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Sleeping Partners

By: Wendy Jacob - Updated: 7 Oct 2010 | comments*Discuss
Body Temperature Circadian Rhythms

Sharing a bed with a partner can help you sleep. The comfort, warmth and security of a good nights sleep with someone you are close to may make it hard for you to sleep apart. For others sleeping together can be a nightmare, with one or both partners suffering from difficulty falling or staying asleep.

Sleep and Sex

The one exception to the 'bed is for sleep' rule is of course, sex. Sex is for many a prelude to a good nights sleep. Men usually find it easier to sleep after sex than women. Some women find that sex leaves them feeling stimulated and unable to sleep. Anthropologists have suggested that this is because man 'the hunter' would sleep in his woman's arms after sex while she kept watch for predators. With the absence of predators in most bedrooms it is frustrating lying awake as your partner sleeps soundly.

This may cause few problems in the short term but long term sleep loss will affect health. Sex at other times may be the answer - morning sex is a great way to start the day!

Many women feel too exhausted to have sex, and lack of sleep can affect relationships. The connection between bed and sex means that stresses in the relationship are taken into the bedroom. This is detrimental to a good nights sleep.

Stress affects the ability to sleep well leading to sleep debt. This may make both partners irritable and lead to further strain within the relationship. Lack of sleep affects our emotions and our sex drive. This need for sleep is often unrecognised as a contributing factor in relationship problems. Partners may continue to share the same bed suffering sleepless nights and feeling increasingly isolated and distressed.

Sleeping Differences

The challenge of having a decent nights sleep with another person increases if there are substantial differences in body clock and sleeping patterns. Even a good sleeper will be affected by outside factors such as noise, temperature and light.

Poor sleepers will find sleeping with a partner more of a challenge. Lying awake watching your partner sleeping peacefully can be extremely frustrating!

Differences in circadian rhythms mean that partners feel sleepy at different times and may need to go to bed, and rise at different times.

Sleep disturbances that cause restlessness may disrupt the other partner's sleep causing both partners to suffer from lack of sleep.

Snoring and Sleep Apnea are likely to affect a partner's ability to fall asleep and their sleep quality. Both conditions may affect the partner's transitions between deeper and light sleep causing loss of sleep quality.

Physical differences such as weight and body temperature may affect the choice of bed and bedding. Personal preferences may make it necessary to create subtle differences in the sleeping environment. Many couples find tow duvets and different pillows solve the bedding fights!

Sleep masks and earplugs are useful if one partner is particularly sensitive to light and noise.

Some couples find that allowing one partner to go to bed and fall asleep first helps ensure a good nights sleep. For others, the occasional night in a separate room is enough to catch up on sleep debt. Finding a night time routine that suits both partners and ensures a good night's sleep is essential for any relationship.

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