Taking the leap from single life to bed-sharing can be a big adjustment. No longer are you free to starfish across the entire mattress - instead you have to find a healthy compromise on how you share the space. For some lucky couples, this transition comes easily. But for others, sharing a bed can mean losing out on a good night’s sleep thanks to less-than-adorable habits like snoring, sleep talking, and restless wriggling. And in our books, sacrificing sleep is simply not an option.
From mood swings and memory loss to high blood pressure, the effects of losing sleep run the gamut - and none of them are good news. So we cased the internet to find the most popular, tried-and-tested methods of sleeping well with another person in your bed. Because having one shouldn’t mean giving up the other.
Swap one quilt for two
The Scandinavians have been using this trick for years, to the point where IKEA used to sell TOG-gether sets of two twin duvets. Whether it’s a weird tradition or a brilliant tool for sleeping better alongside your partner, this hack works wonders! Do you or your partner have different temperature needs when you sleep? Are you constantly complaining that they always hog the covers? This tip trumps all those worries.
By opting for two doona covers, you both get to enjoy the weight and style you prefer, while sleeping soundly, knowing you’ll never have to fight for the quilt in the middle of the night. What size quilts you choose is entirely up to you, but for the sake of your own comfort and health, make sure you’re shopping for natural bedding like wool, linen or organic cotton.
Sometimes, sharing a bed is made more difficult if one (or both) of you wake up throughout the night. Whether it’s to go to the bathroom, an inability to sleep, or even kids waking you up in the night, so it helps to have some etiquette around how you handle these situations. While often you can’t help waking up, it’s important to respect the other person in bed with you. This means keeping quiet, not turning on any lights, and definitely not playing on your phone in bed.
If you need to get up - for example, you can’t sleep - then make a swift exit to another room, where you can read or relax until you’re tired enough to head back to bed. When it comes to kids, if there’s an ongoing pattern of little ones creeping into your bed, decide on nightly shifts of who settles them back into their own room, so at least one of you sleeps well each night.
Get a bigger (and better) mattress
As a natural bedding company, we support sleeping on quality, low tox mattresses - but it’s so much more than that! When you share a life with someone, there’s going to be compromise, and it’s the same in bed.
Think about your current mattress. Now think about how old it is, and what stage of your life you bought it in. Did you purchase the mattress with your current partner? Or was it a cheap purchase in your twenties that only has room for you? If you’re constantly battling for real estate on a lumpy, old mattress, then it’s probably time to upgrade.
When it comes to what you sleep on, you’ll want an organic mattress made with natural fibres. This ensures you get better rest, supports your relationship, and bonus - gives a much-needed boost to your health with less toxic chemicals. Many mattresses on the market are made from synthetic foams, usually polyurethane or memory foam, and have a polyester or nylon cover. And while it might sound cool to have your mattress mould to your body shape, the high level of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) off-gassing in these mattresses can cause serious damage to your respiratory, hormonal and neurological systems.
Your personal sleep style will inform the type of mattress you buy. For example, our Dreamer mattress is designed to minimise partner disturbance, with five layers of varied density organic latex wrapped in natural wool, while our Deluxe mattress is perfect for lovers of firm support, using a dense coconut coir layer in the middle which lessens sinking in for a firm, robust feel.
Another big plus of going the natural route is that once you make the switch, often the issues disrupting sleep - like allergens, runny noses, or trouble breathing - clear up, a result of less toxins coming into contact with your body. And if you’re not quite ready to make the investment in a quality, low tox product, well that’s what mattress toppers are for.
Stagger sleep times
If you struggle to fall asleep at the best of times, trying to fall asleep beside a restless sleeper or loud breather might not be ideal. Furthermore, it’s pretty common for couples to have different sleep schedules anyway - one of you might be a night owl while the other prefers earlier bedtimes. So rather than follow the myths of movies, where all the couples harmoniously fall asleep together each night, work out a sleep schedule that suits you.
Experts say this approach can be a great integration of bed sharing with your partner, because the person first to bed will have a chance to drift off before their loved one joins them. Additionally, you can stagger sleep times in line with a person’s sleep cycle; every 90 minutes completes one full sleep cycle, and it’s at these intervals when you’re in your lightest sleep. Some say that joining your partner in bed during these transitions is less disruptive, however if you’re a really heavy sleeper, then you might benefit from your partner sneaking in during deep sleep.
And if you’re the late sleeper, this approach means you’re not lying awake in bed for the sake of sharing a sleep schedule. Play around with what works for you, but the main thing is to sleep when you’re ready, to get the best possible rest.
Get your sleep arsenal in order
While some of the disruptions of sleeping with a partner point to underlying health issues, some things are just part of the package. When we spend much of our early life sleeping alone, it can take time to adjust to someone else’s sleep preferences. And while their preferred sleep style can cause minor irritations, a few nifty sleep tools can help mitigate these interruptions.
If your partner snores - and no, we’re not talking about the louder ‘freight train’ brand of snoring, or its worrisome cousin, sleep apnea - then consider using ear plugs. These are also easy solutions if your partner breathes loudly, talks in their sleep, or has any other noisy habits in bed.
If it doesn’t bother your partner, you could also look at using a white noise machine or playing some soothing brown noise tracks as you drift off. You’ll be surprised how much these can help lessen ambient sounds and let your brain relax into sleep.
Maybe your problem is less noise, more light, with one of you needing a pitch black room to fall asleep. In this instance, black out curtains or eye masks can be a quick, no fuss solution.
Invest in dreamy natural bedding
This suggestion might not scream ‘how to sleep with another person in total harmony’ but if we’re talking about good sleep, this is one tip not to skip. Quality fabrics are vital to help us feel cosy and comfortable in bed, but they’re more than that. When you use natural fibres like linen, organic cotton or wool, your bedding also regulates body temperature - a lifesaving hack when one of you sleeps hot and the other is always frozen.
By switching to these breathable fabrics (like our natural French flax linen), they’ll wick away moisture if you’re running hot, while still being warm enough to use in winter (or when your loved one always complains of being cold!) If we haven’t sold you on the perks of low tox organic bedding, remember that any bedding that contains polyester is guaranteed to lock heat in and make you and your partner sweaty. And there’s really only one thing you want turning up the heat in bed…
Find a balance in bed
There’s no one right way to share your bed with a partner, but there are plenty of ways to help you strike that balance between intimacy and A-grade sleep. And if it becomes a bigger problem you’re unable to solve, there’s nothing wrong with opting for separate beds. The main thing is getting enough sleep to feel rested, and therefore healthier and happier in your life and relationship. Provided you make time for intimacy and connection, this might be the final trick you need to try.
Whether it’s a few simple hacks, finding the root problem to disruptive habits, or opting for separate beds to support your relationship and sleep, in the end, it’s an issue worth resolving. Trust us, good sleep and sharing your bed don’t have to be mutually exclusive.