Sharing a bed after your I do’s is more than a social norm, it’s a healthy way to start your marriage. Bedsharing can solidify your relationship and increase marital satisfaction. However, like other areas of marriage, it might take some compromise and adjustments to make sure you’re both getting the rest you need.
Bedsharing Synchronizes Your Sleep Patterns
According to Heather Gunn, the lead researcher in a couples sleep study, “How couples sleep together may influence and be influenced by their relationship functioning.” Their research showed that when couples were satisfied with their marriage, particularly the wife, their sleep patterns synchronized. Seventy-five percent of the time, the partners woke up and went to bed at the same time.
The timing of your sleep will influence your health for the rest of your life. Adequate sleep, that’s at least a full seven hours, supports emotional stability, strengthens the immune system, and stabilizes appetite and metabolism. Of course, arguments, stress, and work schedules can throw you out of sync but sharing a bed can help you both get better, longer sleep.
Marital Happiness Influences Sleep
Your emotional state heavily impacts your sleep too. It’s no surprise that a satisfactory relationship leads to better sleep. Marital conflict, on the other hand, can start a vicious cycle of sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation causes the emotional center of the brain to go into overdrive while the logic center slows down. The result is an emotional state that fuels further marital conflict, which in turn continues to disrupt sleep and on the cycle goes.
You can’t avoid all arguments. Learning to compromise, listen, and adapt are all part of marriage. But a focus on better sleep can ease your transition into married life.
How to Get Better Sleep as Couple
Establish a Bedtime (though not necessarily the same bedtime)
The body loves predictability and will follow your preferred schedule, but consistency is key. If you go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, your body will more readily respond to the release of sleep hormones. Be flexible if your partner is an early bird and you’re a night owl. You may not be able to synchronize your sleep schedules but you can still share a bed and successfully get seven hours of sleep.
Respect and Support Your Partners Needs
Sharing a bed can be hard, especially if one person is a light sleeper. As your marriage begins, expect some sleep problems. You’re bringing two people together for a new sleep experience.
While bedsharing is the healthiest option for most people, there are circumstances under which bedsharing causes chronic sleeplessness for one or both partners. Excessive snoring, sleepwalking, or excessive movement may be too much for some people. There are mouthguards, medical devices, and therapeutic pillows that can help reduce snoring. Other couples may need to consult a physician if a sleep disorder is suspected.
Use Bedtime for Bonding
Bedsharing provides an opportunity for bonding as a couple. Try creating a bedtime routine together. What kind of relaxing activities can you do to prep yourselves for a good night’s rest? Enjoy a warm cup of milk or spend a few minutes doing meditation together. You could take a few minutes to talk about your day or express gratitude for one another before drifting off to sleep. Physical closeness that doesn’t lead to sex is important for feeling connected and bonded to one another.
Sharing a bed is a way for couples to strengthen their relationship. As you both get better sleep, you’ll be able to build a fulfilling life together that allows both of you to grow as a couple and as individuals.
Stacey L. Nash is a Seattle area writer for Tuck.com whose insomnia led her to research all aspects of sleep. With a degree in communications from the University of Puget Sound, she helps put sleep into the forefront of the health and wellness conversation. When not researching and writing about sleep, she spends time with her husband and four children on their heavily-wooded, twelve-acre piece of heaven.