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Are you sleep-compatible? – In Good Health – Mohawk Valley's Healthcare Newspaper

Are you sleep-compatible?

How to get a good night’s sleep while sharing a bed

By Barbara Pierce

seniors SNORINGAre you and your partner compatible in bed?

When it comes to sleeping, we mean.

Maybe you like the windows open; he complains it’s too cold. Or maybe it’s impossible to sleep through his loud snoring so that you have to give him foods to stop snoring. Or one of you tosses and turns.

We all know that sleep deprivation is bad for us, but it may also be bad for our relationship. If you can’t sleep well because of your partner, the solution isn’t as simple as just sleeping apart. According to experts, not sharing a bed can be just as damaging as not getting a night of restful sleep.

Sleeping in separate beds is not a good thing for your relationship.

Just as sleep renews and repairs your body, a close peaceful sleep with your partner can repair and renew your relationship. “You don’t have to stay snug in each other’s arms all night long,” said psychotherapist Barton Goldsmith online. “Most people cannot sleep that way. By sharing a bed and being able to reach over and touch the one you love, you will feel better about your life.”

“Sleeping together creates serotonin, which keeps you happier,” says Goldsmith. When he talks to widows and widowers, they don’t talk about missing the sex they had with their partner; they talk about missing lying next to them in bed.

On the flip side, sharing a bed with someone who keeps you awake all night creates its own set of problems.

So if interrupted sleep makes you feel less loving toward your partner, but sleeping apart can damage your closeness, what’s the answer?

Here are some solutions for sleep incompatibilities:

— Tossing and turning all night. The good news is: there is a mattress solution for almost every problem.

“An individually pocketed coiled mattress is important for someone who doesn’t want to feel the motion of the other person moving,” advises Randy Kopytowsk, owner of Carolina Bedding of the Mohawk Valley in Rome. “The coils are wrapped inside their own individual pockets. When one person rolls over, the other isn’t affected; it only affects the person who is moving. A memory foam mattress also takes care of this.”

“Or get twin extra-long mattresses,” he suggests. “You get the same effect as having a king-size mattress, but each person is on his own mattress.”

Maybe all you need is a larger mattress. But, if a new mattress isn’t in your budget, just having separate blankets and sheets can minimize the sensations of movement.

Tip of iceberg

Snoring — Sleep experts agree that snoring presents the biggest conflict for couples. “Snoring is a symptom of a serious problem,” said Charles Burns, Utica-area dentist and sleep apnea specialist. “Anyone who snores should get checked out for sleep apnea.”

Many cannot tolerate a continuous positive airway pressure therapy device, which is used to treat sleep apnea, said Burns. For those people, he utilizes a custom dental appliance.

Unlike the CPAP, dental appliances are small, do not involve hoses or masks, do not rely on electricity, and make no noise. “They’re much more reasonable to use, and the cost is far more reasonable,” said Burns.

Burns offers a free consultation to help you stop snoring, and breathe, sleep, feel, and function better. For more information, he can be reached at 315-724-5141 or see his website www.sleepandquiet.com.

As a temporary measure, earplugs and sound machines help mask the snoring.

Some like it hot — The optimum temperature for sleep ranges from 68 to 72 degrees. But if that’s not acceptable to one, then compromise with a temperature between your two preferences. The person who wants it warmer can bundle up, while the person who wants it chilled can sleep on top of the sheets. Also consider a larger bed, where body heat is less likely to bother the one who wants it cooler. During the winter, use an electric blanket with dual controls.

Some mattresses trap body heat. To counteract that, use sheets that are 100 percent cotton.

Sleeping with a non-sleeper — Stress and anxiety can contribute to restlessness and insomnia, so avoid emotionally charged conversations before bed. Avoid soda and any kind of caffeine at least four hours before bed.

You’re a night owl; she’s an early bird — Some couples will lie down together when the early bird goes to bed but then the night owl will leave once their mate has fallen asleep.

— Let there be light. Some people have to sleep with a light on. A compromise can be reached with a small nightlight on that person’s side. Or, use a sleep mask or a special bulb that cuts down on blue light, the kind that makes it harder to fall asleep.