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It’s All in a Good Night’s Sleep {part 4}

By Dr. Kate Flynn on Feb 21, 2016

It’s All in a Good Night’s Sleep {part 4}

Sleeping Better with the One You Love

Now that you’ve implemented an intervention or two to quiet the monkey mind and reduce the impact of worry on your sleep, let’s talk about the effects of partner sleeping on sleep quality.

If you typically sleep alone, feel free to skip this part and check back in next time as we wrap up this five-part sequence with herbs, essences, and oils. If you sleep with a partner, your kids, or your pets, this one is for you. Let’s begin with sleeping with a partner. Men and women typically have different environmental preferences. Hopefully, you’ve already made some mutually beneficial compromises when creating your sleeping oasis. As your environment has been optimized, let’s take a look at how you sleep together beginning with proximity.

If you love to sleep cuddled up and it results in a deeply restorative slumber, for both of you, then snuggle to your heart’s content. If you don’t, it’s time to come clean and admit it! I love to spoon with my husband, but I tend to need some personal space to drift into dreamland. So, we’ll enjoy this intimacy for a few moments before my husband starts to snore and I gently encourage him to roll over onto his opposite side. There, he can continue softly snoring and I can be lulled into sleep by the white noise of our sound machine.

Talk about this with your partner and willingly listen to what the other has to say without judgment or the need to take things personally. Your personal space may be limited by the size of your bed. If it’s too small, you could be forced into a snuggle regardless of your preferences. This is something to consider before investing in your next mattress.

Don’t stay in a queen size bed to avoid buying new bedroom furniture at the expense of your sleep. My husband and I have a king size bed and sleep together very well. When we travel and have to sleep in a smaller bed, I have more difficulty getting to sleep. I’ve always been a bit claustrophobic, so I’m sure that has something to do with it. Whatever the cause of my need for a wide open space to sleep, I intend to honor it. After curing a 30-year bout of insomnia, I’ll do whatever it takes to preserve the ease with which I now fall asleep. Even if it would mean buying bigger furniture.

That being said, this discussion extends beyond the size of your bed. It wasn’t so long ago that it was the cultural norm for husband and wife to sleep in separate beds, or even in separate bedrooms. In fact, 30-40% of couples still do. I remember thinking it odd as a child when walking into my grandparents bedroom and seeing two twin beds. Intimacy must not have been an issue, as they managed to have eight children. While my instinct is to share a bed with my husband, I can see the benefits of sleeping separately. The biggest thing to consider in making such a decision is the motivation behind it. If you are on different sleep schedules, simply prefer your solitude, or one of you snores a little too loudly, this could be a wonderful solution to meet your needs for sleep. If you feel the need to distance yourselves for any other reason, there are deeper emotional conflicts in place that need to be addressed.

With rates of sleep apnea on the rise, I imagine that difficulty sleeping due to partner snoring is one of the top reasons couples choose to sleep separately. Sleep apnea leads to reduced oxygenation of the blood and can have serious implications on long-term health as it may lead to high blood pressure, chronic heart failure, atrial fibrillation, stroke, and other cardiovascular problems. This is not something to be taken lightly. If your partner snores loudly and you notice that they stop breathing for periods of time, encourage them to talk to their doctor and participate in a sleep study for proper diagnosis.

If no association with apnea is found, there are several things you can try to decrease snoring. Before coming up with an action plan, make sure to communicate your needs with your partner in a loving way. For instance, an example of what not to say would be: “Your snoring is driving me crazy! I can’t get any sleep and you really need to do something about it.” That probably wouldn’t be received very well by your partner, and it would likely increase their resistance to doing anything about it.

Remember, they are not intentionally snoring just to keep you awake. A better approach would be: “I’m having a really hard time during the day because I’m not getting much sleep at night. I’ve tried several things to help me sleep better, but they don’t seem to be working. Could we explore some options to alleviate snoring?” This person loves you and, so long as they do not feel as though they’re being personally attacked, will want to explore these options with you.

So, what are the options? Simple home remedies include keeping the bedroom air moist with a humidifier, side sleeping, and avoiding heavy meals and caffeine for two hours before bed (which is good advice for everyone). Limiting alcohol consumption will also help. Drink plenty of water instead to stay hydrated. If your partner tends to carry extra abdominal weight, make some conscious choices to be more physically active and eat a healthier diet together. Remember to keep your bedroom clean, change your sheets often, and get new pillows every six months to limit allergen exposure.

While implementing some of these basic changes, there are some more direct practices you can implement. Have your partner rinse their nasal passages through the use of a neti pot. Consider using a nasal adhesive strip to further open the airways. Mouth guards for proper oral alignment are also available

 Lastly, let’s talk about co-sleeping with kids and or pets. Disclaimer: I have never birthed a child, therefore, I understand the limitations of my perspective. I did make a futile attempt to sleep with my little dog when I first got her. It didn’t go well. She sleeps much better in her crate and so do I. This being said, I’m going to keep my comments in this area brief. So long as you sleep deeply and peacefully, there is no right or wrong way to sleep with your children or your pets - from a sleeping for your health perspective. If your sleep, or theirs, is adversely affected, it’s probably time to make alternative arrangements.

Stay-tuned for the wrap-up of this five-part series on a good night’s sleep with an overview of supplements, teas, essential oils, and flower essences.

 

Dr. Kate FlynnDr. Kate is an intuitive and creative visionary with the ability to break patterns of dis-ease down into their component parts so that the flow of health may be restored. She fills in the gaps that other techniques and approaches have missed and discerns the best course of action.

Dr. Kate is a chiropractor, intuitive healer, and teacher. She is the creator of Activating Ascension, a platform for living, healing, and creating from the heart and founder of the Alternative Pain Clinic where she works with her patients to resolve the emotional components of their physical and emotional pain, complicated grief, and patterns of addiction.

Dr. Kate believes in the responsibility of empowering those seeking care so that they may ultimately see that true healing comes from within. She is happily married and helping to raise three wonderful children. Dr. Kate resides in Knoxville, Tennessee with her husband and their dog, Phoebe.

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