If your other half’s tossing and turning keeps you awake at night, rest assured (no pun intended) that you’re not alone. So, says the data from a new survey conducted by OnePoll for Serta Simmons Bedding, where 2,000 participants pulled back the covers on their cosleeping habits and other goings on undercover of night — not that kind.
Among the impediments that stymie sleep, 35% of participants said that tossing and turning ranks right up there, while the same number say that “cover theft” is what keeps them awake. Sleeping with the television on and snoring are regular annoyances for 28% of the participants, and 27% indicated that sleeping with the lights on was less than charming. And if you didn’t see it coming, overall, the survey found that the average co-sleeper reported fewer than four nights of sound sleep per week.
Other interesting data points show that showering is a deal-breaker and security blankets aren’t just for toddlers. More specifically, 64% of survey participants said they always showered before bed, and 58% said their pillow feathers would definitely be ruffled if their partner failed to do so. On the topic of security blankets, 52% of participants said they grew up with a security blanket or stuffed animal, and 77% said they still do — even with a bed partner.
The Commitment Is Real…for Some
Despite all these differences — 42% of those surveyed said they prefer going to bed at the same time as their partner. The survey also revealed that no matter how bad it gets, some folks will always leave room for the ones they love — others, not so much. Out of the respondents, 40% said they still sleep on their side of the bed even while their partner is away, while 34% said empty space is fair game.
How to Get Better Sleep When You Share a Bed
While participants were more than forthcoming with their grievances, it looks like plenty of folks came to the table with solutions for bettering their sleep. We can only guess these solutions were formulated as they lay awake night after night.
When asked what they think would contribute to better sleep, 36% said a new/better mattress might be the answer, and 34% suggested new/better pillows. And while 29% thought a bigger bed is the key to a good night’s sleep with their partner in tow, a whopping 49% seem to be considering more drastic measures like sleeping in separate beds.
Dr. Katherine Hall, a sleep psychologist at Somnus Therapy, says, “Sleeping with a partner can occasionally feel like a battle, but it doesn’t have to be. By addressing specific issues and possibly investing in a few upgrades, both you and your partner can enjoy a better, more restful night’s sleep.”
So before you start shopping for an extra bed, Hall suggests doubling down on your sleep hygiene and trying some less severe interventions to make your shared nights more restful before going your separate ways.
Try Some Bedding Upgrades
“An easy fix is to have separate covers or invest in a larger duvet, says Hall. “An even more luxurious option would be to upgrade to a larger bed. [There’s] more room to toss and turn without disturbing each other’s sleep.” Looks like survey participants were on to something.
In terms of upgrading your bedding and pillows, Hall says, “This is one area where you should consider splurging. You’d be amazed at the difference a supportive, comfortable mattress and the right pillow can make.” For those who are regularly awakened by the tidal wave caused by their partners tossing and turning, she suggests trying a mattress that performs well on motion isolation tests. According to Hall, high-quality memory foam or a pocketed coil mattress could help reduce disturbances caused by movement during sleep” and go a long way towards improving yours.
And if you’re concerned about the blow to your budget, Hall reminds us that these purchases aren’t “just about luxury; they are about your health and wellbeing.”
Adjust Your Sleep Environment
Regarding the issues of television and light, Hall stresses the importance of a “calm and dimly lit environment for sleep.” While she notes that some people find comfort in the noise and light coming from their TV, she says there are ways for couples to compromise, like white noise machines and eye masks for those who are sensitive to the light.
Get Professional Help
Hall says, “If [tossing and turning] is a significant issue, your partner might want to seek medical advice, as this could be a sign of an underlying health condition like restless leg syndrome or sleep apnea.” Moreover, Halls adds, “If snoring (the age-old sleep disruptor) is a severe issue, the snorer should consider a check-up to specifically rule out sleep apnea. Hall also suggests looking into any of the myriad “snoring reduction aids available in the market, such as special pillows and nasal strips, which could offer relief.”
Should You Stay Or Should You Go?
While almost half of the respondents indicated that a sleep divorce might be the cure for what ails their sleep, Hall cautions that “It’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. For some couples, having separate beds works wonders for their sleep quality and doesn’t impact their relationship negatively. For others, it may not be the best solution. Essentially, it’s a personal choice and should [only] be considered after discussing it with your partner.”
Griffin, Suann. “New Survey Discovers Co-Sleepers’ Biggest Sleep Disruptors,” Serta Simmons Bedding; https://sertasimmons.com/news/new-survey-discovers-co-sleepers-biggest-sleep-disruptors/; March 10, 2023.
Hall, Katherine. Author interview. June 2023.
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