Sleeping With An Incompatible Bedmate

Posted on

We all know sleep is important. Most of us also don’t want to spend our lives in abject solitude. But what happens when your desire for companionship is counter to your sleep needs?  

In case you’ve ever thought to yourself “I’m unique,” I’m here to tell you that you are not. All it takes is about 5 minutes of browsing memes to realize that every single thought, feeling or situation you’ve ever had or been in has been shared by countless other people down to the most minute detail. 

I’m aware that there’s nothing new under the sun, so I’m going to assume you suffer from the same issues I do when sharing a bed with another human being you care about – issues over temperature, blanket sharing, snoring, lights, sound, etc. are there solutions to the problems? Let’s find out. 

Setting The Stage

Pairing up with another person is a very strange thing: it’s both the most natural thing imaginable, while simultaneously feeling like an impossibility doomed to failure. Fortunately for me, my wife and I got married young at 23 and 22 years old respectively – we didn’t have much time to get set in our ways between living with our parents and getting married/moving in together. Even still, merging our two individual lives into one felt like a Chinese finger trap – all natural attempts to survive result in further constriction and panic. 

People love to talk about things like money, religion, extended family roles, parenting techniques, etc. when it comes to points of stress on a marriage, but one you don’t tend to hear as much about may actually be the biggest detriment to solving other issues: sleep. 

Imagine trying to solve any hard problem. Now imagine trying to solve it while you’re exhausted and sleep deprived. Everything is worse without sleep. 

Common Problems

Like I mentioned earlier, I know these are problems that don’t just plague me, so for the uninitiated, here are a few common issues to make peace with before taking on a bedmate:

Incompatible Temperatures

The memes would have you believe that one of you is always cold while the other is always warm. This is a lie. The truth is that we all change temperature, and that your bedmate will always be the opposite to whatever you are in the moment. 

You’re cold? They have a hot flash. You’re hot? They’re freezing, in need of a down blanket and a 5 degree increase to the thermostat. 

Unrelenting Consistency

You’re probably a rational person like myself – a “live and let live” type, just looking to avoid rocking the boat. Your bedmate doesn’t see the world this way. 

They don’t care if you’re melting – if they’re cold, they want you under that down blanket with them. If they’re hot, the mere sight of you under a blanket makes their body temperature skyrocket. Your feelings no longer matter, because you’re a team, damn it!

Sound Sensitivity

Do you prefer a quiet room when sleeping? Go to hell – that’s not how they like it. They want the TV on, the closet light on in case they have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, some white, pink, or brown noise, and maybe even a playlist blaring away. It’s like a deadmau5 show in your room every single night. 

But heaven forbid you snore every now and then. Suddenly, your partner can sense the sound before it’s formed and can’t sleep a wink. 

So What’s the Solution?

No one said sleeping with someone else for the rest of your life would be easy. In turn, the solutions take some effort as well. 

The Merciful Martyr

You signed up for this, and now you have to take it on the chin. You forgo your own personal comfort to ensure your bedmate is happy and healthy. Forget about your own sleep, and go through life in a zombie-like fog. Eventually, you’ll be such a shell of a person that your bedmate won’t be able to stand you anymore, freeing you up to sleep when and how you want. 

The Sitcom Solution

Maybe TV shows like Dick Van Dyke, I Love Lucy and Bewitched had it right: crush impending turmoil with separate but equal beds. It doesn’t necessarily solve every problem by itself, but it’s much harder for your bedmate to defend stealing your blanket when they have to cross into sovereign territory to get it. 

You’re still subject to noise and light issues, maybe even temperature problems if you and your cosleeper are incompatible enough. That’s where the doomsday solution comes into play:


Apparently, 1 in 3 Americans are following the “sleep divorce” plan: separate bedrooms for a lifetime of restful togetherness. Let your partner sleep however they please in their room while you do the exact opposite in your own field of dreams. Not only will your sleep improve, you can load the walls with posters from your youth, have somewhere to storm off to when you and your partner have a squabble about which family to spend Thanksgiving with, and a great place to hide presents you bought for yourself when you decided to ignore the budget you both agreed to. 

One word of caution, though: be wary of any sleepovers in your former bedmate’s room that you weren’t invited to.