There are little subtitles associated with our bodily recovery. For those of us lucky enough to have a partner to crawl under the sheets with sleeping together is a bit more complex than just picking a side and drifting away. When I’m sleeping with someone I love, I like to share nightly rituals with them before we finally close our eyes and enter our deep slumber.
Throughout my dating history, I’ve encountered different types of women who prefer to perform their own sleeping habits when I am in bed with them. One in particular really stood out to me and helped me develop my preference when it comes to actually sleeping next to my partner.
Laying next to our partner affords us many opportunities to refresh our mind, bodies and souls together as we practice this nightly ritual. It can be good for our body and mental health to do many subtle things while sleeping.
Sleeping together in the same bed is a special experience that I believe most people take for granted.
I had a partner once and we made sleeping together a bonding experience. Intimacy was separate. We would both wash up, brush our teeth and lay down next to each other. Of course we had preferred sides of the bed. On each of our sides we had a night stand to put various things that might need throughout the night like a glass of water, alarm clocks, reading material or anything we might need for when we first wake up.
It is important that each of us independently prepare for our slumber while staying mindful that we will be sharing the bed and the experience with our partner. We both have needs and it is imperative that we attempt to meet each other’s needs in a peaceful and relaxed environment.
When my partner and I both laid in bed and the lights would go out, she liked to put her head on my chest as I slowly and softly ran my fingers through her hair. She would gently message and run her hands over various parts of my body. For her, touching my body was soothing and helped her feel more secure and fall asleep quicker. I would always wait for her to fall asleep first before falling asleep myself because it made me feel fulfilled to have her needs met before mine. Arguably a bit selfish on my behalf but it’s what made me feel good.
This same partner also said she liked the feeling of having me in her bed because she felt protected. We also both recognized and appreciated skin on skin contact, our legs intertwined while she rest her head on my chest still doing all the above mentioned. Skin on skin contact has also been proven to lower stress, lower anxiety and our bodies release oxytocin – which is sometimes referred to as our “happy chemicals” that can boost our immune system and make us feel more vigorous in the morning as it pertains to skin on skin contact while sleeping.
Skin and skin contact has so many mental and health benefits and is probably the most subtle aspect of sleep that we overlook and fail to practice.
We would even discuss in great length our preferred nightly rituals and creat our own unique commonalities from our preferences to increase the bonding experience we got from sleeping with each other.
Eventually we both would fall asleep. Throughout the night we might toss and turn, but we might occasionally break out of our REM sleep and re-connect our bodies with each other. This could be something as simple as placing my hand on top of her hand, or she might cuddle up and kiss me on my back while we sleep. I always noticed, half awake, but I always felt her presence and her bodily shifts when we slept together in then same bed. Even something as natural as hearing the rhythm of her breathing when we slept was soothing to me.
Sometimes we would both wake up in the middle of the night, not fully awake or aware, and make a natural full body connection, just to feel our skin touching each other, and then eventually drift away together again.
Sleeping has always been a sacred ritual with me. Whenever I am with a partner in the same bed I like it to be more than bodies turned away from each other and sleeping on our own. Sleeping can be its own form of deep intimate connecting without the actual practice of physical intimacy. Sleeping next to our partner and tending to each other’s needs before, during and after they sleep is one of the ultimate signs of affection.
Finally when we awoke, I would look her in the eye and say, “hey you,” then a simple kiss on the forehead. I then felt refreshed, re-energized and ready to take on the world that day.
Sleeping can and should be a shared experience between partners that bring us closer together. We can always make time for physical intimacy but sleeping together in the same bed affords us opportunities to connect and bond deeper and be more passionate about our partner. The actions and rituals we perform in bed together before we both fade away can turn in to the ultimate form of affection and bring our bodies, minds, spirits and souls a joined in a shared and private atmosphere.
The mental and physical health benefits alone warrant serious consideration and re-examination for all of us to reconsider how we sleep next to our partner. Sleeping together should revitalize us, not drain us of our energy by fighting for space and blankets or pillows. When we communicate with our partners and establish nightly sleeping rituals, we essentially put to use time where we are shutting down and shutting off for the day. It keeps us plugged in together as we turn off our bodies for the night.
Author: Adam Wilkinson