Millions of couples find it difficult to get a good night’s sleep next to each other. And these issues increase with age. If this is a challenge for you, you’re not alone! The National Sleep Foundation reports that three out of every four adults snore or wake up frequently at night.
If your partner’s restlessness and snoring is keeping you up or you’re just planning ahead, here are some tips to protect your slumber and your relationship.
Coping With Snoring
- Get help for sleep apnea. About 45% of adults snore at least occasionally and sleep apnea is one of the most serious causes.
- People with this disorder stop breathing momentarily and have a higher risk of heart attacks and strokes. Proper diagnosis and treatment can eliminate the condition with lifestyle changes alone or wearing an airway pressure device.
- Change your sleep position. Some people snore only when they sleep on their back. Switching to your side may be all you need to do.
- Lose weight. Sometimes the culprit with snoring is just too much fat constricting your throat. So in addition to all the other health benefits, maintaining a healthy weight may eliminate this sleep issue. It’s certainly worth a try!
- Cut back on alcohol. Everyone’s more prone to snoring after a couple of drinks because alcohol relaxes the muscles in the back of your throat. If you’re planning on wine with dinner, drink plenty of water to get rehydrated and lessen the effects.
- Rethink the stigma. Almost 25% of American couples are already sleeping apart. The National Association of Home Builders predicts that most custom homes will have dual master bedrooms by 2015. You can have a happy marriage even if you sleep in separate beds.
- Reconfigure your home. If separate bedrooms are beyond your budget, there are other arrangements. Get a daybed or take over your child’s old room when they leave for college.
- Schedule time together. Maintain intimacy by developing new rituals for getting together. Sometimes sleeping apart can actually bring you closer together.
Making Other Adjustments
- Control noise. Earplugs will help block out the alarm if your spouse rises at dawn for an early morning jog. If one of you likes to fall asleep listening to music, ear buds may be the answer.
- Cut down on glare. Use nightlights to avoid turning on the lamps when one of you comes home late or departs early. They’re also good for the frequent bathroom trips that often come with aging.
- Use split sheets. To address all those blanket hogs, there are now split sheets and blankets that are divided down the middle. You’ll both get your fair share of the covers.
- Limit caffeine and other stimulants. You’ll also sleep better if you forgo coffee and cola later in the day. Some medications may also interfere with falling asleep.
- Put a curfew on the electronics. If you’re not ready to banish the TV and computer from your sleeping quarters, you can still give them a bedtime. Shutting everything off at least an hour before bed will help cut down on the mental stimulation that may make it harder to fall asleep.
- Communicate and negotiate. Whatever the specific issue, communicate openly and respectfully and look for reasonable compromises and win-win solutions. Some people may feel defensive about snoring or get strongly attached to a late night TV program.
- Talk with your doctor. Similar to apnea, there are other health issues that could be involved in any serious cases of insomnia. Your doctor can refer you to a sleep specialist if you need more assistance.
Team up on getting a good night’s sleep, whether the answer is separate beds or more modest adjustments. Being well rested will help keep your relationship and health in top condition.