Finally, your days of sleeping alone are over. There is someone you love on the other side of the bed. You imagine snuggling and enjoying peaceful sleep in their arms. This will surely be better than watching Netflix until you can’t keep your eyes open… or will it? If you’re like most couples, the road to restful slumber is bumpy. Let’s take a look at the realities of sharing a bed.

They’re a classic pair: the night owl and the early bird. In love, moving in together, creating a cozy bedroom. After two months of compromising sleep/wake patterns, they are more like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, in turn. It’s not often both sleep well on any given night.

A more rare pair: the insomniac and the guy who falls asleep when his head hits the pillow (and promptly begins to saw logs). She’s relieved to pinpoint a reason for persistent sleeplessness. Nevermind her busy brain. That lumberjack on the other side of the bed is definitely the problem.

Meet the dreamers: He’s enjoying a blissful dream soaring over treetops, when THWACK! his partner’s arm whacks his nose as she exclaims, “Nooooooo!” He desperately tries to resume his flying dream while she thrashes and mumbles something about airplanes. They may be sleeping in the same bed, but their dreamlands are worlds apart.

And the snorers: It’s 3 a.m. The noises once described as, “cute little snoring sounds” are not so cute tonight. He gently nudges her awake. Minutes later, his own breathing is punctuated with intermittent snorts. It’s her turn to nudge him. Sleep-nudge-repeat. Snoring and sleeping in cycles, sharing a bed is much less romantic than either had imagined.

Last but not least: the partner-who-pees-in-the-night. Those who can sleep through their chosen one’s bathroom breaks are lucky. Those who can not have a lot of practice counting sheep. They may even be able to do it with their eyes closed… What, you’re too tired to appreciate my humor?

Speaking with couples about their trials and triumphs in the bedroom… ahem.. sleeping together… ummm… sharing a bed. That sounds more G-rated, right? Moving on… Knowing how vital sleep is, I asked couples what they have tried in pursuit of the elusive good night’s sleep. A list of highlights follows:

  • Practice a relaxing, pre-bedtime yoga routine together
  • Use ear plugs
  • Take turns sleeping on the couch
  • Listen to sleep meditations or body scans with noise-cancelling headphones
  • Sleep in separate beds or individual bedrooms, at least occasionally
  • Try anti-snoring nose strips or a sleep apnea machine (if appropriate)

Without a magic solution, couples are left juggling their desire for closeness and their need for adequate sleep. There is no fool-proof answer to, “How can I sleep soundly with a partner?” Think about this question instead: “Who do I want beside me while I’m chasing zzzzzzz’s?” They may smack your face during the sweetest part of your dream. Will you still want to wake up each morning with that person on the other side of the bed?