Skip to main content

Verified by Psychology Today


6 Tips for Sharing a Bed and Still Sleeping Well

4. Try different (sleeping) positions.

Key points

  • If you’re used to sleeping alone, sharing a bed may be a significant adjustustment.
  • Sleep deprivation can make both partners irritable, frustrated, and exhausted.
  • Communication is key in any relationship—this is also true for your sleeping arrangements.
Source: Lizardflms/Shutterstock

Do you have a hard time sleeping while sharing the bed with your partner? Perhaps you just got into a new relationship and are sleeping with a new bed partner, or you decided to end a "sleep divorce" and start sleeping together again. Whatever the reason, getting used to someone else in your bed can be a challenge and may leave you feeling unrested in the morning.

Let’s take a look at what you can do to solve the problem.

Why Sharing a Bed May Be Difficult

Sharing a bed with another person is a very personal, intimate experience, and if you’re used to sleeping alone, this may be a significant adjustment period. In fact, your partner can ruin your sleep, and you can ruin theirs.

A few ways one person can disrupt another’s sleep include:

  • Loud snoring
  • Being a restless sleeper
  • Different temperature preferences
  • Different sleep cycles or schedules
  • You have kids who want to sleep in the bed with you

Sleep deprivation can make both partners irritable, frustrated, and exhausted. Let’s fix that.

If sharing the bed has gotten difficult or uncomfortable, don’t put up with it. Whether comfort or another person is the source of your sleep woes, there’s always a solution.

1. Get a Bigger Mattress

A full bed or a twin bed are cozy enough for one person, but they will probably be a little uncomfortable for two average-sized adults. Those mattress sizes are designed for a single sleeper. A queen-sized mattress is the most popular choice for couples because it gives each person more space to sleep and move during the night.

2. Solve Snoring Problems

Snoring is one of the most common problems between bed partners. A snoring bed partner can not only ruin your sleep, but loud snoring can be a sign that they may have nighttime allergies or an underlying sleep disorder like Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).

Some remedies you can try if your partner snores include:

  • Wearing earplugs
  • Using a sound machine or a white noise machine

If you’re the snorer, try these options:

  • Sleep on your side—this helps keep your airways open and helps reduce snoring
  • Use over-the-counter treatments such as nasal strips or dilators to open your nasal pathways
  • If you have nighttime allergies, decongest for better rest

3. Sleep According to Your Own Schedule

Not every couple will have the same sleep schedule, especially if one person works outside of normal work hours.

If you sleep on different schedules, be careful not to wake your partner as you enter or leave the bed. If you wake up before your partner does, or vice versa, let them sleep and wake up on their own.

4. Try Different Sleep Positions

The right sleep position can make a big difference when it comes to comfortably dozing off with your bed partner. What’s comfortable for you and your partner will vary, but it shouldn’t be too hard to find a comfortable position for you both to doze off in together.

Some believe that the body language associated with various sleep positions may be clues that a relationship is thriving, or even struggling. For example, sleeping close together may indicate you and your partner being close or comfortable with each other, while sleeping back-to-back could indicate underlying conflict. This isn’t always the case. Two people sharing a bed may be comfortable in any number of positions, and just because you prioritize comfort over cuddling doesn’t mean that there are problems lurking below the surface. Work with your bed partner to see what positions are most comfortable for you both. On that note…

5. Communicate with Your Partner

Communication is key in any relationship—this is also true for your sleeping arrangements. Leaving potential problems unresolved can build resentment and frustration, so if there’s anything that isn’t working with you and your partner’s sleep, talk to them about it.

Compromise may even be necessary. But don’t worry, finding a happy medium doesn’t have to be difficult. As long as you keep communication open and fair, you can both rest easy.

6. Make Your Bedroom More Sleep-Friendly

A few extra concessions in the bedroom can go a long way towards making you and your partner sleep well. Give some of these a try if you’re looking for options to make your sleeping environment even better.

  • Try lighter sheets
  • Consider using two separate covers
  • Try an eye-mask
  • Use earplugs

What if I Still Can’t Sleep Comfortably with my Partner?

If you or your partner are still experiencing frequent sleep disturbances, be sure to rule out a sleep disorder. Sleep disorders can ruin the sleep of not only the affected sleeper, but their partner can sleep poorly as a result, too.

Even if you and your partner are compatible in other ways, sometimes you may just struggle to sleep well together. It just happens, and you shouldn’t take it personally.

If this is the case, then perhaps a “sleep divorce” may be a good idea. But don’t worry, this isn’t as ominous as it sounds. 25 percent of American couples are sleeping apart, and that number is climbing.

While I always recommend addressing any sleep problems in the bedroom before resorting to different sleeping arrangements, this can be a helpful choice if you’ve exhausted other options.

Sharing a bed with another person can be an intimate and wonderful experience, but it does require some compromise. As long as you and your partner communicate openly and honestly, sharing the bed can be a breeze.

Facebook image: Lizardflms/Shutterstock

More from Michael J. Breus Ph.D.
More from Psychology Today