Written by Leslie Pelon
**Part 4 in a 4-part series based on a survey of 4.5 thousand married people asking about their sleeping habits. **
I hope that if you take nothing else from this series, that you take the realization that there are really no rules. If you have a struggle, chances are that other couples have that same struggle. And if you have a solution, chances are that others have different ones. The goal here is for each of you to get a good night’s sleep and to strengthen your relationship.
For the final installment in this series I’m going to let the respondents to our survey share their advice. As the final question I asked, “What tricks or advice would you pass on to a newlywed couple that was struggling to adjust to sharing a bed?” Here are answers from 40 of them.
As with all advice, some tips may contradict each other. Some may work for you and some may not. I hope that some of you will find an answer here that will help you in your marriage. And remember, you are not weird and nothing is wrong with you - sharing a bed is just a beautiful and complicated thing.
Whatever works for you is the right answer. Keep trying till you find it.
40 TIPS FOR SHARING A BED WITH YOUR SPOUSE
1. “A couple that is actively engaged in being close will have less issues. Also, be patient with one another.” - Husband (Married 1-5 years)
2. “A good night's rest is tantamount for everybody. You need to do whatever's possible to make sure both get their sleep. Being relaxed about it is very hard, but important. Getting uptight from not communicating and working to solve any problems makes the situation so much worse. My wife and I both snore but want to continue to share a bed, and we've become relaxed about it enough that we can often sleep through the other person's snoring. When there are times when we can't, we try to sleep elsewhere in the house (couch, etc.). When I was first married, I thought that the first person who was snoring should be woken up and should move to the couch. But now I believe they should continue to sleep and the person who is having a hard time sleeping should make the adjustment. This is much less disruptive, which I believe keeps the tension down. Keeping the stress down over the situation is important in order to be able to sleep through it.” - Husband (Married 20+ years)
3. “Sleeping will not be the same again. Realize that everybody has different sleeping rituals. Be accepting of your spouse's rituals and figure out a compromise that works for both of you. How everyone else does it makes no difference, figure out what helps both of you to be able to sleep beside each other, every night. Tip: Use headphones and side lamps when necessary. Spend at least 10 minutes snuggling even if you don't fall asleep at the same time.” - Wife (Married 5-10 years)
READ: HOW TO CREATE BEDTIME RITUALS THAT WILL NURTURE YOUR MARRIAGE
4. “At bed time, leave the phones, iPads, and screens off. Keep a set of blankets on the side. Don't have too many, or too high of expectations.” - Husband (Married 10-20 years)
5. “Be considerate and loving. If you can't sleep, or have a phone call, or issue, get up and go out of the room leaving the other to get the rest needed. If one of us is reading, watching TV, working on the computer or anything else we ask each other if they want us to go out. Talk to each other instead of assuming you know what the other is thinking or getting upset.” - Wife (Married 20+ years)
6. “Be considerate and think of your spouse. The more we can do to help our spouse the happier we'll both be.” - Husband (Married 10-20 years)
7. “Buy ear plugs and get used to wearing them while sleeping. Make sure you get a king-sized bed if possible if your spouse moves a lot in their sleep and you don't...Be willing to try different solutions and be selfless. Your spouse will appreciate your concern for their well-being and will return it 100-fold. Also, communicate a lot. Tell your spouse if their snoring annoys you instead of letting it boil up inside.” - Wife (Married less than a year)
8. “Cuddle and talk about things you enjoy before you sleep. It helps remind you why you love your spouse and then the annoying things they do in bed don't bother you as much. And try to make the other person as comfortable as possible. Focus on their sleep and how you can fix your habits to help them.” - Wife (Married less than a year)
9. “Discuss what you both need and want. I know a couple who sleep in separate rooms due to snoring. They are happy and have six grown kids. Other couples would hate to do that. There is no 'one size fits all' solution. The important part is feeling close to your spouse and getting decent sleep. We used to have more issues, but I think we got accustomed to bed sharing and now hog blankets less. I love knowing my husband is right there. When we travel apart, I miss him next to me. We also keep a spare quilt folded like a fan at the bottom of the bed. If one of us gets cold (me), I can pull it up easily.” - Wife (Married 5-10 years)
10. “Don't ever be tempted to get a king. More space is not the answer. Then you don't cuddle and there is room for your kids to join you. Not good!” - Wife (Married 10-20 years)
READ: WHOSE TURN IS IT TO MAKE THE BED?
11. “Don't feel like if you aren't spooning you aren't in love. We snuggle, then retreat to our own side of the bed. We sleep much better not touching. Before I was married, I expected to be snuggled all night. I just am too light of a sleeper to do that well. Space is good when it comes to sleeping. Exception to this rule is winter when he lets me tuck my freezing feet under his furnace-like legs. I don't know how he does it, but he never minds. In the summer, we are both too hot to touch once we sleep. You have to find what works for you. I even know that some people sleep better in separate beds. Not my thing, but if that's what you need and both of you are happy with it, it really doesn't matter. In matters of intimacy - one should never force the other past what they are comfortable with. If one is snuggly, but the other can't sleep that way, buy a teddy bear and let the other sleep. I hope that makes sense! Compromise and communication are key. Laughter WITH, not at, each other helps smooth over the rough patches. Soon enough you will find your own groove.” - Wife (Married 20+ years)
12. “Don't have hurt feelings. Some don't like spooning or cuddling. If your spouse doesn't, don't make a big deal out of it when they want to roll away to go to sleep. They need good rest as much as anyone else, and that's what they need to get it.” - Husband (Married 5-10 years)
13. “Don't put pressure on yourself, everyone's different. Some night’s you just need to sleep and if that means in separate beds, so be it. When you wake up, you still will love each other and still be married. Don't stress.” - Wife (Married less than a year)
14. “Get busier. Exhaustion is a great sleep aid! Just kidding. My stepdad snores like a chainsaw, and my mom tells me that she just imagines that he is saying 'I love you,' with every snore. Apparently it really works. I'm blessed with a husband who has the breathing patterns of angels, so I haven't had to use that quite yet.” - Wife (Married less than a year)
15. “Get king-size sheets for your queen sized bed so they don't get stolen.” - Husband (Married 1-5 years)
16. “Go back to the good old days where married couples slept in separate beds or get a California King. If you want to snuggle, push the beds together or steam roll into the middle.” - Wife (Married 10-20 years)
17. “Guys, from the start fight for half, then you won't have to worry later.” - Husband (Married 1-5 years)
18. “Have a generous helping of sex. Be mindful of the needs of your spouse. Practice makes perfect. Oh, and get a king-size bed.” - Husband (Married 5-10 years)
19. “Have patience with each other. Neither of you are perfect so you're going to have to learn how to deal with any problem that arises. Find solutions together. It's much more fun that way!” - Wife (Married 10-20 years)
20. “Help your spouse feel comfortable... Always put the needs of your spouse above yours and if your spouse is doing the same, then both of your needs and comforts may be met.” - Husband (Married 1-5 years)
21. “Hold each other, and great things will happen. Remember why you chose to marry each other in the first place.” - Husband (Married 20+ years)
22. “I would just say that whatever your expectations of what you hoped it would be like...be okay with having a different reality! Discuss whatever you feel is not working or is working so you can both be aware of each other's needs and preferences. Respect the space you each need for restful slumber. It's okay to just need your sleep. It's okay to need to cuddle. Just communicate your needs and be as accommodating and loving as possible. Get good pillows. Have winter blankets and summer blankets. Get whatever furnishings will provide the best rest (we have blackout curtains for my sensitivity to light, and those curtains are a great blessing now for his sleeping during the day), and keep your room a place of rest and sanctuary. Don't eat in there, don't work in there. Avoid TV in there unless that's something you both decide is your priority... It's good to have it as a private peaceful escape from the other rooms of the house. And discuss what levels or styles of cleanliness and order you expect of yourselves and each other. But remember to wash bedding after no more than two weeks of use. It's just healthier that way. :)” - Wife (Married 1-5 years)
23. “I would tell them to ditch the old-fashioned belief that it is the end of the world if you don't sleep in the same bed using the same blankets every night. I am not even sure why that is a thing. If you need to get two beds and put them side by side in order to each have enough space without buying a ridiculously expensive king-size bed so be it, honestly. A good night’s sleep is a lot healthier for the marriage than the emotional stress that you're “spousing” incorrectly by not following tradition.” - Husband (Married less than a year)
24. “It is OK to sleep with different levels of dress (my wife sleeps in PJ's and I sleep in underwear since she likes it warmer). Also, unless you get good at temperature control in the room, it's hard to sleep cuddling in bed. It's not necessary, but it's nice to figure out how to cuddle and sleep.” - Husband (Married less than a year)
READ: DOES SHARING A BED WITH YOUR SPOUSE GET ANY EASIER?
25. “It's fun to be in the same bed but make sure the bed is big enough so you can go to your space and actually get some sleep.” - Husband (Married 10-20 years)
26. “It's not necessary to cuddle the whole night long. It disrupts sleeping patterns and can make you feel unrested. King-sized beds also help make it more comfortable.” - Husband (Married 5-10 years)
27. “Just because you are married does not mean you have to be up against each other. There are some nights we cuddle and there are other nights we go to sleep with our backs facing each other, not touching. It does not mean we don't love each other, we just need our space. We always say, 'Goodnight,' kiss, and go to bed at the same time, no matter what, but we don't always cuddle. My husband just being there makes me happy, but he's a hot sleeper so I need my space sometimes and that's OK.” - Wife (Married 1-5 years)
28. “Just give it time, I have heard that it is easier for men to sleep with another but that it is harder for women. I know that sometimes it is easier to just get up and leave for a while but the only way to get used to it is to stay in the bed. My husband loves the physical touch (and I don't mean sexually either) so when we go to bed we cuddle, but before either of us can fall asleep we have to separate to opposite sides of the bed... we are both side sleepers... but having even just those few moments right before going to sleep to have that physical touch, physical connectedness has and continues to help us be able to get better nights’ rest while staying in the same bed together.” - Wife (Married 5-10 years)
29. “I go to sleep first. Then I don't realize when he is even getting into the bed. It's not romantic at all but, four kids later means sleep is a priority for me. I really don't enjoy going to sleep at the same time.” - Wife (Married 10-20 years)
30. “Just like any part of marriage, neither of you is perfect. What you choose to focus on and remember will shape your attitude.” - Husband (Married less than a year)
31. “Learn to cuddle. Think of sharing the sleeping area as an expression of love.” - Husband (Married 20+ years)
32. “Once babies come, the mom should sleep closest to the door/bathroom and be given easiest access for midnight baby care. And it's OK to not sleep all wrapped up together if it impedes your sleep. With my first husband I never slept well in 20 yrs. With my hubs now, it's great.” - Wife (Married 5-10 years)
33. “Push two twin beds together (sometimes you can put two twin mattresses onto a king frame): two mattresses, two blankets. No blanket thief, and if one tosses and turns, it doesn't disturb the other one.” - Husband (Married 10-20 years)
READ: THE SIX SENSES OF HEALTHY SEX
34. “Remember time and patience. I learned very quickly in our marriage that sharing time with your wife by making the bed and helping her along the way. That means not just walking out of the room when you're done getting ready for work. And actually cleaning up after yourself.” - Husband (Married 20+ years)
35. “Sharing a bed brings a closeness and intimacy that has nothing to do with sex. When we are lying in bed we have a chance to talk about important things without interruption. It is the one time we are able to really be alone and stay in touch with each other. If you don't sleep in the same bed you lose something that, again, has nothing to do with sex.” - Wife (Married 20+ years)
36. “Take time to figure out what works, swap sides of the bed a few times, move pillows around. And talk it out with your spouse.” - Husband (Married less than a year)
37. “The European bedding solution works great! Two twin beds next to each other would also be good. Don't give up, stay in the same room.” - Wife (Married 20+ years)
38. “There is nothing wrong with having your own space. You can still be intimate with separate sleeping arrangements. Highly recommend sleeping separate!” - Wife (Married 1-5 years)
39. “Try sleeping on a small bed at first. It's a lot harder to adjust, but when you move to a bigger bed it will feel a lot more comfortable and natural.” - Wife (Married 1-5 years)
40. “You should always have some sort of physical contact while sleeping. Holding hands, spooning, my wife likes to put her leg between mine.” - Husband (Married 5-10 years)
NEXT: DOES YOUR SPOUSE SNORE? (OR STEAL THE BLANKETS?)
Photo Credit Bottom Photo: Caitlinn Mahar-Daniels
"What counts in making a happy marriage is not so much how compatible you are, but how you deal with incompatibility."
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