Sleep: Coping With Couples' Different Sleep Needs (cont.)

Fido and Fluffy may have to go. Sure, you love them, but from allergies to noises to their movements, pets on your bed or in the room may disturb your sleep.

Restrict fluids. If you usually wake your partner (or vice versa) as you get out of bed to use the bathroom, try not to drink anything in the few hours before bedtime.

Consider sleep aids. If you or your partner has sleep problems, see a specialist and consider the appropriate use of sleep medications.

Have or don't have sex. Sex generally sedates men while it arouses women. So use this judiciously.

Go to another room. While not recommended as a long-term solution, getting a good night's sleep is vital to functioning properly. So consider sleeping separately during a sleep crisis.

Long-Term Solutions

Make getting a good night's sleep a top priority. There is little likelihood that your sleep will improve without recognizing it as an issue that is vitally important for your health and relationship. The consequences are large indeed. So make it a top priority, just like work, finances, education, health care, etc.

Communicate. As the saying goes, "Men are from Mars and women are from Venus." Discussing sleep issues together can be difficult and emotional. Although it might be easier said than done, it is critical to communicate well and often.

Make a plan. Identify the issues and specific problems that are important to each of you. There may be more than you think. Prioritize them and tackle them one at a time.

Concentrate on teamwork and compromise. You are both in this together. Having the right attitude goes a long way toward solving problems and strengthening the relationship -- and getting better sleep

Don't give up. Changes won't occur overnight. There may be some trial and error to see what works. So stick to it.

Hopefully some of these suggestions are right for you and can help you sleep peacefully, intimately, and lovingly together.

Published Feb. 11, 2004.

SOURCES: The National Sleep Foundation, "2001 Sleep in America Poll." The Better Sleep Council, "Going to the Chapel and They're Gonna Buy a Mattress." Luboshitzky, R., et al., "Decreased Pituitary-Gonadal Secretion in Men with Obstructive Sleep Apnea," The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism," Vol. 87, No. 7, 3394-3398.

Copyright © 2004, SoundSleepsm, LLC.

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