How to Sleep Comfortably When Your Spouse is Away from Home

young female sleeping in bed next to empty space for spouse

young female sleeping in bed next to empty space for spouse

Loving couples sleep together. Sleeping at the same time in the same bed is one of the essential bonds of a romantic partnership. These are hours of snuggling and bonding time you spend together. You may be unconscious, but you're still growing closer with every hour spent snuggling the night away, or rolled away from each other separately snoring and blanket-kicking. Hey, every couple sleeps differently.

But when that comforting, familiar person isn't in bed with you, you just can't sleep. This is an incredibly common phenomenon for men and women. When business trips or other obligations take your partner away from home overnight, it can be tough to relax and sleep comfortably while keenly aware of their empty side of the bed.

So tonight, we're bringing you a helpful guide put together with the techniques of many others who have been in your shoes. Let's explore how you can sleep comfortably tonight, even without your partner snoring softly beside you.

The Substitute Snuggle Buddy

If the thing you find yourself missing most is their warm physical presence filling the bed, then what you need is a substitute to snuggle. Some people wake up sprawled in the bed, their arms and legs searching for their missing partner in their sleep. Others find themselves curled up on their partner's side of the bed. 

The solution is something that reminds you of your partner physically in bed with you. A long fluffy body pillow might do just the trick, especially for snuggly sprawlers. Those who find themselves cold and huddling may find more benefit from a heating pad or hot water bottle to snuggle. Combine the two for a warm body-sized pillow to wrap around. 

Treat Yourself to a Relaxing Bedtime Routine

If you find yourself having trouble winding down for bed because you just can't relax without your partner at home, treat yourself to a longer and more luxurious bedtime routine than usual. Draw yourself a bath and play with all the gift soaps you never have time for. Give yourself a facial and make yourself a treat to eat with an old favorite movie playing. Make it a your-night-in kind of night.

Do whatever it takes to relax and claim the evening as yours. Make the night about treating yourself instead of focusing on worry or nameless anxiety. This can be an especially helpful technique if the year will include more than one business trip you'll need to weather through. 

Permit Yourself to Stay Up Late

Most of the time, we try to 'be good' and go to bed at the right time. Or maybe it's just easy to yawn your way into bed at the same time every night with your partner doing the same. But if you're wired and don't even feel sleepy, permit yourself to stay up. You're an adult, not a kid with school bells in the morning (also if you have work tomorrow), and that means you can stay up when it makes sense to stay up.

Once you resolve to be up late, you can make something of the night. Sort that old closet, finish an art project, or prepare something extra special for your partner when they come back. Labors of love are often most meaningful while you're thinking fondly of your partner from a distance.

Ask Them to Stay In Touch with Goodnight Messages

Most of us are more comfortable if we hear from our distant spouse a few times each day they are gone. Especially before bedtime. You want them to call or text to say goodnight, so you know they're back at the hotel or friend's house safe and sound for the night. And you want them to be thinking of you to send that message the same way you're thinking of them.

So ask. Make it clear how much a bedtime message will matter to you and how much it will help you not to worry. There's a good chance they want to say goodnight to you, too, so they can stop worrying while they are forced to be away.

Journal Your Worries if You are Worried

Speaking of worries, some of us have more trouble than others worrying when our beloved partner is far away. You may find yourself worrying that someone will break into the house, they may fear that you are in danger, or you may worry that they will get into trouble while away from the home.

These thoughts are normal, even the irrational ones. Write them down to help your mind dismiss irrational fears.

Write Them a Love Letter Before Bed

Can't stop thinking about everything you want to say beyond "Goodnight?" Is your mind swirling around with "I love you so much" and all the things you'd tell them if it were your very last chance? That's normal, too. You may be consumed with the desire to call them in the middle of the night (when they need their business-trip sleep) to tell them about how you're thinking of the first time you met and all that jazz.

Don't call. Instead, write it out in a love letter. A letter you will give to them (or not) when they come home. Pour your heart into it and say everything you want to say to your partner while they're gone. It will help you sleep, knowing that it's written down for them. 

Sleep on Their Side of the Bed, or Snuggling Their Pillow

When babies need to sleep alone in their cribs, a mother's worn shirt can help them not to cry and miss their mother so badly. The same works for adults and loving couples. Flop onto your spouse's side of the bed and let their faint scent comfort your worried brain. Or snuggle their pillow to your face when you sleep to help remind your body and mind that they'll be back soon.

Earplugs, Eye Mask, and Guided Meditation

Guided meditation is when you carefully empty your mind and take yourself to a visualized, peaceful place where you can sleep. Imagine yourself by a stream, or in a big crystal cave, or on a sunny green island covered in baby animals. Whatever works for you.

If necessary, use earplugs and an eye mask to block out all other sensations but you, your partner's pillow, and your happy place where sleep can happen.

Get Up If You Can't Sleep and Prepare for Their Return

Finally, if you truly can't sleep, don't lie in bed fretting. Get up and permit yourself to be missing your partner like crazy. It's okay to miss them, and you'll feel a lot less crazy watching movies and cleaning the house tonight than you would be tossing and turning and not sleeping in bed.

Sleeping at home without your partner can be a harrowing, distracting, or just plain weird experience. But you can get through it. Do your best to relax and make the night about taking care of yourself. Or, do things to prepare for your spouse coming back to fill that mental place where they should be.

But whatever you do, don't stress yourself out too much about not sleeping. Worst case scenario, you tackle tomorrow without sleep or fall asleep watching a Twilight Zone marathon and wake up having snoozed on your couch.

Contact us to learn more cool sleep facts, tricks to help you sleep, and how others like you have overcome sleep challenges.