Little wonder that sleeping patterns can cause so much stress in a marriage.
Interestingly, research carried out by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine says that a wife’s inability to sleep can cause far more problems than her husband suffering the same. So what do you if your other half is keeping you up all night? What if you can’t bear to share a bed? And do conflicting sleeping patterns spell the end of romance?
Most have heard a friend say it, even if we haven’t uttered it ourselves: ‘I spent most of last night kicking him but he just wouldn’t stop snoring’. Snoring can be the start of couples changing their sleeping patterns – one will go to bed early to avoid the other’s snoring, because, let’s face it, an early night is preferable to lying there, stiff as a board and fuming while your partner grunts away merrily.
In other cases one of you may simply be a night owl, reading, working or watching television while the other tries to sleep. This can quickly lead to arguments as the sleeping partner is disturbed by lights and noise or the night owl becomes bored or feels neglected and lonely late at night.
The obvious solution to either one of these problems is to sleep in separate beds, but it seems like such a taboo, as though you’re admitting you have a serious problem in your marriage. We’ve all heard tales of Moms waking early to make the spare bed up as if it had never been slept in, of partners creeping off in the night with a pillow under each arm.
It shouldn’t really be such a taboo of course; in many ways it makes sense. From the time we are just a few months old, pediatricians and parenting experts insist we learn to sleep alone, our own parents working hard to make us into independent sleepers without a need for nighttime human contact. Then, no sooner than we hit adulthood, we’re forced back into sharing our sleep space. When you look at it that way, does sleeping apart seem so very abnormal?
Whether you sleep in separate rooms to combat your conflicting sleeping patterns or you simply find other ways to deal with the problem, it may help to dedicate one night a week to sleeping in sync – going to bed at the same time and spending time chatting about your day, snuggling or having sex.
Alternatively you could work retiring early into your daily schedule, spending time in one bed together before going your separate ways to sleep, putting in your earplugs or, you night owls, beginning your evening of solo entertainment.