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BellaOnline's Marriage Editor

How to Get a Good Night's Sleep With Your Spouse

Iíd really love to sleep with my husband. And Iím not talking about having sex. I dream about deep, satisfying slumber while nestled in his arms. But the reality is a nightmare. His body radiates heat like nuclear fusion (not good for a menopausal woman with her own night sweats); and he exhales pure CO2 in my face which depletes my oxygen intake. When he turns over, his elbow nails me in the face. And he grunts and groans in his sleep, waking me up in a daze believing that the Incredible Hulk has just burst through our bedroom wall.

One night, I woke up in a panic, thinking that we just had an earthquake (we live in Southern California where it isnít uncommon.) ďScott! Wake up! We just had an earthquake!Ē I cried out. He frowned. ďI just turned over in bed. Iíll go on a diet tomorrow.Ē

Iím not the only one who isnít getting quality sleep. My own restless legs jolt him awake or knock him in the nuts. And I throw off the blankets, leaving him to shiver in the cold. Our sleeping lives must look like a WWF battle. Itís no wonder why many married couples resort to separate beds or bedrooms.

Call me a romantic, but I like the closeness and intimacy of sharing a marital bed even with all the abuse and deprivation. I still love to reach over and feel his skin, caress his face and watch him sleep. When he is gone overnight, there may be more room in a still bed, but there is another type of comfort he provides that I miss. Thatís why I researched some ways to improve my sleep while staying in the same bed. Maybe they can help you, too.

Too much jostling and movement
Some people are tossers and turners while others sleep perfectly still like zombies. I have Restless Legs Syndrome which causes my limbs to jerk suddenly at unpredictable intervals. One way to keep each otherís physical movements from waking the other is to sleep in a large enough bed.

We squeezed into a full-sized bed because it looked better to scale in our small bedroom. When we moved into a larger home, a bigger mattress made all the difference to our sleep quality. We could start off snuggled close in the center but then roll apart for deeper sleep. Any mattress movements became small shakes instead of ďearthquakes.Ē

Not to be taken lightly, snoring is a symptom of a medical health problem. It also indicates that there is restricted airflow into the brain. Usually, snoring is accompanied by sleep apnea, the intermittent cessation of breathing, which cuts vital oxygen intake. There are damaging effects from snoring, apnea and oxygen deprivation. Daytime sleepiness and foggy thinking can be dangerous.

Seek medical advice. My brother-in-law now sleeps with an oxygen mask which increased his sleep quality and reduced the snoring and daytime lethargy.

Sleep preference differences
One likes the room warm; the other cool. Firm mattress, soft mattress. I like a dark, quiet room in which to fall asleep while my husband likes the background noise and glow of the TV. Sleep preferences cause the most difficulty in being able to sleep in the same bed. But there are ways to accommodate both spouses.

Some sleep mattresses, like Sleep Number by Select Comfort, have dual controls to adjust mattress firmness on both sides of the bed. Other mattresses, like the Tempurpedic brand, mold to the individual body shapes.

If one spouse likes to be cooler, point a small fan over her side of the bed. A colder spouse can have a thicker blanket on his side only. Use two separate blankets, each folded to single size; then cover the entire bed with a duvet that gets turned down at the foot of the bed at night.

Those who like a darker bedroom can go Hollywood by using eyeshades and earplugs. I say Hollywood because actors and musicians with nocturnal schedules have to sleep in the bright daytime and often use these sleep aids.

Also, learn to adjust. Iíve gotten used to the low murmuring of television voices while my husband is learning to fall asleep to nothing but the sounds of our quiet breathing. We compromise on different nights.

Separate bedrooms as a last resort
Separate beds or bedrooms solve all sleep problems quickly and easily. And, when sex becomes less of a need in your relationship due to age, health or choice, separate rooms provide instant personal comfort. However, the lack of intimacy can become a lasting habit that can affect other areas of your relationship so do attempt to connect in bed at least occasionally. Physical closeness helps emotional intimacy, too. So, if not in bed, be sure to snuggle and cuddle on the sofa while watching movies or sitting in the park.

A good nightís sleep is important for overall health and for your marriage. Sleep-deprived spouses are grouchy spouses. Iím happy to report that with a few adjustments, weíre getting better sleep. And he doesnít have to sleep with an athletic cup.

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