heat (or AC), it’s frustrating enough during the day to feel uncomfortable in your home, but it’s that much worse when you’re trying to sleep at night. Optimal sleep requires a consistent temperature; too hot and you won’t sleep well, and too cold and you may spend the night awake seeking warmth.
Before you or your partner starts to blame one another for being too particular, there’s research to back up just how important our bedroom temperature is for deep, restorative sleep.
Studies have shown that environmental temperature has a direct impact on circadian rhythm, our body’s internal clock, which regulates sleep and wake cycles. Too high temperatures disrupt REM sleep and reduce overall sleep quality.
Solution: Consider a Bed Cooling System. The main problem with the thermostat fight is that all of us have different internal body temperatures. So while I and many other sleep experts generally recommend a bedroom temperature of 68 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, even just a degree can make a difference in sleep quality for you or your partner.
My solution is to set the thermostat at the higher temperature preference between the two of you, and use a cooling system, as well as breathable and moisture-wicking pajamas to keep cool.
3. Different Sleep Schedules
I see this struggle all the time. Of all the ways your partner is ruining your sleep, this can be the most challenging, especially if you or your partner have an occupation that requires late-night shift work.
Different sleep schedules means your partner might be waking you up after you’re already snoozing, or disrupt you mid-REM if they have to rise early. Either way, different sleep schedules can create disrupted sleep patterns and frustration on both ends.
Solution: Work Out a Compromise. I’m afraid there is no one-size-fits-all solution to juggling different sleep schedules. Depending on your situation, small compromises may be enough, especially if you and/or your partner happen to be heavy sleepers.
Having a partner on a different schedule can make it more challenging to get to sleep, but if you’re both on the same page, it makes a difference–for your sleep and even for your relationship!
Sleep Well, Be Well,
Dr. Michael Breus
Facebook image: Kleber Cordeiro/Shutterstock