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In the quest for good sleep, there are many obstacles that you can face. For instance, you may have the wrong mattress, or find that your room is right above a noisy road. Or, you may have to share a room – or even a bed with someone else, which can affect how comfortable you are and, in turn, the quality of your sleep.
Struggling to sleep well when someone else is in the room is entirely natural. Research has found that when people are sharing a bed with a new partner or have someone new in their room, their cortisol (which is a stress hormone) levels increase. The brain sees stress as a threat and will become extra alert. The stress or anxiety may impact your ability to go to sleep.
Even if you do fall asleep, your brain will be alert, ready to spring into action in case of danger. So, you won’t be able to enjoy a night of deep sleep, and you’ll wake up in the morning still feeling tired and drained.
However, just because you’re going to be sharing a room with someone doesn’t mean that you need to sacrifice a good night’s sleep. There are several strategies that will help you sleep better when there are others in your room.
How to Fall Asleep With Someone Else in the Room
There are a variety of situations where you may find yourself sleeping in the same room as someone else – perhaps you’re in a hostel or dormitory with a roommate. Or, maybe you’re on a family vacation and are bunking together to bond or cut costs. Whatever the situation, there are several things that you can do to make sure you’re getting higher quality sleep.
Stock up on earplugs and sleep masks
High-quality earplugs will help you block out the sounds of others moving around in your room; reusable earplugs are typically better and will adapt their shape to fit your ears. Meanwhile, a sleep mask will block out any light. A memory foam sleep mask will fit your face best and sits lightly on your eyes.
By blocking out environmental distractions, like your roommate switching on the light to visit the washroom, you’ll keep your body and brain in ‘sleep mode.’
Surround yourself with calming scents
Calming scents can go a long way in helping to soothe an anxious brain. There are a variety of ways you can surround yourself with scents before you sleep. For instance, spray a lavender or geranium pillow mist onto your pillow a few minutes before you go to bed. Or, use roll-on chamomile, rose or sandalwood aromatherapy oils on your wrists and breathe in their scent.
You can also use scented candles or a room diffuser 10-20 minutes before you go to bed.
Eat the right foods for dinner
Melatonin is a hormone that can help induce sleepiness and relaxation. Eating melatonin rich foods may help get your body ready for sleep. Melatonin rich foods include grains like rice, fruits, and vegetables like cherries and bananas as well as nuts and seeds.
Have some tea
You know that you have to cut out the caffeine hours before you want to sleep, but did you know that there are some teas that you can have just before bed to soothe anxiety? Sip on lavender tea, chamomile tea, or peppermint tea, and you’ll feel calmer, which will help you drift off.
Listen to soothing music
Another way to soothe your senses is to play some soothing tunes. Play them on a speaker if your roommate is comfortable with it, or invest in some comfortable earphones. Listening to instrumental, classical music is best; music with lyrics may make your mind even more active!
Make friends with your roommate
If you’re feeling anxious about sleeping in the same room as someone else, they’re likely having similar anxieties. Talk to your roommate about ways to make the environment more comfortable for you both. This could include:
- Setting lights off timings: If you and your roommate(s) work around each others’ schedules, you can ensure that lights are out at a set time every night. This will be helpful for both or all of you as both the brain and the body do well with regular sleep timings.
- Maintain the room temperature: Some people sleep hot and some sleep cold. Talk to your roommate about what kinds of temperatures they feel most comfortable in and try to work out a compromise. Experts recommend that your room temperature be between 60-67F to get optimal sleep. If your roommate does like the room to be colder or warmer, look for solutions – like a hot water bottle to warm up your bed or mattresses, which allow you to sleep cool.
As you and your roommate talk about your room setup, you’ll likely begin to feel more comfortable with each other. Establishing a good relationship with them is essential; as you do, you’ll start to feel less anxious about sleeping in the same room as them, leading to better quality sleep!
How to Sleep in the Same Bed as Someone Else
Sleeping in the same room as someone else is one thing, but what about when you get a new bedmate? Depending on how well you know the person, you may feel less anxious, but the weight and movement of someone else in your bed may impact your sleep quality. Here are some ways you can improve your quality of sleep when someone else is sharing your bed.
Reduce motion transfer
When someone is sleeping on the same mattress as you, even the subtlest movement can affect your side of the bed, which can be disturbing, especially if you’re a light sleeper. Getting the right mattress can go a long way in minimizing motion transfer. Memory foam mattresses or innerspring pocket coil mattresses are best as they absorb movement more easily.
Futons and innerspring mattresses with box springs cause the most motion transfer, so if you are welcoming in a bedmate, you may want to look at a mattress change.
Of course, getting a new mattress may not be the most practical option. Instead, you can get a good mattress topper, which covers the whole mattress. Latex and memory foam toppers will be the best for absorbing movement.
A snoring bed partner can wreak havoc on your sleep patterns and peace of mind. Invest in some heavy-duty earplugs, but also look at getting an anti-snoring device, which will help reduce your partner’s tendency to snore.
It’s also helpful to avoid alcohol before bed and to address any nasal congestion through steam inhalation.
Get the right sheets
Everyone’s body temperature is different, and you may find that sleeping with a partner can become too hot or stifling. One way to combat this is by using the right sheets. Linen and cotton sheets work best as they soak up sweat and allow heat to escape.
If, on the other hand, you’re both cool sleepers and find yourself battling over the duvet, it may be worthwhile to get two separate duvets or blankets.
Upgrade your bed
When you’re sharing a bed with someone else, consider upgrading to a queen or king-sized bed; they will allow you each space to move without disturbing your partner.
Use lots of pillows
As well as having pillows for your heads, experiment with a variety of soft and hard pillows strategically around the bed. Pillows can be the best way to create a ‘boundary’ of sorts, giving you and your partner both enough space.
Switch off the tech in bed
The light from a phone can be twice as disturbing when it’s right next to you, even if you’re wearing a sleep mask. Implement a no-tech rule in bed, and it can help improve both you and your partner’s sleep quality.
So, there are various ways you can make sure you’re getting high-quality sleep, even if there’s someone else in the room or your bed. With a little planning from you and adjustment from both you and the others, you can sleep easier and deeper.