"Why do they call it sleeping together? I mean, who, exactly is 'sleeping' ?" --Cate Hart, Comedy Club in L.A.
Ah, so true. The phrase is just a polite way of saying that you're having a sexual relationship and no one is actually sleeping! But what about sleeping, really sleeping, with someone else?
Sex is one thing; the act of sleeping together is quite another. After the pleasure of lovemaking, the real issue of "sleeping together" begins. Sleeping in a bed together, really sleeping, can be a complicated night time dance. Your partner’s sleep patterns can not only affect your own sleep but can have a negative impact on your relationship.
How well do you sleep? Is tossing and turning an issue? What about snoring? His or her going to bed late or getting up early affecting your snooze time?
If any of these problems are preventing you from getting a healthy, restorative sleep, you need to know it isn’t you-it is your partner! Having a partner who is literally rocking the bed as he or she tosses and turns makes it almost next to impossible for you to sleep well if at all. Lying next to a someone who sounds like Hells’ Angels roaring off into the night is tantamount to absolute torture.
Both of these sleep issues are not only ruining your own sleep, they are preventing your partner from getting any solid rest too. They may also have medical reasons behind them that need to be addressed. Let’s address the restless “bed-rocker” first.
If a person tosses and turns well into the night the reason can be physical. Discomfort from back problems, sports or exercise, or even stress-related tension which causes the body,( especially the limbs), to jerk in spasms, is one reason. Not only you, but your partner, wake up groggy, stiff, and miserable. Taking an over-the-counter-night time pain killer may help.
The person who snores drives you crazy, true, but this partner may have sleep apnea, a condition that can also be a sign of a serious sleep disorder. We literally stop breathing for ten seconds or more during snoring. There are treatments, but this is something that requires a visit to a doctor and a competent diagnosis.
While the above sleep issues can be dealt with medically, the different sleep patterns of going to bed and waking up are things that have to be discussed and handled together. Everyone has different circadian rhythms, the body’s twenty-four hour clock. Some people’s clocks are naturally set to early rising or going to bed late. It is a lucky couple whose “clocks” work in synch.
Whatever the reason is for the disparity in your clocks, you have to come to some sort of happy agreement. Communication and compromise are key ingredients here. Sleep is something that your body needs and sleep deprivation affects you both physically and mentally. Besides being essential for your sanity and your health, a good night’s sleep is essential for a stress free relationship.
Need your own space, bed-wise? That's a problem for many couples once they decide to share sleeping quarters. Sleep scientists recommend "spooning": the sleeping position where people sleep nested together like spoons. This is great "after the loving" and most especially at the beginning of a relationship, but after awhile many people simply want their own undisturbed sleep area. The solution is to buy a bed that is big enough so that it will accommodate both of you. Sleeping on separate ends of a king-size bed does not mean you don't want to be together; it simply means you want to be comfortable and wake up rested.
Sex is easy but when it comes to sleeping together, some adjustments have to made. Before you make the decision to literally sleep in the same bed, have a serious discussion about any possible problems. You spend one-third of your life sleeping; sleeping together should be as enjoyable as, well as, "sleeping together!"
© 2011 Copyright Kristen Houghton
Kristen Houghton is a Lifestyle writer and the author of the book ranked in the top-selling 100 books of 2011, And Then I'll Be Happy! Stop Sabotaging Your Happiness and Put Your Own Life First
Her new book, © 2011 No Woman Diets Alone is due December, 2011.
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