My girlfriend and I have been together almost three years and we've always had trouble sleeping together. Not intercourse, but restful sleep. We share a queen size bed on nights we spend together and neither one of us is blameless. We're both sleep talkers. She has occasional night terrors. Despite sleeping naked with only one blanket, I wake up drenched in my own sweat 50% of the time when I'm alone and 99% of the time we sleep together. We don't live together now but we're at the point in our relationship and our lives that we're ready to move in together.
We openly acknowledge this challenge and we've discussed our future cohabitation and sleeping arrangements. We both like the benefits of separate beds (more restful, uninterrupted sleep) but we both enjoy the intimacy of sleeping together. Our sex life is great and sex before and/or after sleep is something that is important to both of us.
Is there any way we can train our bodies to be happy sharing a bed or should we get used to spending our nights like a couple in a 1950's sitcom?
Sleep Loss Enough2 End Partners Enjoying Rest
You’re not alone, SLEEPER.
Plenty of us, whether we’re partnered in couples, throuples, quads, or quints—or we're proudly part of a loose amalgamation of ambigusweeties —have trouble falling asleep next to another person’s sweaty, warm, farting body.
Almost 1 in 4 couples sleep in separate bedrooms or beds, according to a 2015 survey by the National Sleep Foundation. Another study out of Toronto’s Ryerson University estimated nearly 40 percent of couples sleep in separate beds. A significant portion of couples who sleep away (from each other) may be in strictly (and lovingly) companionate relationships, others may be in dysfunctional or high-conflict relationships, but there are countless loving & still fucking couples among their numbers. Because someone's perfectly-lovely-by-day husband/wife/BF/GF/NBF/Dom/sub/Handler/pup/whatever can turn into a snoring, punching, night-terrorizing zombie when night falls, which is why so many people opt for alternative separate beds/bedrooms/dungeons/dogbeds/whatever.
There’s no shame in it, SLEEPER. Having separate beds doesn’t mean you don’t care for each other. It means you value being alert and functional during the day—when you're spending quality/fully conscious time with your partner (and coworkers, kids, constituents, fellow members of your Indivisible group, etc.—instead of a grumpy shit who can barely function after listening to your girlfriend's freaky night terrors and/or engaging recaps of The Bachelor all night.
If you and the GF decide to plunge into cohabitation, think about getting a place that has two bedrooms (if you can afford it). You don’t have to sleep separately every night. The point is that you both have the option to retreat on nights when she's freaking you out or you're sweating her out. And if you try sleeping apart and hate it, you’ll have a guest bedroom for friends and family who come into town—or, hey, you make some extra money (and help with the rent) by listing your extra room on AirBnB. (Be sure to put some earplugs on the nightstand there for your paying guests.)
But, if the two of you want (or have) to commit to one bed, get the largest bed you can possibly afford and sleep under separate comforters like the Germans do. More space means you can flail and kick your sweaty legs without drenching your girlfriend; separate comforters mean you won't pull the blankets off her when you flail and she won't pull them off you when she freaks. Also, SLEEPER, beds are more than mattresses: make sure you have the most stable bed frame you can find. (An active sex life can knock a few screws loose, making every movement sound like you’re on a creaky carnival ride.) Also try fans, sleep machines, and testing out one of the zillions of mattress options currently available. But again, SLEEPER, separate beds is the easiest fix for a sweaty, sleepless problem—and hey, it worked for the Petries.