Tips for dealing with your partners annoying sleep habits

By: Jun 10, 2011

Your partner's irritating sleep habits can take it's toll on your relationship and your beauty sleep. Here are some suggestions to make the situation easier on you both.

Whether you and your partner have shared a bed for 50 long, loving years or just 5 exciting, new days, there will always be compromises. Just as in any healthy relationship, there will be trials and tribulations to be overcome - maybe something as easily solved as mattress firmness or how many pillows, maybe as complicated as what thread count the sheets should be. These problems are no biggie, because they come from an external source, but what happens when your bed problem is your partner? Maybe he or she snores, or tosses and turns in the middle of the night or maybe he or she stays up ‘til all hours and falls asleep with TV on. What do you do to fix these partner problems without going all 1950s and “pulling the beds apart” so to speak?

If your partner is a night owl…
This problem is the most easily solved of the aforementioned set, because theoretically, it shouldn’t affect you that much. If your partner stays up all night, though it may be frustrating if he or she is cranky or wake you up for a minute or two when they finally come to bed, it is overall not your problem. You need to let your partner make his or her own mistakes sometimes, and this is one of them. If it is important to you that you and your partner go to bed together because of the intimacy factor, you can have him or her come and tuck you in when you go to bed. Try talking to your partner, and expressing your concern for his or her mental and physical health. Remember, however, that a relationship is not a guardianship. You are not your partner’s mom or dad telling him or her that it is time to go to bed at such and such hour. This “night owl” problem is only really a problem for you if your partner makes it your problem. If your partner asks you for help or gets cranky with you because he or she can’t sleep, he or she can try melatonin or another mild sleep aid. If the problem persists, he or she can visit a doctor who may be able to offer him or her something a bit stronger to knock him or her out a decent hour.

If your partner tosses and turns…
This problem can be broken down into two smaller ones. Either your partner’s tossing and turning wakes you up because he or she steals your blankets, or it wakes you up because you get kicked or jostled. If your partner tends to steal the blankets in the process of tossing and turning, put two blankets on your bed – one for you and one for your partner. If the tossing and turning jostles you about or even smacks you a few times, you can buy a bigger bed if you can afford it. If you can’t, which is more likely, try getting a memory foam pillow top for your mattress. Memory foam cushions impacts and reduces the amount that you will feel your partner’s tossing and turning. Otherwise, you can build a pillow barrier in the middle of the bed between you to give you a buffer for some of the kicks and thrashes that come your way.

If your partner falls asleep with the TV on…
If your partner falls asleep with their computer, TV, or radio on, you have to break it down into several smaller problems. First, the problem itself – does your partner leave it on because he or she likes the light, or perhaps the noise, or simply because he or she falls asleep while watching or listening to something? Second, your feelings about it – does it bother you because it wastes electricity, because it keeps you awake, or does it really not bother you that much? If you partner likes the light, the problem can be solved by buying a nightlight. If he or she likes the sound, ask him or her to use headphones to listen to it so as not to disturb you. If it is a matter of falling asleep with it on, well… if it’s a laptop you can ask him or her to watch it unplugged so that the battery runs out and it shuts down at some point after he or she has fallen asleep.

If it bothers you because of the electricity, try finding a greener solution – i.e. low watt nightlight, running laptop off battery ‘til it dies, or ear buds attached to an IPod or other such small electronic. If it keeps you awake, you may have to just turn it off yourself after your partner falls asleep. You can also ask your partner to enjoy his or her entertainment on a more unobtrusive device – IPod or cell phone with headphones, rather than a TV or laptop with the sound on. If it doesn’t really bother you beyond a general pet peeve, you may want to just let it go, especially if it helps your partner fall asleep. Falling asleep with the TV on shouldn’t be a deal breaker in your relationship anyhow.

If your partner snores…
This one is a bit tough, because there are varying definitions of the word, “snore.” By, “My partner snores,” you could mean anything from “my partner purrs softly,” to “my partner saws down redwoods each night.” Depending on the severity of the problem, earplugs, noise canceling headphones, or even just poking your partner until he or she rolls over and stops snoring may be a solution. If he or she is closer to the “redwood” category than the “kitty” category, it may prove most beneficial to have your partner see a doctor to determine the source of their snoring. There are many special medications, nose strips, and other such solutions that can be prescribed by a doctor.

You may even discover your partner has an allergy or a disease like sleep apnea that makes them snore. In this case, going to the doctor would be beneficial anyway. The problem of snoring takes a bit of a process to fix, and there are good nights and bad ones. The important thing is to be patient and understanding. Snoring, and other sleep problems as well, may be embarrassing for your partner to deal with. Remind your partner that you love him or her, even if you don’t love the loud snoring, the tossing and turning, or being a night owl.