May I Recommend: Separate Blankets for Couples

When friends lament the difficulty of sharing a bed with a partner every night, I'm quick to ask if they've thought about trying separate blankets.

A graphic illustration of a couple sleeping and cuddling in bed under separate blankets. This is one of our favorite co-sleeping hacks for better sleep.

Perhaps with the exception of the "I'll sleep when I'm dead" set, pretty much everyone agrees that sleep is important. Not only is it a non-negotiable when it comes to our baseline functioning as humans, as we are all learning from our daily SleepScores, the quality of our sleep matters just as much as the quantity.

Since I find myself in the position of giving advice on sleep, I should admit out of the gate that I'm a bad sleeper. I'm just not great at it! And that's terrible for me, because I love sleep. But if there's a sleep issue to be had, I've probably experienced it — chronic nightmares, talking in my sleep, more than one type of insomnia, night sweats… you name it, I've had it. I think the only sleep-related affliction I've avoided thus far is apnea.

The combination of loving sleep and being really, really terrible at it activates my problem-solving center. Over the years, I've researched and tracked and experimented my way to better sleep, and of all the solutions I've found to the many problems one can have related to sleep, the most genius of them all is this: separate blankets.

The idea is simple, and it is neither novel nor unique to me. In fact, I stole it from the Europeans.

There are a number of options for adding a second, separate blanket to your bedspace: You can opt for what's called "Scandinavian Sleeping" in which each partner sleeps under their own twin-sized duvet. If temperature regulation is the goal, you could pair one large bed covering like a comforter with a smaller, lightweight separate blanket for the person who sleeps hotter. When making the bed, the blanket can be folded at the foot of the frame.

But that’s not all. Separate blankets can solve a great many co-sleeping problems. If one partner tends to roll themselves up in the covers like a burrito while they sleep, separate blankets allow coverage for the non-cover-hog in the bed.

If one partner sleeps like a furnace while the other turns into an ice block overnight, separate blankets can enable each person to sleep with the cooling or warming cover they need, , making compromising on temperature regulation a thing of the past.

Separate blankets can also provide a buffer if one partner is , let's say, an active sleeper. Surely you've met an active sleeper! You know the ones: The kickers, the tossers, the turners, the women who sleep with nine pillows and wake up in the morning with those nine pillows arranged around the bed in a neolithic formation she refers to as ”Pillowhenge.” (I would say "Perhaps that is just me!" but I've learned that no one is unique and therefore I'm certain there's at least one other person in the world who has experienced Pillowhenge.)

No matter the reason, it can be tough to sleep alongside someone. When friends lament the difficulty of sharing a bed night in and night out, I'm quick to ask if they've thought about having separate blankets. (It's more polite than asking if they've considered divorce.) Inevitably, the suggestion is met with the type of wide-eyed wonder usually only seen on 5-year-old kids on Christmas morning. "I didn't know that was allowed?" is a typical response.

And I'm excited to tell you what I always tell them: It is allowed and it is amazing.