5 Common Bedtime Battles Couples Have — And How To Solve Them

You're too hot, your partner's too cold. One likes white noise; the other likes pure silence. Here's how to defuse World War Zzzs.

by Adam Bulger
Originally Published: 
man and woman having argument in bed

When you’re young, sleeping in separate bedrooms seems sad. After a couple years of marriage, you start to wonder if maybe it’s a genius move. And you wouldn’t be alone in that conclusion; multiple media outlets are reporting that couples sleeping in separate beds is a hot trend for modern marriage.

Even couples who are otherwise madly in love can become bitter enemies when one partner keeps the other awake. From irksome noises to unwanted electronics, bedroom disagreements test the mettle of even the strongest marriages. We took to social media to see which battles were fought the most — and how real couples solve their issues.

One Likes It Hot

…and the other definitely does not. This leads to constant battles for thermostat supremacy, passive aggressive comments about blood flow, and one person inevitably writhing beneath the covers unable to get comfortable. Part of this comes down to physiology: Differences in metabolic rates make the average man’s body naturally warmer than the average woman’s. This gender heat gap, however, isn’t a hard and fast rule and roles often reverse. What is constant: the frustration.

The Fix: “I just wait for my husband to go to bed and then I turn the A/C down,” said one New Jersey wife who happens to be blessed with a better constitution than most. Another couple told us they take turns: They have a NEST thermostat and schedule it to be warmer one night (for him) and cooler the next (for her). Finally, a husband from Cincinnatti told us he invested in the BedJet, a fan system that conjures up a dual temperature setup in the bed, allowing each partner to curate their own perfect temperature on thier side of the bed. “It saved my marriage,” he said.

Noise Levels

Sound is subjective. One partner might love the gentle hum of a white noise machine filling the bedroome the other can’t sleep without the soothing symphony of sirens and car horns. Or maybe one person likes pure silence while the other enjoys drifting off to the sweet sounds of “This American Life” because Ira Glass’s voice is basically Excedrin PM.

The Fix: This one ain’t easy. All the couples we polled scratched their heads except for one mom from Portland, OR. swore by SleepPhones. Basically a giant wired headband with built-in drivers, it lets one person listen to their preferred soundtrack, be it white noise or whispering radio hosts, without disturbing the other. “And since it’s a headband, I don’t need to worry about an ear bud falling out at night or rupturing my ear drum if I roll over,” she said. “It also works well when my husband snores.”

Sheet/Blanket Allotments

In marriage, sheets and blankets are as hotly contested as the land separating opposing forces in World War One trench warfare. And while couples will tug bedding back and forth all night, it’s never easy to place blame. Everyone is culpable in sleep.

The Fix: If sharing a single set of sheets and blankets isn’t working, double it up. South Carolina mom of three Sara said she and her husband solved the sheet hogging problem through separation. “I like to cocoon up in my blanket,” she said. Then, there’s always the binder clips on the bed trick, which fastens the sheets and blanket to the sides.

Pets in the bed

“My husband has this crazy idea that pets should sleep in their own beds,” Linda, a New Jersey mother of two said, explaining one side of a common disagreement over sleeping arrangements. Opening up the bed to non humans or non adults is a gamble, as some people don’t want to be roused by animals in the middle of the night — or enjoy the pitter patter of pet feet on their junk.

The Fix: Vermont mom Dawn said that the one-two bedroom punch of kid and pooch have made non-waking life a struggle for her husband. “With the 10 year old still climbing into bed sometimes, and the 80 pound dog always there… Josh actually gets kicked to the guest room a lot,” she says. That’s one way to go about it. James, a father of two in Los Angeles, says he started running with his dog later at night, just before bedtime. “This seems to tire him out enough that he’s more likely to sleep on his dog bed.”

Going to Bed When Drunk

Drunkenly tumbling into bed is a great way to end the night. But on nights when one member of a couple goes out drinking alone, the less drunk one loses. While they’re trying to sleep their virtuous, sober rest, there’s a loud, clumsy beast stinking of booze who feels entitled to get into bed with them. Unfortunately, drinking together isn’t a realistic solution—one of you needs to be not hungover the next morning to watch the kids.

The Fix: All couple’s we spoke to agree: on the nights that you’re three sheets to the wind, just drag a couple sheets over the couch.

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