How to Keep Sleep from Ruining Your Relationship
You aren't imagining things: Men have a higher core body temperature, which is due in part to their thyroid function and testosterone levels, says Dittami. As your own body temperature falls just before bedtime, you might enjoy cozying up next to a warm partner. But this can get uncomfortable later in the night, especially if he starts sweating. He may feel damp, and he'll be more likely to emit pheromones that can keep you up (this is not to say he stinks; we're just sensitive to certain odors when we sleep). Dittami says he's heard of female patients starting off in warm pajamas and then shedding layers as the night continues and their temperature changes. Another idea is to put a cool pillow barrier between the two of you to block some of his body heat.
"Him: one thin cotton sheet. Me: a multilayered down cocoon."
"Using one blanket for two people just isn't conductive to sleep," Dittami says. Not only will it make you hyperaware of your partner's tugs and kicks, but it will amplify the heat. Dittami says that in Europe it's common for couples to use separate covers in bed. In fact, this is what he's found to work for him and his wife. Each has their own layered tiramisu of blankets. "It works like a peace treaty," he says.
"His tossing and turning feels like a mini-earthquake."
Men and women move about the same amount in bed, but women are more sensitive to their partner's movements. Even if he doesn't flop into bed "like a sumo wrestler" (as one woman described her husband's nightly ritual), his sudden movements may wake you. "Sleep gates," as researchers call them, tend to come up every 90 minutes or so, and that's when we're more susceptible to being yanked awake. If your partner happens to do something noisy, startling or disruptive during this time, and especially if it lasts longer than a minute or two, you may find yourself staring at the ceiling (or at him) in frustration. As mentioned, separate blankets can help, but if his jostling is a big problem, you may want to consider a new mattress—or two of them. Sleep researchers suggest that couples invest in approximately 71 inches of mattress (which allows sleepers to stay about an arm's length away from each other, says Dittami); American king sizes are 76 inches. Memory-foam mattresses are best for minimizing bounce, according to Sleeping Better Together, and a split-king mattress (two long twin mattresses set side by side in the same foundation) will mean you'll barely notice each other—but can also make it challenging when you want to get close.
Next: When his habit of gnashing his teeth is causing you to pull our your hair