One behavior that humans seem relatively fond of (at least until they try it long term!) is sleeping together with their partner. This is practiced widely, and is generally considered the ‘normal’ for a lot of people.
But what many fail to realize is that, just like in a relationship, partners are not always ‘compatible’ as sleeping partners either!
But how can you tell if you are sleep compatible with your partner?
Here is what you need to know.
The Basics: What Is Sleep Compatibility?
Sleep compatibility is basically a measurement of how well you and your partner can sleep together, based on a number of different factors. These factors include bedtime behaviors, sleep disorders, sleeping schedules, and a range of other variables.
Consider this situation, for example.
A couple goes to bed at 10 pm. They turn the lights out and get under the covers. But the husband turns on the TV, while the wife is trying to close her eyes and go to sleep. The husband says he needs TV to get to sleep… but the wife says it keeps her awake.
This is an example at least partial incompatibility.
Or, let’s say that a couple works different shifts. The husband is just getting ready to go to bed at about 10 pm… but this is only an hour before his wife needs to wake up to start her 3rd shift job. So for the next hour or two, as he is trying to sleep, his wife is taking a shower, using the hairdryer, rummaging through drawers, cooking breakfast, etc.
This might keep him from being able to get the sleep he needs… and definitely qualifies as an incompatibility.
An obvious cause of sleep incompatibility is snoring. Snoring and sleep apnea tend to be very noisy – and even if all of your other habits sync up perfectly, this can often be the ‘straw that breaks the camel’s back’ where sleeping habits are concerned.
So how do you determine if you and your partner are actually sleep compatible?
As it turns out, this is a pretty easy process. Here is what we recommend.
Determining Your Actual Sleep Compatibility
One of the best ways to determine this is to start paying mindful attention to what types of things keep you awake and bother you as you are trying to get to sleep (or stay asleep) at night. It is also important to note if any of these things are caused by your partner.
Every time your partner causes you to lose sleep, you should try to write the incident down in a notebook and keep track of the date and time.
(Note: this is not intended to cause an argument or to make your partner feel bad. They should also do the same with you. The intent is just to record incidents so that you can review them later.)
If patterns emerge that show regular, or at least semi-regular, incidents where your partner disrupts your sleep, for any reason, then it is safe to say that you are experiencing at least a certain amount of sleep incompatibility.
How Do You Fix It?
The good news is that sleep incompatibility is not always a deal breaker. Just like in relationships, where you need to work together to get along and find the best ways to relate to one-another, sleeping requires you to also compromise and find ways to solve the problems.
There are a wide range of possibilities. Some couples may find that they are so incompatible as sleeping partners that they need to sleep in separate beds…while others may find that a few little adjustments can pretty much fix all of the issues.
Wearing earplugs, for example, can help with a snoring partner. This can also help if your partner needs to get up earlier than you.
Wearing a blindfold while sleeping can help with lights if your partner wants to watch TV, or needs to turn the bathroom light on.
If you need to get ready for work early, you can try putting all of your stuff in a different room the night before, and changing/getting ready there instead of in your bedroom, which will help you to avoid keeping your partner awake.
The important thing, however, is to figure out what the problem is. This will allow you to work on a solution for it and get back to getting a healthy night’s rest.