Sleep can be elusive for many. According to The National Sleep Foundation:
- One in three people suffers from some form of insomnia during their lifetime.
- More than half of Americans lose sleep due to stress and anxiety.
- Between 40% and 60% of people over the age of 60 suffer from insomnia.
When you are in a relationship and are sharing the same bed, getting a great night sleep can be even more challenging. Your partner snoring, being a doona hog, being restless or having a different body temperature to you can all add complications when it comes to resting peacefully.
Six tips for a great sleep with your partner:
1. Go to bed at the same time
Creating shared bedtime rituals is a wonderful way to end the day as a celebration of the life you are sharing together. Consciously going to bed at the same time can help you to reconnect after a busy day.
2. Take a break from electronics
Finish your screen time at least 30 minutes before you go to bed, as the bright light from screens prevents your body from producing melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that tells your body it’s time to go to sleep. If you absolutely have to look at a screen in the evenings, download a free software such as f.lux which automatically changes the colour of your screen to be less bright and more warm and muted, allowing for a better nights sleep.
3. Create a beautiful space
Set the scene for a good nights sleep by having beautiful dim lighting in your bedroom. Candles, salt lamps, and bedside lights can create a wonderful, sleep- inducing environment as the dim light gives your body the message to create melatonin, the hormone used to signal the body to prepare for sleep. Aromatherapy with essential oils such as Lavender, Chamomile, Bergamot, Jasmine, Rose, and Sandalwood can help you to sleep as they are directly inhaled into the limbic system, creating a calming and soothing effect. Make your bedroom a sanctuary with a comfortable bed, pillows and doona. You can also decorate your room to your own taste so that you look forward to snuggling up at the end of the day.
4. Meditate Together
Meditating together as a couple is a wonderful way to relax and deepen your bond. Sit facing each other cross-legged or on chairs if that is more comfortable for you. Close your eyes and focus on your breath or a mantra. You will probably find that over time you become more synchronised and will automatically start breathing in time with each other. If you set a timer for 10 or 20 minutes you will know when to finish and can fully immerse yourself into the meditation.
As a couple, sharing a peaceful space together, immersed in your own book, can be a great segway to sleep. For some extra romance, you could read to one another which helps create a beautiful sense of togetherness. An inspired word or two, perhaps sharing lines from your favourite poem, can help strengthen your connection. When you read, it reduces the stress levels in your body, thereby lowering your cortisol levels (the hormone released to aid the fight or flight response). Lowered levels of cortisol in the body can make it easier to wind down and have a restful, uninterrupted sleep.
Nothing is more relaxing than having a beautiful warm cuddle with someone you love, or holding hands, perhaps a back or a foot massage, depending on what your partner feels like. Sharing your true feelings at the end of the day and really relating to your partner is a wonderful way to unwind and create true intimacy. Right before bed or in bed is not a time to talk about contentious issues. This can lead to tempers rising along with your cortisol levels, potentially interrupting natural sleep patterns. The time to sort out issues is during the day when you have time to carefully work through them, so you feel reunited by bedtime.
If you are in the mood, sex can help you sleep better due to the hormone production it creates. Studies from The Yale School of Medicine state found that sex boosts oxytocin which is a hormone that helps you to bond with your partner and decreases the production of cortisol. Estrogen levels also increase for women, enhancing their R.E.M. cycle and facilitating a deeper sleep. Overall the hormones produced during sex leave your body feeling relaxed, making it easier to drift off to sleep.
Sharing a bed with someone doesn’t have to lead to sleepless nights or disjointed sleep. In fact, if you get creative and work together as a team by implementing whatever suggestions resonate with you, you just may end up having a great nights sleep whilst enjoying yourself along the way.
Still having trouble sleeping? Check out some tips to help manage insomnia, right now.