How To Get Your Sleep Chemistry Right With Your Valentine

Snoring, duvet-hogging and different bed times – these incompatible night-time habits can create poor sleep chemistry and drive couples apart, even on Valentine’s Day, supposedly the most romantic time of the year.

While latest research shows that over half of us are happily snuggling up with our other halves, almost one-third of us are getting a poor night’s sleep with partner disturbance being one of the top three reasons stated.

But, before taking refuge in the spare room or on the sofa to get some shut-eye, it’s worth considering all the health benefits of snuggling up with your partner, says Lisa Artis of The Sleep Council, an impartial, advisory organisation that raises the awareness of the importance of a good night’s sleep to health and wellbeing.

Lisa Artis of The Sleep Council.

Lisa Artis of The Sleep Council.

Said Lisa: “Sleeping with your partner can benefit your health and increase the odds of having a longer lifespan. This is because people tend to feel more secure and safe when in a relationship, decreasing the levels of stress hormones and increasing oxytocin, the love hormone – leading to less interrupted sleep.

“However, around 50% of sleep disturbance is caused by sharing a bed. So, if you find your sleep is disrupted on a regular basis, there are various solutions to consider before resorting to separate beds.”

Sleep guru Lisa’s top tips for perfect sleep chemistry with your Valentine:

  • Size matters: buy as big a bed as budget and room size allow so you are less likely to disturb your partner. You should be able to lie side by side, with your arms behind your head and your elbows out, without touching. Your bed should also be 4-6in (10-15cm) longer than the tallest partner.  Width-wise, two people sharing a standard double size bed (4’6″ or 135cms) have only as much personal sleeping space as a baby in a cot!

Couple look uncomfortable in double bed

  • Seven-year hitch: unintended rolling together can be caused by too small a bed – or a mattress that’s past its best.  Replace your bed at least every seven years and, if you’d be embarrassed if your neighbour saw your mattress, it’s a sure sign you need to consider getting a new one.  Zip-and-link beds allow each partner different levels of mattress support.
  • Tackle snoring: snoring has many causes: age, being overweight or out of shape, the way you’re built, nasal and sinus problems, alcohol, smoking and medications and your sleep posture.  If you suspect a sleep disorder such as sleep apnoea, seek medical help.  Otherwise, while you can’t do anything about growing older, lifestyle changes, new bedtime routines, throat exercises and some oral devices can all help to prevent snoring.  Ear-plugs can also help block out a noisy partner.
  • Combat stress: almost half of Britons say that stress or worry keeps them awake at night.  Make bedtime the place to switch off and relax with these positive steps: create a restful environment, turn off electronic gadgets and gizmos, meditate, set room temperature to around 16-18°C (60-65°F), listen to some soothing sounds, get a new bed and get into a good bedtime routine.
  • Get together: try to go to bed with your partner at the same time at least three nights a week.  Different body clocks mean many couples tuck up at different times – alarm bells should sound if that happens every night.

Couple sleeping happily in double bed

  • Double-up the duvets: where duvet-hogging is an issue, single duvets can work wonders! Separate duvets are also handy for bed sharers who have different temperature requirements. Individual duvets with a tog rating suited to each partner will put an end to the ‘too warm, too cold’ debate.

Sleep Council logo

The Sleep Council provides helpful advice and tips on how to improve sleep quality and create the perfect sleep environment. For more information . . .

Moira Chisholm

I'm the Health Editor on My Weekly and am always interested to hear what's new in this fascinating field. I also deal with the gardening, shopping pages, general features, our website content and the Ask Helen problem page. I have a special interest in Christmas content because I'm on the team for Your Best Ever Christmas Magazine, too!