Solutions for Married Couple Sleep Problems

Couple sleeping in bed, embracing

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Many marriage experts believe that peaceful sleeping together can keep a marriage healthy.

Why do people share a bed with a spouse if they would sleep better if they didn't? Usually, the answer is because even if you don't get the best night's sleep, you find comfort and emotional intimacy in sleeping together.

What If You and Your Spouse Don't Sleep Well Together?

What if you can't sleep well with your spouse? You are not alone.

Many married couples have problems sleeping together. If you are having difficulty getting a good night's sleep because of your spouse's sleeping habits, consider getting twin beds or, in the case of snoring, sleeping in separate bedrooms may be the best solution.

Sleeping Together Statistics

According to a 2001 survey by the National Sleep Foundation, more than one in ten (12%) married Americans sleep alone. Additionally, "Lower marital satisfaction impacts sleep habits according to the poll.

Almost one-half of those with less marital satisfaction (47%) say they are sleeping less today than five years ago and more than three-quarters are more likely to experience a sleep problem than their more happily married counterparts (77% vs. 69%)."

To no one's surprise, the poll also showed that there were more sleep problems in households with children. "Married people with children average less sleep during the week than those without children (6.7 vs. 7.2 hours/night), and single people without children (7.1 hours).

More than one in ten married adults (12%) with children reports typically sleeping with a child; a vast majority of these adults (81%) reports a sleep problem."

Common Reasons for Sleep Problems

Here are situations that can create sleep problems for couples.

  • Disagreement about who gets which side of the bed
  • Differing sleep positions
  • The temperature of the room
  • To cuddle or not to cuddle
  • Sheet textures
  • Alarms
  • Tossing and turning
  • Teeth grinding
  • Degree of quietness
  • Getting up in the middle of the night
  • The size of the bed
  • The firmness of the bed
  • Snoring
  • Having a window open
  • Sleeping with children or pets
  • Nightmares
  • Going to bed angry
  • Sleepwalking
  • Amount of pillows
  • Number of blankets
  • Spousal arousal syndrome
  • Time to go to bed
  • When to get up in the morning
  • Insomnia

Sleep Positions

When you can sleep together, many sleep experts recommend "spooning." This is the sleeping position where people sleep nestled together like spoons. This sleeping position is believed to increase intimacy and lower stress.

Sometimes people worry because their spouse is sleeping with their back to them or seems to be far away in the bed. Don't jump to conclusions.

Although sleep positions can be a red flag in a marriage, experts say there are no "good" or "bad" sleep positions in a marriage.​

The Best Solution Is Compromise

So, what do you do if you have different sleep preferences? Find ways to compromise. If that doesn't work, be realistic and consider separate bedrooms or twin beds.

Separate bedrooms or twin beds can save your marriage. When couples first start sleeping together, they are willing to sacrifice comfort to be close to their partner. After about five years or so, many people just want to have a good night's sleep again.

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Article Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Troxel WM, Braithwaite SR, Sandberg JG, Holt-Lunstad J. Does Improving Marital Quality Improve Sleep? Results From a Marital Therapy Trial. Behav Sleep Med. 2017;15(4):330-343. doi:10.1080/15402002.2015.1133420

  2. National Sleep Foundation. 2001 “Sleep in America” Poll. 2001.

  3. Valtonen A, Närvänen E. The everyday intimacy of sleeping: an embodied analysis of intimate practicesConsumption Markets & Culture. 2015;19(4):370-386. doi:10.1080/10253866.2015.1088839

Additional Reading
  • Pikul, Corrie. What the Sleep Experts Do to Get a Good Night's Rest.