Saturday, February 14, 2009

Sleep & Relationships: Are You a Sleep Stealer in Bed?

For all of the procrastinating men out there, here’s a quick Valentine’s Day checklist. (You did know that today is Valentine’s Day, right?)

Chocolate. Flowers. More chocolate. Overly sentimental greeting card that somehow expresses “just how you feel.” Sleep.

Sleep? Sure – a good night’s sleep may be exactly what your valentine needs – especially if you’re a sleep stealer.

A sleep stealer? That’s right. Your
sleep habits or behaviors may cause your loved one to lose sleep at night. You may even cause her to have environmental sleep disorder.

2004 study in the journal Sleep examined how sleep affects a marriage. It found that an individual’s sleep problems can have a negative impact on his or her spouse’s health and well-being.

A sociologist has even described the “
Social Etiquette of Sleep.” He suggests that you can be an “inconsiderate or selfish” sleeper.

How do you know if you’re a sleep stealer? Here are seven signs. See if they describe you – or your bed partner. After all, both
men and women can be a sleep thief.

Signs that you may be a sleep stealer include:

  1. Snoring: You remain oblivious to the noise you’re making while you sleep. Your bed partner, on the other hand, is frustrated, annoyed and wide awake.
  2. Sleep talking: Your conversations, laughter and other noises may amuse your bed partner at first. But eventually he or she may start wishing you would just be quiet.
  3. Taking the covers: While you’re snug and cozy, your bed partner is left out in the cold.
  4. Using bedtime for relationship building: At the moment when your bed partner is about to fall asleep, you say, “Can we talk?”
  5. Being a night owl: While your bed partner is trying to fall sleep, you’re in bed watching TV, talking on the phone, doing paperwork or reading.
  6. Preferring to be warm: Even though a cool room promotes good sleep, you insist on keeping the thermostat turned up all night.
  7. Refusing to go to bed alone: When your bed partner tries to call it a night, you make him or her wait until you’re ready to go to bed.

So are you guilty of sleep stealing? Or are you in bed with a sleep thief? What other types of behavior do you think should qualify as sleep stealing?

Tomorrow we’ll look at some things you can do to help put an end to sleep stealing.

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