When it comes to your health, there are few things that will make you feel better than a great night’s sleep. From your energy and concentration levels to your food choices, emotional well-being and lots more besides, it can set the tone for the day and leave you with a spring in your step or a distinct dip in your mood.

But what happens when how your sleep isn’t necessarily down to your habits or night-time routine? What if, despite doing everything “right”, you still end up sleeping poorly – not because of yourself but because of those who share your sleep environment?

Here are a few reasons why you may not be sleeping well and what you can do to fix the problem.

Partner: sleep divorce

Are you regularly woken up by the snoring, tossing and turning, sleep-talking or night terrors of your partner? It’s not uncommon these days to file for a ‘sleep divorce’, whereby a couple chooses to sleep in separate beds or separate rooms so that both get the best sleep possible.

Sleep expert Lucy Wolfe says, “As a sleep practitioner, I’m always going to promote people prioritising their sleep. But that isn’t the only reason we share a bed. We share for connection, not necessarily just intimacy. But, it’s very much an in-house, couple-based decision.”

It often depends on what the problem is. If it’s to do with blanket-hogging or moving a lot in their sleep, separate duvets might be enough to reinstate nocturnal harmony.

Unfortunately, if it’s something like snoring, where you’ve tried everything from ear plugs to mouth-taping and nothing has worked, a sleep divorce might be your best option.

Rather than worrying that sleeping in separate bedrooms could spell the end of your relationship, think of it instead as the start of a new one – one where you both feel happier, better rested and less irritable with each other on a daily basis.

Children: don't send mixed messages

For Lucy, children coming into the bed in the middle of the night is not necessarily something that should be labelled a ‘bad habit’.

It’s more about setting out the boundaries you want at the start, like co-sleeping or bed-sharing, rather than reacting to a situation, i.e. reluctantly allowing the child into your bed because they’re not sleeping well in their own space. Ultimately, it’s about everyone getting the best night’s sleep possible and if bed-sharing doesn’t accomplish that, it’s time to start making some adjustments.

• Decide where you would like your child to sleep and start making positive associations with it for the child. Play in there for a while during the day, dress your child and change nappies in there so that it doesn’t feel threatening when it’s time to go to sleep.

• Regulate your child’s wake time and ensure they’re getting lots of good food, hydration and activity during the day.

• Create a feeling of emotional and psychological safety by placing the bedtime routine in their room – putting on bedclothes, reading a book, etc.

• In the morning, go downstairs. Don’t bring them into your bed for a cuddle as this can send mixed messages to the child.

“Sleep itself is lots of things – it’s biological, it’s environmental, it’s emotional, but it’s also behavioural,” says Lucy. “When your baby wakes overnight – which they can do for loads of different reasons – if they get brought into your bed and you change the sleeping location, that actually becomes part of their sleep story, their sleep association and expectation.

“So, perhaps once we stop doing that, they will understand what it is we’re asking of them.”

Pets: set boundaries

You can make all the rules in the world but when that cute kitten or beloved dog starts whining or snuffling at your door for a cuddle, it can be very difficult to stand your ground.

Sleeping with a pet in the bedroom – or even on the bed – can be a source of great comfort for people, especially those living alone or who experience anxiety. And, if you are confident that your pet’s temperament suits yours, they are up to date on their flea and de-worming treatments and they won’t wake you up in the middle of the night, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have them beside you.

“The only objection I sometimes have, and this is from personal experience from my own pets, is that they can be quite noisy,” says Lucy.

“We’ve had different dogs – one of them slept all night, he didn’t move or make any noise and then one of them was the opposite – he would be walking around the room, licking himself at 5am in the morning and no one was getting any sleep that way.

“I think it depends on the pet and the family. It can be a nice, regulating thing for people but they need to be non-disturbing pets, by the same token.”

World Sleep Day takes place on 15 March and Pampers is doing its part to ensure infant sleep is as good as it can be with Pampers Baby Dry Nappy Pants

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