Do Couples Sleep Better With Separate Bedding?

6 min read

Last Modified 27 September 2021 First Added 27 September 2021

By Shannan Humphrey

Sleeping next to your significant other can bring great comfort and warmth when drifting off at night. However, as many of us know, when sharing a bed you can feel too hot, waking you up during the night. Or maybe your partner steals the blankets, and you wake up feeling cold. Even the feeling of them tossing and turning can wake up you during the night. Having these constant interruptions can affect your sleep quality.

Sleeping with separate bedding may be the solution to these common problems. You can still experience the closeness and intimacy of sharing a bed at night, however, you won’t have the common hot-cold dilemma at night, resulting in both of you getting a great night’s sleep. In this article, we’ll explore why you should consider sleeping with separate bedding.

The case for sleeping with separate bedding

Common sleep problems such as cover-hogging, temperature issues, and feeling your partner move at night can cause you to get less than 8 hours of sleep at night, resulting in poor moods, low levels of concentration, and affecting your learning and memory. Lack of sleep even affects your relationship.  But research suggests sleeping with separate bedding can help you sleep better.

Sleep specialist Rafael Pelayo, clinical professor at the Stanford Center for Sleep Sciences and Medicine, is most known for his studies and book on How to Sleep which offers science-backed solutions to sleeping through the night. Within this book, he talks about creating a personal sleep environment even if you sleep with a partner.

In an interview with Good Housekeeping, he recommends separate bedding for couples struggling to sleep. He explains that sleep preferences such as our favourite side of the bed, sleeping position or ideal temperature are learned behaviours and may be different than your partner’s. This can lead to problems or one person not getting enough sleep.

“It’s not a routine recommendation, but if somebody is telling me that they’re having concerns about one person moving too much or they’re uncomfortable in their bed because they’re fighting over covers, I suggest, why can’t you get two blankets? It seems to make sense.”

Terri Riutcel, M.D., an associate professor of neurology at the Sleep Medicine Center at Washington University School of Medicine, expands on this, exploring how temperature is a big factor when it comes to sleep habits. You and your partner may disagree on the perfect temperature for falling asleep.

Therefore, having separate bedding allows each partner to personalise their sleeping habits, meaning both of you can improve your sleep quality. This in turn can cause you and your partner to avoid sleep loss and any possible arguments, as a lack of sleep can result in low moods and increased irritability.

Fariha Abbasi-Feinberg, M.D., medical director of sleep medicine at Millennium Physician Group says:

“Some individuals may have a preference when it comes to body temperature at night, and using separate blankets can help with that. Or you might sleep with a partner who is a blanket hog, therefore having your own blanket could be beneficial.”

Reasons to consider separate bedding:

Having separate bedding doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice intimacy for comfort. Let’s dive into the specific pros of having separate bedding, and explore and debunk the potential cons.

1. You’re less likely to wake up if your partner gets up

If you and your partner have different wake-up times you can often feel them move the covers as they get out of bed in the morning. If you’re a light sleeper, this can interrupt your sleep. With separate bedding, you can easily get in and out of bed and worry less about disturbing your significant other. This is also true if your partner often gets up during the night, or even sleepwalks.

2. You can choose what temperature you sleep at

There’ll be no more sleeping next to your partner and getting too hot or waking up sweating because they emit so much body heat. Having a separate blanket means you can still enjoy their warmth but at a distance, so you keep cool at night. It also aids in helping you choose what temperature you feel is the most comfortable. You can choose the weight of the bedding to match, i.e. a light blanket if you like to feel cooler or a heavier duvet if you like to feel toasty and warm.

3. It’s easier to adjust at night

If you wake up in the middle of the night because you’re too hot or too cold, you’ll find it hard to adjust to get comfortable again if your partner is all curled up. Having separate bedding means that you can sling your leg out or poke your feet out of the bottom if you’re too hot. If you’re too cold, you can easily adjust and snuggle into your duvet without disturbing your partner’s sleep.

4. No more fighting over the covers

It is frustrating, to say the least, when your partner rolls over and steals the blankets away from you, leaving you exposed and cold at night. Tossing and turning is natural when we are asleep but it is annoying when we have to snatch the blanket back, potentially waking your partner in the process. Separate bedding can solve the problem of sleeping with a duvet hogger. Opt for your own bedding and no one will be fighting over how much blanket cover they get.

Debunking some common myths:

1. Is it harder to snuggle?

The biggest reason we all love to share a bed is because of the closeness and intimacy that it brings. Sleeping with your partner means you can cuddle in bed and a common question is how can you cuddle if you’re not under the same cover? Well, the truth is, it might just be easier to snuggle with separate bedding.

You can have your covers overlap slightly and snuggle up close to each other, or even put one leg over your covers and be closer to your partner. Or you could even get under one of the duvets to cuddle, and when the time comes to sleep you can roll back under your own duvet. Having separate bedding still gives you that chance to be intimate but also gives you that personal space and control over your own sleep routine.

2. Is making the bed harder?

Another potential drawback of going for separate bedding is that with two duvets it could be harder to make the bed neatly. However, in reality making the bed with separate bedding just consists of spreading the duvets out on each side and having them meet in the middle. If you’re concerned about the appearance, just lay a blanket on top of the separate duvets to cover them up.

Couples do sleep better with separate bedding, so it’s definitely worth trying it out. Having separate bedding causes fewer fights about who’s stealing the blankets, but also means both you and your partner can lessen the likelihood of waking up during the night. This leads to a better night’s sleep and a happier relationship for you both.

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