A good night's sleep is critical to any relationship. Whether it's night sweats, anxiety, or insomnia that's keeping you up, if you’re not well-rested, you’re probably going to be irritable.
The New York Times recently covered this important relationship topic in its Wirecutter advice column after a reader asked this: “My partner sleeps hot (never even uses a blanket!) and I sleep cold (blankets forever). We seem to be at an impasse.”
They suggested two easy tips, when sharing the bed, including having “the hot tamale” sleep on the side of the bed nearest the open window or air conditioner or adding a fan for just the right amount of cooling breeze.
But their choice for the ultimate hack for couples who argue over bed temperature? You guessed it -- they suggest investing in a ChiliSleep cooling bed system.
How to Sleep Next to a Hot Sleeper
Here’s how the newspaper described our revolutionary bed tech products in its latest Wirecutter column:
If you're really desperate, the pricey ChiliSleep cooling bed products might be worth it for you. The ChiliPad is a hydro-powered mattress pad—water is circulated through silicone tubing to regulate its temperature.
Hot sleepers can lower the water temperature to cool their side of the bed. “This machine changed everything for me and my spouse, literally overnight. We’ve been using it for months now, and his night sweats have completely vanished.”
As described above, our “We” products are made-for-two, temperature-regulated mattress pads that go on top of your mattress. This means that you and your partner can set TWO different temperatures for sleeping.
Our hydro-powered sleep systems operate between 55°F-115°F. So if your partner likes it as warm as a sauna but you prefer the feel of a chilled ice-box, there’s a personalized temperature solution for each of you.
This all leads me to my next important topic and that’s about life’s golden rule: “happy spouse, happy house.”
Read on to learn why your sleep quality is SO important to your relationship health.
Sharing the Covers: Great Sleep Is the New Great Sex
If you and your partner sleep in different beds, toss and turn, battle insomnia, or argue over the thermostat as described in the New York Times article above, trust me, you’re not alone. I frequently hear from couples who want advice about their inability to sleep in the same bed.
One emerging area of sleep research is that in order to optimize “relationship health,” couples need to first examine their “sleep health.”
Because this is such an important topic to me, I was thrilled to sit down with acclaimed sleep expert Wendy Troxel and author of the new book Sharing the Covers: Every Couple's Guide to Better Sleep.
Dr. Wendy Troxel is a clinical psychologist and behavioral sleep specialist whose work is frequently cited in major media outlets as well as in recent bestselling books like Arianna Huffington's The Sleep Revolution and Dr. Matthew Walker's Why We Sleep.
Dr. Troxel's mission is teaching couples to prioritize sleep and helping them find solutions to maximize the sleep quality for both partners, whether sleeping together or apart.
In her new book, Dr. Troxel says "Great sleep is the new great sex" and tells couples how vital it is to "sleep like your relationship depends on it"—because in many cases, it does.
Question and Answers With Dr. Troxel
'Lack of Sleep Can Hurt Our Relationship Health'
Here are some highlights from our recent conversation with Dr. Troxel:
I watched your Ted Talk on this topic and also found a study from, I think, back in 2007 from Sleep Med Review on marital quality and the marital bed. So you’ve been an expert on this for a very long time! What led you to finally writing this book?
It’s a perennially hot topic. From the beginning of my career, until now, over 15 years, the topic still comes up in a variety of ways. Often the question is, “Is it bad that my partner and I sleep apart?” There’s shame around the topic, and it was time to bring the research to the public.
Sex, cuddling, pillow talk, and bonding are the positive things. But if we’re going to help people improve their sleep, we need to treat it in the real-world context in which it happens or doesn’t happen.
So many couples want solutions to optimize their relationship health. What role does sleep have on a couple’s relationship?
In traditional marital vows, we speak the words “for richer and poorer, sickness and health.” But what about "day and night" -- the 24-hour cycle that our days run on? We are missing the most immediate dichotomy which is the difference between day and night. You can go to a bookstore and there will be shelves lined with how to improve your relationship but we also share one-third of our lives asleep with our partners.
Up until now, there hasn’t been much discussion about that time with our partner. We know that lack of sleep can hurt our relationship health. For many couples, prioritizing their sleep and understanding their partners’ emotions is an opportunity for intervention. Sleeping well can help you be a better partner.
That’s a great point, and we do live in a culture that undermines the importance of sleep. Can you speak to the impact it plays on the people around us?
Sure, and the fact is, the person who is going to bear the consequences of your bad mood is your partner! So when we think about strategies to improve relationship health, there’s just this big opportunity to either be your best self or your irritable self. And what helps is knowing that actually, it’s not necessarily your fault. When you’re sleep-deprived, you simply can’t be the partner you want to be.
What about looking at the role of sleep hygiene and sleep habits? In your book, you mention that just because you marry someone, it doesn't mean your sleep values align.
Right, and regarding your bedding products that make partners sleep more comfortably, there are definitely practical strategies to enhance relationship health. In the pre-marital world leading up to marriage, couples don’t talk about sleep compatibility or preferences -- whether they’re a night owl or a morning person -- there’s this neglect of this very critical one-third of our lives.
In your book, you cited a study that says ⅓ of adults say their intimate relationship has suffered because of their partner’s or their own sleep habits.
Yes, and this is an important conversation to have before marriage. My book is meant to help couples become more compatible and move beyond the assumption that just because you fell in love, well, it’s possible that you’re not 100% in sync about sleep.
Plus, our temperature choices will change as we age -- that’s a known biological feature that will especially impact how a woman and a man sleep together.
Sleep Tips to Improve Your Sex Life
As Dr. Troxel has noted, sleeping well can help you be a better partner -- and science backs this up!
Sleep deprivation is one of the biggest reasons why people don’t have sex on a regular basis, according to a few different sleep studies:
- In a study published online in Menopause: The Journal of The North American Menopause Society, women who did not routinely get restful slumber were nearly twice as likely to report sexual problems, such as lack of desire or arousal, researchers found.
- In another large study of women between 50 and 79, it found that shorter sleep duration translated to lower sexual satisfaction.
- However, the sleep-sex link can be found in younger women, too. Another study of college-age women found that women who slept longer at night were more likely to have sex the next day. Women who regularly got more sleep also reported greater sexual desire and better arousal during sex.
Hot sleeper Solutions
Beyond creating healthy sleep habits, creating a bedroom conducive to cooler sleep and sex—that’s really what it’s for, right?—is also very important to your relationship health. Keep your sleep environment as dark as possible, and limit electronics in the evening.
Creating and sticking to better sleep habits is an investment you make every night for the health and well-being of your relationship.
Looking for ways to sleep more comfortably with your partner? All ChiliSleep products (that act as a cooling mattress pad) come with free U.S. shipping and a 30-night trial. Whether you try out the original Cube, the app-controlled OOLER sleep system, or the cooling weighted chiliBLANKET, there's an option for you and your partner.
Kalmbach, D.A., Arnedt, J.T., Pillai, V. and Ciesla, J.A. (2015), Sex and Sleep. J Sex Med, 12: 1221-1232. https://doi.org/10.1111/jsm.12858