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Yes, sleep. As in hibernate. (What were you thinking?) Learn to stack easy Zs and wake up refreshed
Keeping your mate up all night isn’t something to brag about. In fact, about one in four American couples sleep in separate beds because they just can’t sleep together. Seven out of 10 women in a recent Women’s Health poll said their partner keeps them up at night by snoring and moving around. And a groggy partner is a cranky partner. “If that person is waking up grumpy and it’s a new relationship, it’ll probably get worse over time,” says Rafael Pelayo, a Stanford sleep physician. “Lack of sleep makes people feel irritable, inattentive, and sometimes even guilty because they bark at their partner in the morning.” See if any of these problems sound familiar, and then take action to sleep well tonight.
1. Snoring keeps one of you up all night.
Sleep on your side to keep your tongue out of the way, Dr Pelayo suggests. Or do palate exercises, like pushing the tip of your tongue against the roof of your mouth and then sliding your tongue backward. In a 2015 Brazilian study, such exercises – involving the tongue, soft palate, and hard palate – reduced snoring frequency by 36%. Another option is the Max-Air Nose Cone nasal dilator – a plastic thingy that props your nasal airways open, encouraging nasal breathing. In one study, it increased airflow by 110%.
2. She wants to sleep; you’re wide awake.
Your chronotypes may be out of sync. You each have your own natural sleep cycle; we don’t know how they develop, and altering your chronotype isn’t easy, says University of Pittsburgh sleep researcher Heather Gunn. Is your mate’s internal clock powering down as The Bachelor credits roll while yours keeps ticking well past the infomercials? Ask each other if hitting the sack together is really that important. If you’re a night owl and she rises with the roosters, try heading to bed separately. “If you wake up feeling good,” Dr Pelayo says, “all is forgiven in the morning.”
3. One of you is a restless sleeper.
Go royal: with a queen or king mattress, you’ll have more elbow room. A bed with air chambers for each side or memory foam mattress isolates movement. On a budget? Wedge a body pillow between you and your bedmate, Dr Pelayo says. Or try slipping into a thin sleeping bag beneath the sheets.
4. Sleeplessness is tearing you apart.
Two words: separate beds. Maybe it’s not so romantic, but a good night’s sleep trumps all. In a University of Pittsburgh study, married men were more satisfied with their relationship after a good sleep. About a quarter of couples don’t share a bed, the National Sleep Foundation reports. Have a snuggle (or more) before retiring to separate beds, and then climb back into bed together in the morning. “Time spent side by side in an intimate space is important,” Wood says. That’s when men are more likely to share intimate thoughts. And you know where that can lead.
5. She’s always cold and you’re a furnace.
Women tend to feel colder than men because their smaller frame and higher body fat equals a slower metabolism. And once you hit dreamland, your internal thermometer changes: “You tend to feel colder in the morning than at the start of the night,” Dr Pelayo says. Performance bedding fabrics can help. Sheex, made of moisture-wicking microfibre polyester and spandex, absorb sweat and help regulate body temps. A ChiliPad Cube mattress pad uses silicone tubing to circulate cold or warm water on either side of the bed.
6. Spooning puts your arm to sleep.
Curling up together can have direct physiological benefits – like reducing stress responses, says social scientist Wendy Troxel. Start out in a bodies-touching position, suggests body language expert Patti Wood. Then segue into something more conducive to slumber. The back-to-back “Zen position” reveals trust and the ability and desire to be independent, Wood says, but the “tushie touch” shows that you want to stay sexually connected. It’s all about the “cuddle hormone” oxytocin: scientists in France say this hormone makes men perceive their partner as more attractive than other women.
Ask the girl next door:
“She calls me “babe” and invites me over for movie night, just the two of us. But then she says she doesn’t like me “that way.” What does that mean?”- TOM, East London
It means you’re being used – to stroke her ego. Sounds to me like you’ve been putting up with this arrangement hoping for more, and she’s just into having a guy around who will dote on her. So she gives you just enough encouragement to stick around. (That’s what’s behind the pet name, by the way.) Trust me on this: If a woman is truly interested, “movie night” is never really movie night. In other words, if it hasn’t happened by now, it’s not happening. So give it up. You’ll be far better off spending your Friday nights swiping through Tinder options than wasting your time with someone who will never be an option.