One of the key qualities of a healthy relationship is learning to live together with your partner. You’re at the point in a relationship where you’ve moved in together or are sharing a living space most of the time, so it’s time to sync up your schedules and make sure you set aside time to continue building your relationship by reinforcing healthy communication habits. It’s easy to become two people who live near each other on their phones if you don’t put in the emotional (and physical) work required for a healthy relationship.
And we get it, this can be tough! At the end of a long day dealing with coworkers, robocalls, politics, bills, the rising cost of living… it can be hard to feel invigorated enough with life to put in emotional work at home, let alone be physically intimate. Heck, it’s hard to even go to bed at the same time when your schedules are all over the place! Many couples don’t sync their sleep schedules but — *hint hint* — you really should.
One of the overlooked signs of an unhealthy relationship is an inability to share a bed together. And we don’t just mean — *hand gestures* — you know. It takes more than that to build and maintain a good relationship. We’re talking about emotional intimacy, the connection you have for one another that got you two here in the first place. Sharing a bed together means developing a report around sleep that works for you both. It takes hundreds of little bricks to build up a healthy house, but you can do it.
If you want to maintain a healthy relationship, start by strengthening the place where you begin and end each day together; your bed.
Set Your Alarm… for Bedtime!
Develop a bedtime routine together. Do you and your partner go to bed at the same time or does one of you stay up late playing video games or watching Netflix documentaries? You won’t always feel tired at the same time, but developing (and maintaining) a consistent sleep schedule can not only help you improve your overall sleep quality, but it can give you and your partner time to slow things down and be intimate. Setting aside time at the end of the day to reflect, develop boundaries, and wind down from the day is crucial.
Bedtime activities are often depicted as “domestic,” treated as a sign that your relationship has become dull and repetitive, when in reality the ritual of changing into pajamas, brushing your teeth, and turning down the covers can be a time to catch up on how you feel, what you did with your day, and what you want out of the next one. When you commit to going to bed at the same time, you’re designing a system that allows for reflection, physical intimacy, and better sleep quality.
You and Your Partner vs. Distraction
Set a time with your partner that works for both of you and for bedtime. Let’s say… 10:30pm. When the time comes, try to put away distractions (you know we’re mostly talking about your phone) and talk to one another while you get ready to sleep. Aside from being an all-around healthy habit, the evening is a time to connect, away from the distractions of the world, the constant flashing stressors of life in the 21st century. Going down a Twitter rabbit hole while you lay awake until 3:00am is not going to help you get a good nights sleep and it’s certainly not a couple’s activity. Using phones and other devices right before bed is disrupting your melatonin production and quality of sleep. Just don’t do it!
If you’re like 1/3rd of all Americans, you don’t get enough sleep. If you find yourself short-tempered or irritable throughout the day, fuzzy and unfocused, inattentive and drinking too much coffee just to skirt by, you need to improve your sleep quality. Fight against insomnia together to strengthen your relationship! It’s important to be clear with your partner about how much sleep you need and how sleeplessness affects your day. If you don’t sleep well because someone is snoring too much or tossing and turning through the night, there are proactive steps you can take to alleviate things. You need to be supportive and understanding when it comes to shared spaces.
So… What Do We Do in Bed Then?
Beds are for sleep and intimacy! You know how to do this and we trust you to be an expert on your own sexuality, but it’s important to remember that intimacy doesn’t just mean sex. Do you sleep better with your partner? Likely, yes! Cuddling one another, kissing, or even simply holding hands can boost oxytocin (the “love” hormone) production in your brain, which helps ease anxiety and regulate your sleep cycle. You don’t have to have a romantic, sexy evening every night, but cuddling helps you sleep better, so pay attention to your sleeping positions. Simply spooning will make your relationship deeper and stronger!
Take A Deep Breath, You're in this Together
The last tip here is to end the day (together) on a positive note. One of the characteristics of a healthy relationship is showing affection. Don’t be bashful about telling your partner what you’re happy about in your relationship. Look ‘em in the eyes and tell ‘em you love ‘em! Don’t just strive to go to bed not frustrated or angry. You should try to end the day feeling good, reflecting on your life together, and thinking positive thoughts about your future. If you have trouble slowing down in the evening, try a guided couples meditation, or even just lay together and take a few deep breaths. There are so many ways to turn the normalcy of sleeping into a relationship-strengthening ritual that leaves both you and your partner feeling good about your relationship and emotionally healthy.
What’s the good news that comes out of all this? You’ll wake up in the morning feeling well-rested and ready to take on the day — and you don’t have to do it alone!