How Does the Scandinavian Sleep Method Work?

Why two blankets may be better than one

Couple sleeping in Bed together

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The Scandinavian sleep method, also referred to as a 2-duvet system, is the term for sleeping in the same bed as your partner but each having your own blanket, quilt, or duvet. While this seems like it would be complicated in regards to a top sheet, that problem is mitigated by not using one.

Studies have shown that sleeping in the same bed—and with the same blanket—as another person can reduce your sleep quality by 30%.

If you live with your partner, it's presumed that you share a bed together. But that doesn't mean sleeping with another person is ideal for you. From insomnia, to blanket tug of war, to waking up chilled because your s.o. has stolen the covers again, some people just don't thrive in a bed with another person.

The Scandinavian sleep method, or use or two separate blankets, aims to make couples have a happier and easier time sleeping in a bed together by taking away the problems that sharing a blanket can lead to.

Ahead, you'll learn about how the Scandinavian sleep method came about, the potential benefits and pitfalls of it, and how you can switch to this method of co-sleeping if you'd like to.

The History of the Scandinavian Sleep Method

No one person invented this different way of sleeping. It's popular in the Scandinavian countries of Sweden, Denmark, and Norway, and is also practiced in other areas of Europe, such as Iceland and Germany. These countries rank as some of the highest in the world in terms of sleep quality, while the United States is low on the list at 87th best.

The Daily Scandinavian wrote about the sleeping method in 2019 after the above study was released that detailed how well people slept in Scandinavia versus the U.S. and other countries, in which they noted that sleeping with two blankets had been coined "the Scandinavian sleep method." Since then, the concept has become more popular.

That's because it's customary to want to follow the habits of people who are yielding good results with their habits, as Scandinavians are with sleep.

Impact and Benefits of the Scandinavian Sleep Method

The goal of the Scandinavian sleep method is for you and your partner to have a better night's sleep. Sleep quality is vital to a happy life, and the more you wake up in the middle of the night, the less rested you're likely to feel in the morning.

And even if you're having challenges currently sleeping with your partner, it doesn't mean that you'd be better off sleeping alone: Studies have shown that bed sharing leads to improved and more stable REM sleep.

The biggest benefit of the Scandinavian sleep method is that it can improve your quality of sleep without requiring a "sleep divorce" from your partner.

By employing this method, you'll be less inclined to be woken up by the movement of another person in your bed. In turn, you can sleep uninterrupted for longer periods of time, getting the deeper states of sleep needed to function at your best.

Additionally, not everyone has the same temperature when they sleep. By using two different blankets, those who get colder can opt for heavier blankets than those who are warmer and want a lighter one.

How to Implement It

Getting started with the Scandinavian sleep method requires only the purchase of an additional top quilt, blanket, or duvet. It may seem a little tricky to fit two blankets on one bed; you'll want to have two single sized blankets, not two king or queen ones, in order to not get lost in a sea of blankets.

Once you have your blankets, you can either place them next to each other on the bed side by side, with one blanket on the side each of you sleep on, or you can overlap them slightly. To overlap them, you'd put one down, then put the other on the side and on top of it so that there is an area in the center where the two blankets overlap.

Twin size blankets are the most common ones to use, but if you have a king size bed you may be able to fit two full sized ones on there. If you want a significant amount of overlap in the center, two full sized blankets on a queen or king will provide that.

Now that your blankets are on your respective sides, you're ready for bed! The placement of blankets and removal of a top sheet are all that is needed to get started with the Scandinavian sleep method.

Tips for the Scandinavian Sleep Method

Looking to get started with this different way of sleeping, but need a little more help? Here are some tips.

  • Choose blankets that work for your temperature during sleep. If you know you get hot at night, a lighter blanket is a better choice than a heavy one.
  • If you're worried about your bed looking discordant, choose blankets that look similar to one another, and place them neatly next to each other so that it's less obvious they are two and not one.

Potential Pitfalls

The main downside to this way of sleeping is that it doesn't work well for cuddling. If you and your partner like to sleep close to one another, the Scandinavian sleep method might create challenges in that happening easily.

There is also an innate lack of skin to skin contact with the sleep method. Skin to skin contact for sleep has been studied predominantly in relation to parents and children, rather than people in relationships, but science has proven that sleeping in the nude can lead to better quality sleep for anyone.

It's also accepted that skin to skin contact creates oxytocin for everyone, not just parents and babies.

It's normal for couples to have challenges in their relationship, including with sleeping. If you've been moving through a difficult period in your relationship, couples counseling might be a wise choice for you.

If you're suffering from insomnia, there are numerous things you can try to get a better night's sleep.

6 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.
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By Ariane Resnick, CNC
Ariane Resnick, CNC is a mental health writer, certified nutritionist, and wellness author who advocates for accessibility and inclusivity.