I want to go over a few more frequently asked questions that I often run into. We reviewed a few FAQs about a month ago, which included a couple tips on how to get to sleep faster. (You can read the full post here if you missed it.) I received some great feedback afterwards, so I felt compelled to review a few more questions — questions you may have even emailed to me in the past. So without further ado, let’s get to it:
Can Sleeping in Separate Beds Ruin My Sex Life?
I get this question all the time.Everyone is relieved when I tell them no, sleeping in separate beds is not a romantic death sentence. It might even offer a much-needed boost to your relationship.
Okay, I know that might sound a little crazy. But getting a “sleep divorce,” as it’s called, offers a great opportunity to reset your sex life.
It’s also much more common than you might expect. Roughly 25% of American couples sleep in separate beds.
When one partner moves to another room, nine times out of 10 it’s because the other person is snoring. Other times it has to do with one partner having a different work schedule, or one person liking to watch TV before falling asleep.
If you opt to sleep in separate beds, that’s fine. The key factor, though, is putting in the effort to maintain that same level of intimacy you had while sharing a bed. But that’s easier to accomplish than couples expect. In many cases, sleeping in separate beds turns out to enhances their sex lives, not decrease it.
That’s because the times they’re intimate while sharing a bed tend to happen out of convenience. It’s the kind of thing where you go “hey, it’s late, and I’m here, you’re here, so why not?” What ends up happening, though, is there isn’t much regularity to it. The sexual dynamic between the partners essentially depends on who has the bigger sexual appetite and initiates sex.
On the other hand, when you have a sleep divorce, it presents a real opportunity to make sex a priority once again. You can set aside certain days for making love: every Thursday at noon, meet me in the guest room.
Partners end up looking forward to it, there’s less pressure on the partner who may not have as much of a sexual appetite, and from what I’ve seen, it tends to reignite sex lives that were borderline dormant.
Getting better sleep in a separate bed can also help improve your overall relationship; researchers from Penn State University a few years ago found that if even one partner is sleep deprived, it will lead to more negative emotions and less success at conflict resolution. Simply being on better terms with your partner helps create a healthy foundation for your sex lives to build from.
If you’d like to find out more about when to be intimate, I have an entire chapter on the subject in my book, The Power of When. If you’re sleeping in separate rooms, I mention that the best time for sex is often in the morning — right when one partner walks into the other room. Both partners are usually fresh, relaxed, and rejuvenated from a good night of sleep.
How Important Is My Pillow When It Comes to Sleep?
When it comes to the bedroom, people are confused by mattresses and pillows. Your pillow is essential when it comes to getting quality sleep. I would argue pillows are even more important than mattresses.
Here’s why: first, from an economic standpoint, you can change your pillow fairly easily. It’s anywhere from $40 to $100 — that’s a quick and simple replacement that won’t break the bank like a $1,500-$5000.00 mattress.
How To Know If You Need A New Pillow
The telltale sign you need a new pillow is when you’re noticing upper neck or back pain — if you’re experiencing either of those, you need to change your pillow ASAP.
Secondly, I recommend everyone change their pillow every 18-24 months. That’s especially true if you have a natural fill pillow made from cotton, silk, wool or down feathers. The structural integrity of your pillow, which needs to keep your head and neck aligned, starts to give out over time.
This is normal. Every head weighs about 8-9 pounds, and if you were to sit a bowling ball on a pile of feathers for 6-8 hours each night, you’d expect it to wear down.
In short: there’s a greater likelihood your pillow is ruining your sleep than your mattress. If you’re not sleeping well, it’s time to look at a new pillow. My pillow of choice, by the way, is the Everpillow. Not only is it comfortable, but the fill is customizable, making it a great pick whether you sleep on your stomach, back, or side.
Choose the curve if you sleep on your side or standard if you sleep on your back. Once you choose your fill and receive the pillow, simply unzip it and remove or add fill until you are comfortable.
My Dreams During the Coronavirus Pandemic Have Been Bizarre; Is This Normal?
If you’ve been experiencing more obscure, crazy dreams of late, don’t be alarmed. This is something millions of others are dealing with right now, due to the stress tied to the coronavirus outbreak.
These “quarandreams,” as they’ve been dubbed, are a byproduct of the anxiety stemming from so many recent changes: the widespread stay-at-home orders, travel plans that are now ruined, a surge in unemployment, and obviously the health concerns related to the coronavirus.
Again, if you’ve been dealing with vivid dreams and nightmares lately, that’s completely normal. But to try and curb these bad dreams, consider these two simple steps:
Media diet: Don’t overload on coronavirus news, especially before sleep. Take a media diet about 90 minutes before bed, where you avoid all TV news and social media posts related to the pandemic. (You might have seen me mention this on “Live With Kelly and Ryan” earlier this week.) Instead, use that time to calmly prepare yourself for sleep. Reading a book is a classic option, of course, or you can set aside 10-15 minutes for meditation.
Exercise: Many people are overwhelmed right now simply because they’re cooped up inside all day. That lack of activity impacts their sleep at night, because they’re not doing enough during the day to alleviate their stress. I know this is tricky right now, with most gyms closed. But just getting your body moving around outside, while soaking up Vitamin D, for a half hour each day will burn off some of the baggage you’re taking to bed.
Start with those two tweaks, and you’ll give yourself a great jumping off point for getting good sleep. Thanks as always for reading and we’ll touch base again next week!