One of the most popular topics discussed at Well+Good HQ is sleep. Sometimes we’re drooling over cozy, fluffy, hygge-heavy bedrooms on Instagram, and other times we’re trying different hacks to get the R&R that we need, but one thing is constant: the pursuit of grade-A is a THING.
And, based on the results of a survey we conducted on the topic, it seems some of us are blaming our partners for our less-than-stellar zzz’s. When asked if it would be an issue if your partner had a different bedtime, 43 percent of respondents said yes (though only 14 percent noted a bedmate as a main cause of sleep disruption).
The discrepancy created a lot of chatter in the office—so we took to Slack to figure it all out. (Slack chats are how we’ve recently delved into such mysteries as the real meaning of fish photos in dating app profiles and why astrology is suddenly everyone’s not-so-secret obsession.) Here, senior lifestyle editor Alexis Berger, Los Angeles editor Erin Magner, audience development manager Celine Cortes, and client services manager Caprice Serafine help me get into the real challenges that come when you share a bed with someone night after night (and not necessarily a set bedtime).
ERIN HANAFY: Hi everybody! So if you had taken the survey, what would your answer be: Would it be an issue if your partner had a different bedtime? And why?
ALEXIS: YES—huge problem. My husband and I are (maybe weirdly?) codependent when it comes to bedtime. We brush our teeth together (way less cute than Bring it On style), then get in bed, watch an episode of something on a laptop then go to sleep. And maybe it’s because we’ve been doing this for years, but, like, whenever he’s come home late from the airport, or being out with friends, or something else, I just can’t get to sleep until he’s home, in bed.
ERIN H.: Omg this so adorable, Alexis.
ERIN MAGNER: Aw, Alexis! Goals…
My answer would be not a problem, because I’ve been in this situation with pretty much every partner I’ve ever had. I’m a lights-out-before-10 kind of girl, but my last partner, for instance, had raging insomnia and rarely went to bed before 3 a.m. I guess we spent less QT together because of that, but I’m also someone who needs a lot of personal space, so I actually really liked having the house to myself for a few hours before he woke up in the a.m. (And although I never asked him, I’m sure he liked not having to share the remote at night!)
ALEXIS: Ah, so Erin. That’s a caveat. Whenever I KNOW my husband isn’t coming home, I love sleeping by myself. I think part of it is that I’m such a light sleeper, I can anticipate him waking me up when I know he’s eventually coming to bed and I’m already there.
CELINE: I get totally get where Alexis is coming from! Most of the time my boyfriend and I’s nighttime routine is pretty similar, however it’s def not really a big issue in my book. Sleep is sleep. If I’m tired after a long day, and Chad’s not looking to head into bed anytime soon, sayonara! I’m also a SUPER heavy sleeper, so him crawling into bed after I’m passed out is no problem.
ERIN H.: Same, Celine! I rely on my heavy-sleeping skills.
ALEXIS: You, too?? Seriously. So jealous.
ERIN M.: That’s the other thing—I don’t sleep well with another person in bed with me (unless I’m REALLY comfortable with them). So completely agree with you there, Alexis.
CELINE: SAME with loving sleeping by myself! Currently my boyfriend is away on business (for the week!) and I’ve been sleeping pretty darn great the past few nights. Love sprawling out and being able to sleep in the middle of the bed.
ERIN H.: STARFISH, Celine. The best.
CELINE: YASS! Plus I’m a blanket hog, so now there’s no one to kick me in the middle of the night saying I’m taking up too much of it. Until Monday, that is….
ERIN H.: Haha genius.
ERIN M.: Now I have a cat who sleeps in bed with me, so I don’t even remember what starfishing or blanket hogging is like. Oh, well. He takes up more space than a human.
CAPRICE: I have the same problem with my pup, Erin hahaha. And my boyfriend and I have completely different sleep schedules, but we actually make it work somehow!
CELINE: Caprice, I’d love to know how! How different are your schedules? Like totally opposite??
CAPRICE: When we started dating, I’d be getting into bed before 10 p.m., and he’d want to watch TV until midnight. Also I love to wake up early and enjoy my mornings, and he would prefer waking up right before he needs to leave for work. We both kind of adapted to each other’s schedules little by little, so instead of having a big morning together I’ll just have my morning and then bring him breakfast in bed (so we can kind of eat breakfast together haha).
ERIN H.: In my last relationship, we often were on totally opposite schedules, with him up to the wee hours, and me working days. When I switched to a late-night schedule for a while, we started going out for midnight dinners and other things that were really special. And I realized what I had been missing. Do you notice that you miss other things than just bedtime—like eating together, watching the same shows, etc.? And can you even have a good sex life with differing schedules??
ERIN M: I never felt like I was missing anything with my ex—we just went on dates / had sex earlier in the night! But our work schedules were the same. Now, I’m dating someone in the restaurant industry who works like 3 p.m. to midnight most nights, and it’s a lot harder to coordinate times to hang out.
ALEXIS: That’s so interesting. Do you think it strengthens the time you do spend together? Because you have to be more mindful about prioritizing it?
CAPRICE: I totally think it strengthens the time you do spend together. Especially when you’re living together.
ERIN M.: Yeah, I think living together makes it easier. In newer relationships, schedule differences makes it hard to build up momentum. Like, you see each other and have a great time, but then an entire week goes by before your schedules align and you can can hang out again.
ERIN H.: So, quick (additional) poll…What’s worse: Someone who snores or someone who wakes you up every time they get in or out of bed while you’re sleeping?
ALEXIS: Snoring, 1 million percent. I’d never get any sleep in the first place. Snoring is a hard and fast deal-breaker.
ERIN M.: SNORING. because it’s constant.
CELINE: SNORING! 100%
CAPRICE: Air purifiers help with the snoring!
ERIN M.: Ooh, Caprice that’s an excellent hack!
CAPRICE: My mom got one for us as soon as we got our apartment haha.
ALEXIS: Okay so maybe if I had an air purifier, then getting out of bed each hour.
ERIN H.: And finally, last question: What’s the best part of snoozing next to someone you love? I have theories about our energetic fields—that spending that much time in each others’ fields makes you more in sync all day long—though there’s not a ton of scientific support for that theory. But what do you think? Do you feel closer when you’re actually sleeping with each other?
ALEXIS: I feel like such a cheeseball, but probably waking up in the same place and starting your day together is the best part. If it’s someone you really love being around (and I’d hope that’s the case), it’s kind of the simplest morning hack for starting the day on a nice note—assuming you don’t go to bed angry, which is basically cohabitation 101.
ERIN H.: Definitely, Alexis! I used to get up early so we could spoon for 15 minutes before I got up for work. Cheeeesy I know, but I loved it.
ALEXIS: Erin, that’s so nice! As far as the energy, I often sleep with a body pillow between us, because he’s a tosser and a turner, and I’m not kidding that I’m the world’s lightest sleeper! I.e., we’re close, but I try to make sure not *too* close.
ERIN H.: PILLOW WALL. Yes, Alexis. Relationship saver.
CAPRICE: I totally agree, Alexis! Also, I definitely have a harder time falling asleep when we aren’t together.
ERIN M.: For me, it’s talking before you fall asleep with no distractions—I feel like that’s when the best conversations happen, right?! Morning hookups are also theeee best.
CELINE: Agreed with the being a cheeseball lol I definitely feel closer and almost safer. We also never go to sleep without saying goodnight, I love you, no matter how zoned out and asleep one of us may be.
ERIN H.: Doesn’t testosterone peak in the morning, Erin? So, YEP.
ERIN M.: Haha my very unscientific analysis says yes.
CELINE: I will also RT Erin’s note on morning hookups…definitely the best, esp on the weekend hah.
ERIN H.: Sleep in, hook up, go to brunch! Perfect.
CELINE: Sounds like my kind of Sunday.
ERIN M.: Perfect little Sunday! You’re not sleepy, have nowhere else to be, have not made a to-do list yet.
ALEXIS: A perfect, happy avocado-toast ending.
ERIN H.: Okay, thanks so much everybody. You are all about the love and the cuddles, and I love you for that. (And I feel so SEEN and understood!! Ha.) Easy like Sunday morning 4eva.
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