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Pressed: How to Share A Bed (and Sleep)

9 Dec

How can people sleep together without killing each other?

Source: How to Share A Bed (and Sleep)

 

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The Perfect Sleep:  Sleeping is one of those things that couples rarely talk about.  To admit that you are not sleeping well together is not a conversation starter that couples generally have when getting together with others.  “God, I had the worst sleep.  I almost smothered him.  How about you?”  It is just not a topic that I have heard broached often, especially by the inner sanctum of the “married world”.  When I refer to the “married world”, I mean the secret society that makes a silent creed when they become married not to reveal anything about their relationships.  You know the people.  They smile effortlessly, look well-rested, and you wonder what the heck is happening in their happy worlds that you know nothing about.   I have chosen to ignore the marriage code, and break the silence.

I always thought that being in a new relationship would equal love which would, in turn, equal sleeping in blissful harmony.  At 50 years of age, coming into a new relationship (having secured the magnificent space of a full queen-sized bed for most of my unmarried life), I am uncovering some of the un-romance of sleeping together in a queen-sized bed (Yes, I know, first-world problems).  At 50, getting a full night’s sleep can be a real luxury even when we are by ourselves, let alone with anyone else competing for the same purpose.  Negotiating a good night’s sleep takes strategy.

The Bed Itself:  I know that my parents and my grandparents, and likely all of my unfortunate ancestors before that, shared smaller bed coil spring mattresses (or worse) on creaky bed frames that announced to everyone their every move.   In other countries, I have learned to sleep on the floor, on mats, straw mattresses, and other.  All of these have felt a bit precarious because I had mice scuttling around me, or mosquitos fighting through the unfortunate holes of mosquito netting.  However, recently, my nights sharing a queen sized bed with  my sweety have felt just as perilous.

The bed can be the key factor.  Had I known earlier, I would have invested all of my savings in a king-sized bed.  Yes.  I think that in this case, size, unfortunately matters.  As well, all of the rave reviews about memory foam, are illegitimate.  My wonderful partner praised the merits of his new bed that he recently brought to our relationship.  It was supposed to be like riding on a (as he would describe) “a white fluffy cloud of joy”, or a “chariot to heaven”.  This, however, has not been my experience.

You can go online and search the topics “couples sleep advice” and some pretty provocative sex sites come up.  Bed reviews also make the hit, and I have become educated that millions of people spend time and energy buying new beds with all sorts of promises of perfect sleeps.  Many of the same people (mostly women), write reviews about these beds (warmth, height, firmness, and other).  Men don’t seem to bother posting their bed findings.  Either they are sleeping blissfully on their new mattresses, having too much sex to bother, or they are too tired to write, but the male voice on sleepless nights is not appearing as much online.

However, many of the reviews by women confirm my findings.  Expensive foam mattresses equals heat (Yes, I know there are some bed companies that claim that they have ways to manage the heat).  However, in my case, if you are a hot person, it keeps you in the throes of what feels like a very high fever for most of the night.  When this same bed is shared with another person creating additional body heat, it can bring about a full-blown heat wave.

When you first see our bed, it appears to be this tranquil oasis of restfulness.  However, what lies beneath the pretty duvet and mattress cover is a placid pool of molten lava. We have put on several layers of flannel fitted sheets, and duvet comforters to insulate the matter, but the heat generated from my body on this bed, gets trapped into the bed, never to leave until I leave the bed in a sleepless raging nervous break-down in the morning.   No amount of opening windows, doors, and experimenting with different blankets has helped.  The terrible reality is that the bed will have to go at some point when we can afford it.  In the meantime, we have to create some bed ground rules.

Bed Ground Rules:  It is obvious that my new partner has slept blissfully on a king-sized mattress in his previous marriage because he gets nervous when he has a foot to spare from his shoulder to the edge of the bed.  When I asked him politely if buying a king-sized bed might be a good idea for us as well, he assured me that a king sized bed also holds the danger of too much space, and I heeded this as a reminder that he likes to cuddle.  I call this worry of too little space, the “edge of the bed syndrome”.  Any reminders that he might be a bed hog are not appreciated in the wee hours of the morning.  The game of who has the least space is likely to occur, and this is best avoided with a clear benchmark on the head board.

Blankets are also a tricky venture.  When one rolls over, the other is reminded of the tossing and turning that the other makes, often leaving either one of us exposed and cold.  I thought that I had this solved by bringing two nice light blankets into the bed that we could graciously separate for each of us when the time to sleep became obvious.  This idea was not entertained easily as the blankets often build up between us, creating a huge mountain that can become difficult to manage and traverse in the middle of the night.  Sharing blankets means too much heat.  Separating blankets can mean awkward space sharing.  The challenges of finding the right pillow and blanket amounts and types, continues.  It is an endless saga of trial and error, and we are always certain that at some point, the perfect fix will eventually emerge.

Sweet Dreams:  Therefore, we are learning that until we become rich and famous, we will have to figure out how to share this bed.  We have found doing some stretching (amoung other things), can reduce some tension before we embark on the tumultuous journey of sleep.  Sleep aids and other may be an option, but I like to think that we can overcome these difficulties without pharmaceuticals.  Many millions of others sleep on worse beds and in worse conditions, and so we will persevere.  Soon, we will be that well-rested couple that smiles effortlessly, and feels no need to discuss the horrors of the sleepless night.  In the meantime, should neither one of us appear for work, or just simply go missing, this might be my last plea for help.  Wish me luck.