The Scandi Sleep Method: Is Separate Bedding Better For Couples?

7 Min Read | By Shannan Humphrey

Last Modified 19 October 2023   First Added 27 September 2021

This article was written and reviewed in line with our editorial policy.

Sleeping next to your significant other can bring great comfort and warmth when drifting off at night. However, 27% of us reported sleeping better without our partner in the bed, showing that it isn’t always as lovey-dovey as it might seem. From our Sleep Survey, these were what people found annoying about sharing the bed:

  • Snoring
  • Taking up too much space
  • Hogging the duvet
  • Fidgeting too much
  • Their partner rolls over and breathes directly onto them

If you’re experiencing frustration and sleep deprivation because of your partner’s (lack of) sleep etiquette, then the Scandinavian sleep method could be the answer. In many colder countries, couples don’t share a duvet – they have one each! This way, you can still experience the closeness and intimacy of sharing a bed at night but also eliminate some of the issues couples experience.

What is the Scandinavian sleep method?

This way of sleeping became the topic of online conversation when TikToker Cecilia Blomdahl, who lives in Svalbard (an island close to the North Pole), shared her love of this sleep hack:

@sejsejlija

the Scandinavian way to GREAT sleep ✨️ #svalbard #longyearbyen

♬ Metamorphosis – Danilo Stankovic

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 concentration levels, 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. In this book, he discusses 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 that may differ from 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.

How the Scandi method helps you sleep

Having separate bedding doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice intimacy for comfort. Let’s dive into the pros of having separate bedding…

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 your sleep temperature

Temperature is hugely influential on sleep. 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.

Some of us like a thick, fluffy duvet, while others run warm and prefer just a sheet for comfort. Now, you don’t have to compromise!

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 makes it easier to 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.

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.

5. Better sleep means happier relationship

You may notice that snappy remarks and short tempers often follow a bad night’s sleep. Consistently poor sleep quality leads to physical and mental health issues, including anxiety, emotional dysregulation, and lower stress tolerance, which can strain a relationship.

Are your sleep routines misaligned? Take the plunge...

Are there any drawbacks?

1. Can be harder for cuddlers

The biggest reason we all love to share a bed is the closeness and intimacy it brings. If you like to be close to each other when you fall asleep, then you might wonder how it works with different bedding.

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. Making the bed can be tougher

Another potential issue with 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, add some decorative throw pillows or a full-sized blanket to create cohesion across the two halves.

A woman waking up in a bed. A woman waking up in a bed.

How to switch to separate bedding

If you’re ready to change it up, then here are a few tips on the Scandinavian sleep method:

1. Talk about your sleep issues

It can feel like something is wrong if you don’t like sleeping with your partner, but that’s not the case. Sleep is very personal, especially given how important it is to our lives! If your bedroom arrangements are causing tension, then the best thing to do is talk it out and find a solution so everyone can rest easy.

2. Experiment with duvet size

For most people who have grown up with this set-up, it’s the norm to have a single duvet for each person. This means you’ll fit nicely on a double bed and can neatly make it up in the morning by placing them next to each other.

However, when transitioning from a bigger duvet, you might feel the loss. If you have a tendency to burrito wrap yourself, or want your covers to overlap so you can snuggle, then opting for two double duvets can be the answer. To keep you extra snuggly, you can fold a double in half like a hot dog bun – also a great way of keeping cold feet away!

3. Pick your own pillows

While we don’t tend to share a pillow, it can be something that people forget to change out for their own needs. The proper alignment is essential for waking up feeling refreshed and avoiding any aches and pains in the morning. If you’re struggling to get comfy at night, then remember to consider how your neck and shoulders feel.

4. Go full Scandi in the bedroom

You’ve probably heard of Scandi interior design; we love it for the bedroom. This cosy, minimalist take is focused on simplicity, which is ideal for a relaxing bedroom. Go for a light neutral colour palette of white, cream, beige, and brown, with natural wood finishes, and luxe fibres like Icelandic sheep wool, linen, and Fair Isle patterns.

Explore our deep dive into Scandi bedroom designs and how to nail the trend.

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