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Why Bedtime Should be Spouse Time

Why Bedtime Should be Spouse Time

PC: Club 31 Women

How many of us obsess over the amount and quality of our child’s sleep, yet scrape the nooks and crannies of our busy lives for the lowest-quality snooze possible? From the night I brought my son home and stayed awake for what felt like 72 hours straight, I was more concerned about why he wasn’t sleeping than how my husband and I were even functioning in our current state. Since then, I’ve stayed up well past my bedtime night after night cleaning pump-parts and packing lunches for the next day, studying for exams, folding laundry while I Netflix binge, mindlessly scrolling through social media, and doing extensive “research” (Google and WebMD count, right?) on the latest reason I am led to believe why my child isn’t sleeping. While I sport dark circles beneath my eyes all day long and lay in bed begging for 5 more minutes every time that 6:00am alarm goes off, I never think to value the quality and amount of my sleep anywhere near that of my child’s. I am realistic to admit that I won’t likely alter the length of my nighttime sleep due to years of bad, distractible, over-achieving habits, but there is ONE trick I can implement TONIGHT that will immensely improve not only the quality of my sleep, but the quality of my marriage. You listening?

Going to bed at the same time as your spouse has immense power to transform your sleep habits as well as your relationship with your spouse.

On some counts it seems almost too easy, but on second thought, you’re probably reeling through the hundreds of reasons you and your spouse aren’t currently going to bed at the same time. For my husband and I, our excuses include graveyard shifts, late nights studying, periods of high stress, different work schedules requiring one of us to be up earlier (thus, going to bed earlier) than the other, traveling, social events, and staying awake to watch “one more episode” or the rest of the game that only has “5 minutes” left. These are all valid reasons and I yell “Amen!” to anyone who has been there. But let me tell you 5 reasons to go to bed at the same time as your spouse and then I’ll let you pick the lesser of two evils.

It allows for uninterrupted conversation and pillow talk.

Doris Day isn't the only woman who knows the importance of a little pillow talk. I won’t overgeneralize and speak for all relationships, but I will yell emphatically for my own when I say that I could always use a little more of this. Our days are hectic and so are yours; I don’t know you, but I do know that about you. We all have responsibilities in and out of the home, intersecting schedules, and an overpowering bad habit of always talking about the kids. I cherish the moments I am able to lay in bed with my husband, disconnected from technology and the rest of the world, and talk. (Even if it is about the kids)! If uninterrupted conversation is all I were to get out of this new habit, I would still do it 10 times over. …But there are still 4 more reasons!

It promotes better sleep. Seriously!

Laying in bed and falling asleep next to your spouse provides consistency, comfort, and safety. Just like we allow our babies to have binkies, muslin blankets, or stuffed animals to soothe and settle themselves we have access to a soothie with a similar effect. A warm body, particularly one we’re fond of (say, even married), has an incredible way of minimizing cortisone, slowing racing heart-rates, and promoting healthy breathing - all of which are necessary for a good night’s sleep. Not to mention, the partner that is later to bed doesn’t run the risk of disturbing the partner who is already asleep when he or she finally comes crawling in!

It creates a stable routine and promotes family synchrony.

We’ve all read the books, blogs, and research articles on the importance of routines and consistency for our little ones; but, have we ever researched at what age we grow out of that innate desire? No. We haven’t. Because we don’t. As we get older, it becomes harder to adhere to such monotony and easier to talk ourselves out of doing the same ole’ thing day after day. If we knew what was good for us, though, we’d find a happy medium. Setting a “bedtime” for ourselves and committing to help one another stick to it promotes a healthy dose of accountability, predictability, and synchrony in our home and for our bodies.

It relieves stress.

Falling asleep with your spouse has the power to relieve stress physiologically as well as emotionally. Not only does it promote the replacement of stress-reactive hormones, like cortisol, with the release of oxytocin, correlated with love, happiness, and the feeling of calm, but it also provides valuable time for reconnecting with your spouse and talking through problems, which is an emotional route to relieving stress. 

It improves intimacy and relationships.

Going to bed at separate times isn’t necessarily the cause of disagreements and other marital woes, but the act of going to bed together provides a wonderful opportunity to reconnect and repair those issues. It doesn’t take much for an out-of-sync nightly routine to cause your relationship to feel out-of-sync, too. The four aforementioned reasons –uninterrupted communication, a good night's sleep, a sense of predictability, and lower stress levels– are all working together for the best interest of your relationship.   If falling asleep at the same time isn’t realistic, set aside 45 minutes to get ready for bed together and lay in bed spending quiet, uninterrupted, one-on-one time reconnecting. Then, if needed, tasks can be returned to and finished later. We religiously implement nightly regimens for our little ones and insist on consistency to promote their healthy sleep, but bedtime routines are not just important for our children. Going to bed at the same time as your spouse is a small habit that can have surprising benefits reaching multiple aspects of your life. I dare you to try it. Written by Witney Loftin
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