Dear Wayne and Wanda,
My girlfriend and I have been together now for more than a year. I would say it's the best relationship I've had. We don't fight very much, we have a good sex life, we like each other's friends. The problem is, I don't like sleeping with her. I don't mean sex, I mean actually sleeping.
She is a super restless sleeper. She tosses and turns all night and talks in her sleep. She's even hit me and kicked me when she's sleeping. So that's one issue. And then also she hits the snooze button at least four or five times, which I don't get at all. Set the alarm for when you actually want to get up, and get up, right? Anyway, I never get a good sleep when we spend the night together, and I always wake up tired, and then work the next day sucks.
For a while I tried to avoid spending the night together, but a year into this, we spend most evenings together and it feels weird to not stay over. So I tried talking to her about this and she said no other boyfriends complained about her sleeping, and I'm just making excuses and trying to lay the groundwork for not moving in together anytime soon, which isn't the case at all. In fact, I think living together is a great next step. But I just don't see how I can share a bed with her and not be an exhausted zombie the next day. I don't know what to do. Advice?
While sharing a bed is often portrayed as this idyllically intimate and peaceful act, the dream can actually be a nightmare. Maybe someone wants the room cold and someone wants it warm. Or one partner likes white noise and the other needs total silence. Or someone snores, or thrashes, or hogs the blankets.
Sleep in itself is utilitarian. All the stuff that comes before and after -- pillow talk, snuggling, sex -- is the fun stuff. More and more couples are seeing this, and rather than suffer through a bad night's sleep, are choosing to bed down separately. Culturally, many find that strange and unusual, maybe even the death knell of a relationship. But consider the research.
The National Sleep Foundation found that about one-third of respondents said their quality of sleep was negatively impacted by their bedmates. A study by one Canadian university said people who share a bed with a snorer report higher fatigue levels and can even be at risk for hearing loss following long-term exposure to the snoring.
In one 2013 survey, Canada's Ryerson University determined 30 to 40 percent of couples sleep in separate beds; a 2012 study by the Better Sleep Council put that number at a more modest 10 percent. And a study by the National Association of Home Builders predicts that an estimated 60 percent of new homes are being constructed with two master bedroom suites.
Is separate sleeping for everyone? Certainly not. But it could work for you and your lady.
You don't have to be a Canadian or a contractor to know that sleep is the ultimate relationship iceberg. Seriously! Love can convince someone who swore they'd never get married or have kids to walk down the aisle and get knocked up on the honeymoon. Love makes perfectly reasonable people move to the other side of the world with no money, job prospects or understanding of the local language. Love makes us climb big mountains, swim wide rivers and conquer all the other natural wonders that Marvin and Tammi sang about. But not even love can smooth over the constant interruption of a sleepy person's shuteye time.
Science tells us how important sleep is for our health, but in reality sleep holds different levels of importance to each of us. Some of us function like champs on five hours of sleep. Some of us can't function at all if we don't get 10 hours. Some people sleep away the weekends and some people just need a disco nap to bounce back big. No matter how you get your sleep groove on, if it's disturbed, you feel like your whole world is flipped upside-down. That sleep stress can turn us into instant zombies, monsters and maniacs.
That's why if you want to maintain this relationship and your sanity, you need a Plan B(edroom) ASAP. We can't all afford a second bedroom, but we all have backup bedding: a comfy couch; a functional futon; a sleeping bag and pad. Have that ready. That way, the moment you start catching roundhouses to the ribs or hearing jibber-jabber about Taylor Swift and Santa Claus, you can calmly sleepwalk to your alternate air mattress and hopefully fall right back to sleep. Now you both still get your before-sleep kiss and cuddle, and you both still get a good night's sleep. If your GF doesn't buy in on this compromise, she's a crazy person who can't be reasoned with -- run!
Want to respond to a recent column, point out a dating trend, or ask Wanda and Wayne for wisdom regarding your love life? Give them a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org.