Saturday, September 30, 2006

The bed as a battleground

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After months of sleeping restlessly and waking up stiff every morning, I recently bought a new bed. This time I decided to supersize and upgraded to a king. For me, lots of space is essential.

My husband and I are poles apart when it comes to sleeping habits. Ever see the Seinfeld episode 'The Tuck'?

George: Could you do me a favor? Could you not tuck the blankets in? 'Cause I can't sleep all tucked in. Yes, I like to just be able to take the blankets and swish them and swirl them, you know what I mean? You know, I don't like being all tucked in. I like to have a lot of room, you know I like to have my toes pointed up in the air. Just like to scrunch up the blankets. Uh, Jerry, you want your blankets tucked in?

Jerry: Tuck in, tuck in.

George: Jerry, I really think it'd be easier if you didn't tuck.

Jerry: Excuse me, fine, you don't want me to tuck, put me down for a no-tuck. Uh, hang on a second, You know what? Changed my mind, make it a tuck.

George: You just said you weren't tucking.

Jerry: I'm tucking!

George: You shouldn't have tucked.

Jerry: I like it tucked.

George: Nobody tucks anymore.

I tuck, he doesn't. I pull the covers up, he throws them off. He snores, I don't (denial is a beautiful thing).

Despite the new bed, sleep issues remain. He recently moved out to another room while my daughter moved in because she was sick. The anticipated peaceful night became part of the dream I might have had if I hadn't spent the entire night removing arms from out of my face and feet from the small of my back.

It doesn't surprise me therefore that someone finally stepped up and wrote a book about the psychology of sharing a bed. Two in a Bed: The Social System of Couple Bed-sharing by Dr. Paul Rosenblatt looks at some of the common and often humorous issues couples face when sharing a bed, including spooning, sheet-stealing and, yes, snoring.

Couples interviewed in the book decribed adjustments they had to make in order to sleep with their bed partner. These included conflicts over bedroom temperature, the famous "Tuck", what was acceptable behaviour in bed among other things.

“Each couple had to do a lot of problem solving to work out their systems for sleeping together. How they arrived at these systems could be said to mirror their relationships. The most successful systems were those formed out of compromise and sensitivity to the other’s needs." Dr. Rosenblatt.

The book is applauded by Dr. Neil B. Kavey, a psychiatrist and director of the Sleep Disorders Center at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center.

“These are all things that no one teaches you how to cope with. There’s no counseling in this regard, but there should be.”

We settled the eating in bed dilemma (he did it, I hated it) early on after an unfortunate and messy accident with a sneaky late night bowl of pasta. We continue to struggle with other issues.

There's plenty of tips for good sleep hygiene . They are helpful if we're talking about one person with sleep difficulties. The shared bed is an entirely different matter.

Any horror stories or successful sharing strategies?


People who share a bed and the things they say about it


Sarebear said...

When we got married, on the first night we were like, who sleeps where, so we just kinda climbed in on the side we were closest to when the question came up.

About a week later (after not much sleep the first three nights due to (not what you are thinking, tho that too lol!) adjusting to someone else BREATHING (loudly, it sounded to me) next to you, and that the blankets didn't curve down nicely behind my back to snuggle me, instead they were bridged up in the air stretched, not taut, but too "tense" for my taste . . . I didn't even KNOW I had a "taste" in these matters until things cropped up! (No, not those things!).

Then there's the bodily emissions, and trying to stifle giggles. After a few nights, of course, the novelty and silliness of THAT wore off; nothing delightful, there. Ewww.

Anyway, as to the snoring thing, I started right off with a kick, and, "Roll over, hubby". Which worked pretty good.

Just these last few nights, though, I've tried KISSING him, on the arm or whatever's closest (lol), and so far that's stopped his snoring. Tried it twice so far, I thought I'd try a kinder approach, and besides, kissing's fun, even if he's asleep and it's all over. (woops, blush!)

Anyway, I guess we'll see how this kissing the snores away thing goes. Silly, huh? Lol . . .

Oh, and our bed is WAY too small, and I'm kinda large, and I've kept my body pillow in bed since I first bought it when I was pregnant 8 years ago. When I tried to kick the body pillow habit four years ago, the horrid back spasms that I had in the year post-partum came back that night w/a vengeance.

Me thinks there's a psychological thingie goin on, there, lol. But, tiny tho the bed is, it's large me, large hubby, and large long body pillow, crammed into a full (double) size bed.

Oh, and I MUST have a holey blanket on me. Holey as in it's a particular kind of thermal blanket; when layered w/others, the tiny holes trap air and keep you warm. In the summer, with no sheet and just the blanket, cools thru the holes, and yet has enough weight/drape to it to hug me like I like.

Ok, TMI, huh? lol. I guess since I'm up at 2 am in the middle of my night and your day prolly, I'd better go kick, I mean kiss, him, and gotosleep.

Sarebear said...

Woops, I forgot the part about a week after getting married, that sentence went somewhere different - a week after getting married, I was like, let's try the other sides of the bed out, just to see. So we did, and an hour later, we switched back, cause we couldn't sleep. Just one week had conditioned us already.

The Little Student... said...

This one really resonates with me! I'll keep the description brief by letting everyone know that I am usually the one with the least amount of everything (e.g., covers, bed space, pillows, etc.) by nights end.

HP said...

Hey Sarebear,
I think you've got EVERYTHING covered there! :)

Hey Little Student,
I feel an overwhelming sense of empathy from my husband!

PS There is a link to a sample chapter from the book available from the NYT link at the bottom of the post for those interested.

Fat Doctor said...

Husband and I did battle for about a week when we were first married. I like to tuck and use sheets. He likes to take off the top sheet and wrap a comforter around himself like a mummy. Very, very romantic, as you can imagine. I argued that it was "gross and dirty," but finally I just gave in and started mummying myself on my own side of the bed. Some battles aren't worth waging. This bed thing, and occasional issues with grammar, are really his only faults. But when the cleaning lady comes, I strip the bed ALWAYS so she thinks we use sheets. After all, it is gross to not use a top sheet, and I don't want her to know how gross we really are.

mckay said...

i remember the days of being married and doing the bed share tango: sheet up, sheet down, sheet off, sheet on, roll over, spoon. sheet down, late night WHOA!, snore, sheet up, shake the sheet to avoid asphyxiation. sheeeeet.

now that i'm divorced with preschooler and large dog, it's much the same, just without the spooning and late night WHOA!


HP said...

Hello FD!
If those are the only faults your husband can boast, sounds like you got a good deal! I'm with you on the top sheet...although I'm not a comforter is the same thing as a doona/duvet??

Hey McKay,
So true, swap one bed partner out, in comes another ie. children, various animals :)

jumpinginpuddles said...

beds for crashing in no children allowed and partenr only if hes very very very nice LOL and we are still married ;)

PG said...

I guess I've been relatively lucky in this department. Both of us are sedentary sleepers (not sure if that's the best adjective to use). I do miss laying diagonally though.

tiptoe said...

Excellent topic! LMAO!

The only answer is to have separate suites or wings of the house.


tkj said...

Casually push your partner off the bed when they're sleeping and claimed they must have done it themselves in their sleep...not conducive to a healthy relationship, but oh so funny

HP said...

Hey TT,
That's an expensive solution!

Hey TKJ,
What can I say? I'm shocked! *but laughing at the same time :) )

el.cameleon said...

what can I say....where do I begin
he wants air con I dont ok windows wide open, he want no covers I do, brought a wider bed,i use the covers he doesnt, I wanted latex matress he preferred springs, really did my hip prothesis no good, we have latex.
he wanted a blanket me a duvet...yes he i get to sleep on the sofa, isnt that love?

Anonymous said...

The New York Times just ran an interesting article about how builders are now creating custom double-master bedroom suites to accommodate the differences in sleep preferences. Separate bedrooms may be losing its stigma. Sleep is so important to quality of life that I think this will become a more acceptable alternative in the future.

Anonymous said...

P.S. I'm going to link to you in a post that I'm putting up tomorrow morning about this very subject (including the NY Times article, if you're interested in getting the link and reading it)

Thanks for the inspiration!

Dr. Mike

Lisa Ray Turner said...

Fantastic posts. My husband and I are writing a book on this topic and it's great to read about your experiences. We're currently interviewing folks for the book and we'd love to talk to you.