Snooze University
Tools

How To Reduce Anxiety Sleeping Next to Someone

by Dale Cudmore | Updated: Mar 06, 2022

Some people sleep better next to someone, while others sleep worse.

Anxiety is the most common reason that sleeping next to someone can be challenging.

We’re going to look at where this anxiety usually comes from, and potential ways to reduce it.

Common Reasons People Feel Anxiety Sleeping Beside Someone

People who get anxiety sleeping next to someone are typically pretty anxious in the first place and often aren’t great sleepers.

But adding in someone beside you can bring on new anxiety from questions like:

  • What if I wake them up when I move or make noise?
  • What if I do something that I feel embarrassed by (i.e. snore, pass gas)?
  • What if I have a nightmare and end up kicking them or something similar?
  • What if I get too hot or feel constrained and can’t sleep?
  • What if we disagree about sleep temperature?

These sources of anxiety are typically heightened even more if there is tension in the relationship.

Since you’re reading this, you probably already know that sleep anxiety has a big impact on sleep quality, and consequently your health and overall life as well.

That means it’s important to try and improve or even eliminate it when possible.

4 Ways to Reduce Anxiety While Sleeping With a Partner

Depending on the cause(s) of your anxiety, there are different potential solutions.

Let’s take a look at different ways you can approach this situation, and you can test out any that seem applicable.

Get Any Sleep Issues Looked At

It’s common to feel like sleep issues aren’t worth going to see a doctor about, but sleep has such a big impact on our health that they are.

If you have any suspicions about snoring or unexpectedly waking up short of breath, go see a doctor. Sleep conditions like sleep apnea may be causing symptoms like snoring or movement that you feel anxious about.

A doctor can run a sleep study if needed to diagnose a variety of sleep issues like sleep apnea.

You can also use our free online sleep apnea screening tool to get a quick sense if this is likely a problem or not.

You Need to Communicate

It’s vital that whoever you’re sleeping next to understands that you have anxiety at night. They can't help improve your sleep trouble if they don't have an accurate picture of it.

Ideally you can talk through potential issues and work at the problem together.

But in order to do this, you must communicate clearly. Simply talking about the issue can help reduce anxiety. At a minimum, try to discuss:

  • The severity of your sleep problems and the effects they have on you
  • Potential things you worry about at night that may be the source of anxiety
  • How you can tackle these issues together

Get a Better or Bigger Mattress

If your anxiety stems from worrying about waking up your partner, upgrading your bed itself could be a fix.

Having more room makes it less likely you’ll accidentally disturb someone with your movement.

In addition, if your mattress is low quality, it may shift a lot when you move. Upgrading to a higher quality mattress can reduce the movement in the mattress when you move in a single spot.

Sleep in Separate Beds or Rooms

This typically isn’t ideal because sleeping next to someone can help maintain a strong bond.

However, sleeping in separate beds, even in the same room (if you have the space) can help reduce anxiety significantly. You can even space the beds out at first and slowly move them closer.

Remember that this doesn’t have to be an all or nothing arrangement. You could plan to sleep in the same bed at a certain frequency (i.e. a certain day of the week where it’s not as bad if you don’t sleep great).

Further Steps if You Still Have Anxiety

The solutions above can go a long way to relieving sleep anxiety, but typically won’t cure it by themselves because your anxiety likely goes beyond sleep.

If at all possible, see a doctor about your anxiety.

From there, they can prescribe anxiety medication for short term relief if necessary, and refer you to a therapist that specializes in improving anxiety with treatments like cognitive behavioral therapy for a long term solution.


Medical Disclaimer: The information on SnoozeUniversity.com is not intended to be a substitute for physician or other qualified care. We simply aim to inform people struggling with sleep issues about the nature of their condition and/or prescribed treatment.


About the authorDale is the founder of Snooze University and a sleep researcher. I overcame my sleep issues and now I'd like to help you do the same by summarizing the latest sleep studies for you.