Can You Sleep Well With a Partner?



If you sleep in a bed alone (by choice or otherwise), I think you’re onto something. Something good.

Sorry if this offends you, or raises your eyebrows.

I’ve been married happily for over 30 years. My husband and I are two contented peas in a pod – in separate beds.

Why are your eyes popping out of your head?

Relax;  trust me on this one. I share this information with good intent. But with caveats: if you’re exceedingly young and driven like a motor by pleasure hormones, ignore this post. If you’re in a brand new relationship, ignore this post. If proximity to another warm virile human body is critical to your wellbeing, ignore this post. If you’re a spooner who nestles nightly with your significant other in rapturous bliss, ignore this post. The rest of you, read on!

Here’s the thing. I need space in my own bed. To myself. By myself. And it sure isn’t rocket science as to why.

I flail and turn over repeatedly in the night, the “pig on spit” syndrome. Often I blubber or grunt unconsciously into the darkness. Grind teeth mercilessly. Choose and select different body positions as the night rolls on  - side, back, stomach.

I sometimes choose the ‘legs straight’ or ‘legs diagonal’ pose. I’m happily physical, noisy, fitful. My activities within my bed during the night don’t bother or waken The Spouse. (These activities may say something about me, but that’s another post for another time.)

My partner also enjoys his favourite night rituals. When he sleeps, he lords over the whole bed and grips tightly onto all the covers. Migrates regularly: scoots in nanoseconds from the far right of the bed, to the far left; repeats. And sometimes when I peek over at him from my own bed, I can’t see him at all; he likes to melt down in the very centre of his pod, disappears.

The clincher is his predilection for laughing hysterically in his sleep, as though he’s just been told a hilarious joke. This is annoying and creepy. The moment I whine out “Shut UP!” to halt his mirth, his laughter ceases, snoring resumes.

Lay someone beside me in my bed, it gets on my every last nerve. I don’t want a person’s leg draped over mine like a concrete block. Cuts off circulation. I don’t want someone’s huge head lolling on my side of the bed. And I surely don’t want to hear loud noises emitting through intricate orifices.

It is this, pure and simple: when someone is tossing like a landed fish beside me, they don’t allow me to do ‘my’ sleep thing. I may also wake them with my rumblings. Then I don’t sleep well. I may not sleep at all.

There is nothing healthy or intimate about a chronic loss of quality slumber. 

Have you ever really thought about this?

Let me share a tidbit more.

My husband and I recently shared a hotel room. We booked separate queen beds. The limited space between beds proved a big problem. The Spouse’s snoring in that limited space was so decibel rich and irksome that even my trusty earplugs could not filter the sound.

I was awake that whole night. Had enough time on my brain to realize, during the wee hours of that evening, that a human’s capacity for diverse, wide ranging noctural noises is, frankly, incredible. 

As if that isn’t enough, The Spouse also makes clicking sounds in the back of his throat during his snoring regime that are enough to send me over the edge. Unless I’m a good distance from the man, this Clicking Mania reverberates right through my earplugs, a slow steady torture.

Next time we stay at a hotel I’ll be packing my double decker fan (white noise) and industrial strength earplugs. The fan will be placed strategically between The Spouse and me, or if necessary, I’ll slam it up right against my ear.

But hold up: sleep for The Spouse and me is never a stress bubble – at home.

Here’s why: The Spouse and I view proper sleeping as a blessing, a healthy act, a necessity. It need not be a curse. At home we enjoy good quality sleep in those two separate double beds, set far apart in a large room. We  jam in earplugs, use fans to drown out emissions. We’re happy, peaceful, content. Free to engage in our potpourri of sleeping idiocyncracies. It is a pleasure. 

If you conclude from this that we have a mundane boring loveless marriage, you would be wrong.

If you’re not sleeping well because your partner is mummified within covers you supposedly share, has painfully loud late night releases, or snores at levels that rock the room, your health will suffer. Studies prove it. Just observing the wild sleeping habits of your partner could drive you to full bore insomnia.

Treasure and hoard your personal sleep needs, any way you can. Your health may well depend on it.

You’ll never guess who agrees with me. The answer: next blog!


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This entry was posted on Thursday, August 2nd, 2012 at 6:00 am and is filed under Posts. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.


  1. August 2nd, 2012 | Shari says:

    I agree with you! Both my husband and I are very similar to you and your husband….the difference? We bought a king size bed after being able to share a double or queen for years. It’s like we each have our own single bed. While we sleep, we never touch and we have a pile of pillows stacked up between us to buffer all of our nocturnal sounds. And there seems to be enough space for me to move around all night long! Our two little cockapoos might have to shift for me now and again but they don’t seem to mind! Sleep is hugely important for us, especially now that we are getting older and seem to be much more sensitive about everything!!!! The fact that we have been married for almost 25 years makes us much more accepting that things change in a marriage…..

  2. August 3rd, 2012 | abby says:

    Dear Shari: Great points, and this is a super idea. It’s contingent however on the availability of financial resources with which to purchase a king sized bed, and, contingent upon the number of decibels the snoring, emitting, clicking partner spews out. In some cases, I’d argue, there is no amount of distance that will do, which is why our guest sexpert today, Josey Vogels, tip-toes into a separate ROOM when her beloved starts up his motor.

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