Here you are, happily snoozing away in your cozy bed as the night turns from dark to light, and with no troubles in the world, besides your impending alarm clock. That is, until your partner wakes you up with a bloodcurdling scream from yet another nightmare or their late-night TV watching habit due to their persistent insomnia. While sharing a bed is typically a sign of intimacy in a relationship, it’s not always ideal. What do you do when your bedmate is a problem sleeper? We’ll walk you through the main types of problem snoozers, and what you can do if your partner is one of them.
The Strain Of Sleepless Nights
Let’s start with the obvious—we need our sleep. While some people seem to squeak by on just a few hours, the majority of us require 7 to 9 hours of shuteye to feel and perform at our best. When sleep is disrupted night after night, it’s common to become irritable, forgetful, and downright cranky. None of these traits are good looks. These symptoms can carry over into our personal and work relationships, especially if both parties are suffering from sleep deprivation.
One study found that partners of insomniacs can lose as much sleep as the insomniacs themselves. When one sleep-starved person takes out their frustrations on their other sleep-starved significant other, the relationship can get rocky. Keep reading to find out our top tips for helping you get the shuteye you need without having to send your partner onto the couch or into the guest room.
Help! My Partner Has Insomnia
When it’s 3 A.M. and your bed buddy is wide awake, your sleep is most likely interrupted, too. Whether they are pacing around the bedroom, endlessly tossing and turning, or browsing down internet rabbit holes OR reading the top 10 names for a pet guinea pig (it’s probably happened), having a restless bedmate is not conducive to rest for you. There are plenty of tips and tricks that involve tweaking your bedtime in order to aid the insomniac sleeping next to you, but in the event of more serious cases, a sleep specialist or doctor may be in order.
To start, your partner will need to steer clear of the top sleep disruptors: caffeine and alcohol. You may want to do the same, as a support system is crucial in helping your sleepless partner. Next, pretend you’re 8 years old again and give yourself a bedtime cutoff. Regular sleep-wake times can help your circadian rhythm to recognize when it’s time to wind down. Speaking of winding down, instead of reaching for that boozy nightcap, try a calming chamomile tea. You don’t want to do anything adrenaline-pumping before bed, so keep your gym sessions to the morning, lunchtime or early evening.
Once these pre-bed rituals are put into practice, you should turn to your in-bed habits. For best snooze-fests, you’ll want to have your room pitch-black, cool, and quiet. A white-noise machine can be helpful for creating a snoozy ambiance if the quiet is just, well... too quiet. Keep your computers, and TVs out of your sleep sanctuary, opting to read a book before bed, instead. Lastly, utilize deep breathing or relaxing meditations to help lull you to sleep and calm the thoughts in your mind. Warning: shameful plug. BUT the kicking your feet up and watching your favorite show under the gentle weight of the Napper Keep in mind that chronic insomniacs may need time to adjust to these new routines. Hopefully, the two of you will be in Dreamland together soon!
Help! My Partner Has Night Terrors
A tad scarier than insomnia, if you have a partner with night terrors, you’re likely waking up in a fright, too. Night terrors can be caused by many things, including PTSD, anxiety, extreme fatigue, alcohol use, medications, and respiratory conditions like sleep apnea. The best thing to do during your partner’s night terror is not much at all. You don’t want to wake them up in the middle of it and risk a scary, potentially dangerous outcome. Another approach is to refrain from waking them, and try to quell their dream terrors by using a calming, gentle voice until they go back to sleep.
Oftentimes a significant other becomes conditioned to the warning signs of an episode and tends to awake during the onset. To help prevent night terrors, the aforementioned good sleeping habits are a place to start. Stress relief and relaxation techniques can go a long way to promote a restful night’s sleep. However, if there’s an underlying health condition, head to the doctor for some professional help.
Help! My Partner Snores
It can be difficult to get your sleep on when your partner’s snoring sounds resemble that of a roaring lion or a chainsaw-wielding maniac. Although snoring is a medical condition, there are plenty of ways to lessen the noise of a problematic sleeper. A major cause of snoring is sleeping on the back, which impedes the airways’ ability to breathe properly. Propping pillows in the middle of the bed so your snorer can’t flip on their backs is an easy first step. If that doesn’t work, some sleep therapists recommend sewing a tennis ball into the back of their shirt, which makes back-sleeping seriously uncomfortable. Although this sounds like a form of medieval torture, it may work if you’ve got a serious snorer interrupting your slumber.
Another tip is controlling the breathing by taping their mouth overnight (with their consent of course), which actually isn’t as horrible as it sounds. The lightly sticky, hypoallergenic tapes keep your mouth shut so nose-breathing becomes their newr go-to. And not to worry, the tape has a mini breathing hole and can easily come off if you’re feeling trapped or claustrophobic. While they don’t look too cool, we think a whole night of sleep sans-snoring is more important!
Help! My Partner Has Restless Leg Syndrome
With a name that describes exactly what it does, Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) is a seriously frustrating condition that tends to rear its ugly head close to bedtime. While RLS is a sleep inhibitor for the leg owner, it can also cause a lack of shuteye in their bed partner by the constant fidgeting. Similar to the aforementioned disorders, RLS can be helped by limiting alcohol and caffeine (that extra espresso can cause lasting jitters) and creating a relaxing wind-down routine before bed. RLS sufferers can also try to get exercise during the day, and massage the leg muscles at night. Lastly, adding some weight in the form of a Napper can certainly help in Restless Leg Syndrome
Solution: Weighted Blankets
For all of your nighttime sleeping woes, a weighted blanket is here to help. The extra weight can help your snoring bedtime buddy stay asleep, keep your partner’s jittery legs calmed, and help the insomniac or night-terrorized loved one next to you stay relaxed enough to snooze through the night.
Weighted blanket works by stimulating various pressure points all over the body, activating Deep Touch Pressure (DTP). DTP is pretty magical - it increases your happy hormone, serotonin, which helps your body produce melatonin, our get-sleepy hormone. The result: a seriously restful sleep and a much happier relationship. While weighted blankets can’t fix all your problems, you can say goodbye to your sleep-related spats.
How To Deal With A Problem Sleeper In Your Bed
Here you are, happily snoozing away in your cozy bed as the night turns from dark to light, and with no troubles in the world, besides your impending alarm clock.
Problematic sleepers can cause serious strains on relationships, as lack of sleep is linked to worse emotional health. We’re talking crabbiness and crankiness—neither of which is pleasant to be around.
Creating a peaceful bedtime routine with herbal tea, warm baths, meditation, and no digital screens are all great ways to improve the nights of those with sleep disorders. Put the phone on sleep mode, turn the TV off and leave the tablet in the living room.
Weighted blankets can help those with insomnia, Restless Leg Syndrome (RSL), night terrors, and snoring by providing extra weight to keep the body calm and promoting the release of happy, sleepy, relaxing hormones.
Did you know?
The longest recorded time of a human going without sleep is just over 11 days! A 17-year old student set a world record for a high-school science fair in 1965. While no long-lasting harm occurred, this is not something we’d recommend trying...for obvious reasons.