Sleep is a universal experience that affects everyone. Today we will discuss sleep hygiene, sleep disorders, and sleep-related issues in relationships, you will gain valuable information and strategies for improving your sleep and overall well-being. Sleep is particularly relevant to relationships, as poor sleep habits can impact both partners and cause relationship stress. Sleep disorders can also affect sexual intimacy, emotional regulation, and communication within relationships.

sleep, wellness, insomniac, health, tired, exhausted, relationships, marriage

Sleep: Separating Fact from Fiction for Better Sleep and Stronger Relationships

Sleep is a universal experience that affects everyone. Sleep is particularly relevant to relationships, as poor sleep habits can impact both partners and cause relationship stress. Sleep disorders can also affect sexual intimacy, emotional regulation, and communication within relationships.

There is a large body of research demonstrating the numerous benefits of improving sleep:
Just listen to this list of 6 which covers an awful lot of good stuff!

Improved physical health: Studies have shown that getting enough quality sleep can improve immune function, lower the risk of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and stroke, and even improve longevity.

Improved mental health: Good sleep has been linked to better mental health outcomes, including lower rates of depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation.

Improved cognitive function: Sleep is essential for memory consolidation, learning, and cognitive performance. Studies have shown that sleep deprivation can impair attention, reaction time, decision making, and problem-solving abilities.

Improved productivity: Good sleep has been shown to improve workplace performance and reduce absenteeism.

Improved athletic performance: Studies have shown that getting enough sleep can improve athletic performance by enhancing reaction time, speed, and accuracy, as well as reducing fatigue and increasing endurance.

Improved mood: Good sleep has been linked to better mood and emotional regulation, while sleep deprivation has been linked to irritability, impatience, and mood swings.

So I think we can all agree this is a worthwhile topic so today I’ve invited Terry Cralle, she is a registered nurse, Certified Clinical Sleep Educator, and Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality who specializes in sleep health and wellness. A national speaker & author on sleep, Terry is the co-founder of a four-bed sleep disorders clinic and has served as a consultant on the topic of sleep health. Her work in the field of sleep medicine has included clinical research.
Thanks so much for being here!

#1. Let’s begin with what are some common misconceptions about sleep, and how can understanding the science of sleep benefit relationships?

Terry Cralle (03:20.93)
Okay, so misconceptions. I think one of the biggest ones that I run into is people tell me that they’ve learned how to get by with less. And I know immediately that they’re fibbing, that’s a tall tale, and I don’t buy it for one second. They are not getting by or learning to get by. That doesn’t happen. Most adults,

Rhoda Sommer (03:32.086)
Yes, that’s true. I hear that a lot. Yes.

Terry Cralle (03:50.294)
need seven to nine hours of sleep every 24 hours. Very, very, very few adults are short sleepers. And I think a lot are short sleeper wannabes. But there are this, there are a category, they’re called short sleepers, less than 1% of the population make up that category. They do well, they’re healthy, productive, happy, and doing just fine on five or six hours of sleep a night, it’s a rare genetic thing.

all of us though really have to understand that we can’t learn how to do that. It’s not a thing about willpower, it’s biology. So we have to look at sleep as a biological need just like we look at thirst. You know I wouldn’t call you Rhoda and say oh Rhoda I learned how to get by with drinking less water today and all week and I’ve learned how to when I’m thirsty I distract myself.

We don’t do that, and it’s the same with sleep. We have to respect it and prioritize it, which brings me to another problem. A lot of people don’t respect sleep. I think…

Rhoda Sommer (05:03.022)
I think that’s true.

Terry Cralle (05:04.854)
I agree. I think there’s either an overt or even a you know just there’s a little bit of contempt. You know they see it as a time waster. Sleep is a time waster or I’m showing that I’m not ambitious if I say I need to get my sleep or I got a full eight hours last night. You know there’s something tied up with characteristics of an ambitious person. I want to be successful, driven. So we’ve

Terry Cralle (05:34.728)
glamorized and idealized people that say they don’t need much sleep or don’t get much sleep. So we need to flip the script and say look I’m all about

self-care and being the best person I can be, the healthiest person I can be, and I would just encourage all of your listeners to look at sleep as square one in that journey. Sleep is square one. So much of everything just depends on how we’re sleeping, if we’re getting enough, and if we’re prioritizing it and really making room for it in our schedules.

Rhoda Sommer (06:13.198)
What about that thing that older people say that they need less sleep as they age? That’s something I also hear. Is that true? I didn’t think so.

Terry Cralle (06:22.554)
No, no, and their sleep quality can change. Yeah, they still need that same amount of sleep. Things change at different points in our lives. And in the elderly population, they tend to get a phase advance where they start, they might get tired earlier and wake up earlier. So it’s just important to always make sure, I think sleep trackers are a great thing and gives you an idea. I mean, we count calories, we count steps, we can count our sleep and it ties in with everything else we’re counting so we might as well start there but no we should be getting that if we have good sleep habits and adjust our lives accordingly you know if we get a little bit different schedules and of course with the elderly and every other every other age group if there’s any issue with sleep don’t ignore it or I mean I think people again part of that disregard for sleep in general we tend to ignore signs of a sleep disorder or we just

live with it thinking well there’s nothing we can do about it and that’s simply not true so I’d say I would add that sleep should be considered a vital sign.

And if your health care provider does not bring it up at every encounter, you bring it up. Be your own sleep health advocate and really talk about sleep. I mean, mention are you sleeping great? Are you not sleeping great? Has anything changed? Bring that to the attention of your health care provider so they can keep tabs on that because so much rests upon it. No pun intended.

Rhoda Sommer (07:56.702)
It’s really interesting because I get asked all kinds of questions now because of Medicare, do I use a seatbelt, etc. I don’t think anybody’s ever asked me about sleep. Not once. And I really like my doctor, but I don’t think anybody has ever asked me a question about sleep. And I’m a good sleeper. I like sleep. I think it’s important.

Terry Cralle (08:17.95)
I think it’s just a horrible shame that occurs. And you know, but you can just.

sort of pedal back into, you know, when I was in training to be a nurse and I physicians were in training at the same hospital center. I mean, sleep wasn’t discussed. I mean, these so many in training and out of training, they weren’t getting plenty of sleep. We weren’t learning about the benefits or the importance. I mean, now we know better. We definitely know better. Just I sort of liken it to how smoking used to be.

Rhoda Sommer (08:51.19)
That’s right.

Terry Cralle (08:51.998)
I mean, it was everywhere. I remember parents smoking in the car, restaurants, cloud of smoke at the dinner table. I mean. We didn’t know, but it was everywhere. We didn’t pay attention to it. But once we learned the science, then everything changed, and quite dramatically, and I think the same is going to occur with sleep. I think you’re going to see a big change. I mean, we see many more errors made in the health care setting when practitioners are sleep deprived. It’s dangerous. We see car wrecks on the way home from long shifts. I mean, it’s dangerous.
and I think that’s going to We have more problems with taking. and I think what we’re going to healthy life, you know, healthy

Rhoda Sommer (09:51.99)
I agree, I do. There was a 2020 study published in the Journal of Sleep Research that found that consistent bedtimes and wake times are associated with better sleep hygiene and better sleep quality, which I’m sure you know about. So how can couples work together to create a healthy sleep environment? And what are some of the strategies besides consistent bedtime and wake time for better sleep hygiene?

Terry Cralle (10:18.598)
Yeah, so when we talk about sharing the sleep environment and we want to avoid that night to night variability, that’s just really wreaks havoc on our sleep cycles. We have fairly precise body clocks inside of all of us. And that body clock in our bodies and minds crave consistency. I cannot emphasize that enough. But.

I tell you, Rhoda, it’s a tall order. We’ve got couples. We have night owls married to morning larks. We have people with disparate work schedules. We have, I mean, I’m one of these people. See my jacket today on June 12th. I mean, I’m freezing all the time. So room temperature, covers. I mean.

It’s such a tall order to get it just right. So I just encourage, I mean, the most basic advice I could give to start this off with is, you’ve got to be flexible. And then you’ve got to, again, both have to have a very healthy respect for the need for sleep. I mean, if we’re sleeping OK and our partner isn’t, let’s not discount that. Let’s, you know, if your partner had a bad night’s sleep,

quiet into the daytime for a nap, let it happen. I see a lot of, you know, interesting on my work and my workshops and when I talk to couples, you know, one of my attendees was laughing about her dog sleeps in the middle of them and he’s got the collar with the little jingle jangle name tags. And she thinks, you know, I mean, she’s telling me about it laughing.

you know, hysterically saying her husband, it drives him crazy, but she sleeps through it. And, you know, we have to make concessions. And because I think if we sort of stopped and said, okay, how important is this sleep? This sleep is affecting my mind and my partner’s physical health, mental health.

Terry Cralle (12:22.722)
It determines sleep impacts or lack of how we like our job. It impacts if we’re burned out at work or not. It impacts how ethical we are. It impacts so much. I mean, it goes way beyond I’m sleepy, I’m exhausted, whatever. I mean, those are sort of the initial physical consequences we can feel.
readily when we’re tired. But this is, you know, this is caring for a partner and saying, your health, I don’t want you to get this, this and this. I mean, we’ve got sleep deprivation linked to…

Several kinds of cancers to Alzheimer’s, you know, we’ve got a dementia issue. I mean, really serious things that, you know, life changing things that we want to avoid whenever possible and avoid the risk factors. So I think we have to be, we call it.

We have to have manners, sleep manners we tell little kids, but we have to respect the need and we have to find a sleep environment that’s helpful to both parties. And I mean I don’t I mean hate to jump into it right now, but if that doesn’t work, sleep apart. You know, there’s no right or wrong. And I want to stress that heavily. I cannot overstate that.

If you sleep, if you just cannot get enough sleep, if your partner has it too, likes it too hot or too cold and you just can’t do it, please don’t risk your sleep. I mean, you can cuddle, you can have cuddling time, you can have me time at night or just, you know, one on one. But if you have to sleep separate, by all means do so. It’s not a sign of problems in the relationship. In fact, it can be a

relationship saving step to take if you’re not getting sleep, just because that sleep helps us communicate better. We’re more empathetic, we’re more grateful, we look more attractive, we feel better, we’re less moody, less irritable. I mean, there’s studies showing violence, aggression, bullying behaviors. Things like this are really connected to insufficient sleep, so it’s very, very serious and it should be treated accordingly.

Rhoda Sommer (14:42.87)
Wow. How can stress and anxiety impact sleep and what are some techniques for managing these issues in relationships?

Terry Cralle (14:51.294)
Okay, so this is where there’s that reciprocal relationship. If we are under slept, we’re going to feel more anxious and be more stressed out.

So that’s always the problem. Then you’re more anxious and stressed out, and how do you get more sleep when you need it? So I mean, that’s where it gets tricky. But we have to look, I think if we sort of look at it differently and say, OK, I need to sleep, get less in my stress levels, I love the quote, sleep, sufficient sleep is Kevlar for the mind. Don’t you love it?

Rhoda Sommer (15:23.928)
Oh, say that again. That’s a good one.

Terry Cralle (15:27.746)
Sufficient sleep is Kevlar for the mind. It makes us resilient. We are bulletproof when we are well rested. We can handle things. Everyone’s life has stressors. We all deal with stressors, but there are things to, if you put, that’s we go back to putting sleep, number one priority in your 24 hour day, you’re going to feel less of that. You’re going to feel less anxiety. So the thing to get that sleep that you need in order to avoid that or to deal with existing anxiety

switch around probably some of your habits or adopt new ones that you’re not practicing. There are things to do during the day. First of all, get morning sunlight. It helps reset your body clock. I always set a bedtime alarm. I found that tremendously helpful because look…

Googling before I do your podcast. I like to see what the latest research is I mean you could check with me and I’d be up at 2 a.m. Because I’m Fascinated by anything sleep related, but I set the alarm every single night so I know when to stop Doing what I’m doing and get ready for bed and then we talked about getting ready for bed Everyone needs a bedtime routine the kiddos need it and the adults need it really, you know Same steps in the same order getting ready

from wakefulness to sleep. It helps us unwind, it helps us stay on track, it’s so important. And then we have to really focus on the sleep environment as dark as possible. I’ve had people say once I put up those blackout curtains sleep quality was greatly enhanced. But in fact let me back up a few steps. At the end of your workday, write, physically write a to-do list, to worry about list,

It’s actually been shown to help make things look more manageable because we all know when our head hits the pillow Oh my god, you start thinking of what I not do what I didn’t do What did this person say? I got to deal with this, you know all this stuff goes on that

Terry Cralle (17:30.986)
If you have it written out every day, don’t bring it into the bedroom, keep it out of the bedroom, but at the end of your workday, do it, file it away, it’s done. It may help with that late night rumination. I tell couples go to bed mad. They hate to hear that because for so long we’ve heard, you know, work out your problems. Don’t go to sleep mad. Go to sleep mad because I’m going to tell you, when we’re tired, we’re not our best selves at all. At all.

Rhoda Sommer (17:53.746)
No, I think it so easily increases the ugliness factor because you’re tired and cranky. I say exactly the same thing to people. That advice is terrible to not go to bed.

Terry Cralle (17:59.094)
Oh yeah. Yep.

Terry Cralle (18:08.952)
I know. But I have so many people who say, oh, you can’t say that. Yes, I can. Because I know. But yeah, so that’s critically important. And I think that getting sort of the rest of the environment, and maybe that’s something worth mentioning. We tend to think about the sleep environment as soon as we’re turning off the lights and think, oh, God, I haven’t shopped for a mattress in 35 years. You know, I don’t feel comfortable when I first lie down. And I’m telling your listeners, I mean, you should really have that aha feeling when you lie in that bed of yours. And there are so many new models of mattresses that they make now with different materials, different textiles in sheets and blankets. You can get that.

that sleep surface so comfortable. So I mean, I have run into people who’ve said, I’ve had sleep studies done, I had this ruled out, I’ve had that ruled out. It was a woman sitting next to me on a flight. We were traveling back from Colorado. She started, once I told her what I did, there she goes, right into it. So she went through all this stuff, and I was pretty intrigued and interested. And she’d done a great job in sort of self-advocating, and she saw some sleep specialists and had everything ruled out.

thought okay so then I thought what’s held and I said how’s your mattress she said no one’s ever asked me that I said well I’m just curious she said right about 30 35 36 years old and I said I think you should go get a new mattress that’s all I can offer I said but email me let me know if it helps and it helped so that was good um it could be something simple

Rhoda Sommer (19:54.782)
Also, pillows. I read that, you know, I’ve been in a little pillow thing, you know, because I read something somewhere about getting, you shouldn’t have pillows, and mine was like 20, 25 years old, and because I loved it, you know, I did, I loved this pillow, and I thought, yeah, this is probably a good, I can’t believe how much more I love my new pillow. Ha ha ha.

Terry Cralle (20:16.41)
Yeah, it’s true, it’s true. And you know, pillows.

Pillars are very important. There’s sort of a dynamic between the pillow and the mattress. Even if you change up your mattress, you might need a different pillow, but there’s so many interesting materials out there. And I will admit, I went through a couple of designs until I found the perfect one, but it can make such a difference. So now it’s the aha feeling. It’s perfect, but it’s worth sort of taking care of during the day. And also on that note, if any of your listeners

Rhoda Sommer (20:36.418)
Mm-hmm. It really can.

Terry Cralle (20:50.656)
I mean, I think it’s important to be aware of the fact that you’re not going to be able to sleep with your children. I start with very young children but always talk about sleep early and often with children and that’s a given. But empower them. I mean, children of all ages can feel a little bit helpless when it comes to sleep. You know, they don’t know quite what it is, what it does. It’s just a fear of missing out. They’re, you know, they’re sort of in a 10 hour timeout every 24 hours. So I think there’s some empowerment things you can do by saying you get to pick out your pillow.

I’ll let you, we’re going to go shopping for a pillow today. Let’s have some engagement. And even during the bedtime routine, let them pick out their pajamas. So give them choices wherever possible. So it’s not just sort of this, do this, do that, do that, do that, and the very authoritarian sort of, it is a non-negotiable thing, but I mean, just if we can get some input and engagement and empowerment, children of all ages. Yeah, yeah.

Rhoda Sommer (21:42.978)
they get more ownership, yeah, I agree. And I love kids practicing choices. I think that’s really important stuff because your life is about your choices. And so this episode is about choosing sleep as being more important than shoving it in the background, which is what people do.

Terry Cralle (22:07.84)
that’s what we’re trying to Exactly. been tough. messaging and we ended up going commercials were now like just had some similar type of public

Terry Cralle (22:32.552)
like drowsy driving people you know it was a radio call-in show people are calling in and they’re all laughing about oh yeah so-and-so works in our company he fell asleep driving the truck drove it through the plate glass window and they’re laughing talking about it drowsy driving is as dangerous as drunk driving

But it’s very, very overlooked and does not get at all the press it deserves and the attention it deserves and the cautionary tales in education it warrants. It’s very dangerous. So, I mean, people I think are more, you know, cognit… I mean, I think you look at… Okay. I’ve had a drink of alcohol.

I’m at a party, I had another drink, I’m not going to drive home, I know to call an Uber, or I see someone who’s stumbling, I take their keys, I give them a ride home. I mean, with alcohol, it’s a little more clear cut, but with sleep…

The problem is this is another thing where partners come in. If you know your partner hasn’t had enough sleep, you take those keys. Because microsleeps, you can’t, I mean, it’s just sort of like fighting sleep. Rolling down the window chewing ice, blaring the radio, that’s not gonna keep you from going into a microsleep. You will have those. And they’re deadly, they’re as deadly as drunk driving accidents. So always be, I think that’s such a thing with every family member to look at each other, someone’s irritable.

Rhoda Sommer (23:45.463)

Terry Cralle (23:57.824)
Maybe they just need a nap, maybe they didn’t get sleep. If someone you know they haven’t had any sleep or they say they’re tired, don’t let them drive or run an errand. You do it or don’t do it, whatever. But I mean, I think we sort of have to take a much more serious stance with that, especially our teenagers, new drivers, and teenagers need 9.25 hours of sleep every 24 hours. Very few get that. They have a biological phase delay.

Terry Cralle (24:34.487)
school starts at seven twenty absurdly early school start one of those high schools. at seven twenty and you know,

You know, how come I can’t go to sleep? You know, it’s just, but it’s a teenage thing. But anyway, we have to look out for teens. So give them, besides the drunk driving talk, give them the drowsy driving talk for sure.

Rhoda Sommer (25:01.846)
Oh, that does sound really important. What are the most common sleep disorders like insomnia that can affect individuals and relationships, and how can they be managed?

Terry Cralle (25:12.25)
Yeah, and this is insomnia and sleep apnea are the most common ones. And there’s a lot of misconceptions about both. But OK, let’s just take the partners are having problems if your partner’s snoring. And you get the laugh about the elbow in the ribs, wake them up, or they stop breathing. Serious, very serious condition. It’s definitely not a laughing matter. And you really have to get to a sleep doctor.

and they’re there, they have special training. Sleep tests can be done at home or in a clinic setting to diagnose or rule out sleep apnea. It’s a completely painless test. It’s one of the easier medical tests I’ve ever witnessed. People show a lot of anxiety and trepidation toward going to one, what if I need to use the restroom in the middle of the night? Because a lot of people with sleep apnea do use the restroom.

during the night frequently and easy. You just unplug all the wires from one thing and you’re good to go. But get that ruled out or diagnosed and managed for sure. So if there’s snoring, if there’s daytime fatigue, I mean, if you…

Think about your daytime situation. If you need caffeine to get you through the day, what’s going on? If you’re in bed seven to nine hours, or you think you’re sleeping seven to nine hours, but don’t feel refreshed, what’s going on? What does your partner say? Because your partner’s probably witnessing a lot of things.

you’re not aware of. Do you have headaches when you wake up? I would definitely do. There’s like simple questionnaires that are out there that can serve as screening that should be done in your primary care office for sure. A lot of people get screened before they have surgery because anesthesia is a lot riskier with people with OSA, obstructive sleep apnea. Then we have insomnia, and this is where I feel bad because I think people

Terry Cralle (27:12.866)
who have insomnia don’t get help because they say, well, I don’t want to be on sleeping pills or take sleeping pills. So here’s how that works. Sleeping pills, there’s a time and a place for them, but usually, typically, it’s short.

It’s a short time frame. Your sleep doctor’s supervising all of this going on, how you’re sleeping, how you’re not. And there’s a constraint. It’s not a lifelong thing by any stretch.

But there is something more effective than sleeping pills for insomnia, and that’s called cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia, and it’s CBTI. And there are a lot of providers that you can do it in person or over the internet, on video, and it’s very effective. There’s some apps that can help with sleep hygiene and all the things you need to get a good night’s sleep. But again, if you’re…

Marking off that seven to nine hours every 24 hours, you’ve got good sleep habits and you still don’t feel well or you just lie in bed and can’t get to sleep, can’t stay asleep, see a sleep specialist. I mean, it’s just an amazing thing, what it can do. And I think people generally see a huge life-changing.

Rhoda Sommer (28:24.453)

Terry Cralle (28:34.49)
change in their lives when they get help. And I had a patient once, she came in, probably mid-40s, a couple of children from all ranges, young to teenager years, but she had severe sleep apnea and she came back for her follow-up with her husband. And the first words when they sat down out of his mouth were, thank you for giving me my wife back.

see that’s wow and that that’s how working in sleep medicine I get several wows every day because it’s so impactful on every aspect of our functioning and I think people lose sight of that and of course sleep deprived people they’re the ones that’s hard it’s ironic but you know our

Prefrontal cortex is greatly affected, negatively impacted by a lack of sleep. So we get a little unreasonable. We can’t, well there’s no insight. You know and people, and they almost, see there’s a huge difference. They’re not getting used to not getting enough sleep, but they’re getting used to the feeling of being horrendously exhausted all the time. So they’ve kind of acclimated to that feeling, but they’re still having all the long-term and short-term consequences of insufficient sleep. So I think that’s something to be aware of, and that’s why I’ve seen couples, the relationship gets better when one of the partners who’s snoring all night and has sleep apnea is on CPAP. and everyone seems to sleep a lot better, and then everyone feels better when they wake up after a good night’s sleep. It’s just, we’ve had people where we diagnose them, and they’re like, I want my CPAP to walk out the door here. It’s so great. And that’s why you’ve seen the accidents with the truck drivers who have, or train conductors. I mean, it’s with everything. So I think that’s, again, we’re back to, it’s a vital sign. Always talk about those things with your doctor or healthcare provider.

sleep, health, wellness, relationship, couples, exhausted

Rhoda Sommer (30:46.983)
Are naps a good thing or a bad thing?

Terry Cralle (30:49.998)
It completely depends. For the most part, I vote yes, absolutely. A daytime nap can help. We’ve got sometimes, I know I’ve got an early flight next week and I know I’m gonna be at my hotel room in time to take a nap. I mean, I plan the whole thing out so I have nap time because I wanna make up for that.

Terry Cralle (31:12.799)
I don’t want to accrue sleep debt on any level. I mean, I just don’t want to do it. Naps are great. Some people I know I’ve done some challenges at some workplaces where it’s like coffee break between two and three p.m. What if you had a ten, fifteen, twenty minute nap?

during that time and then you feel recharged without the caffeine. And some of those results have been pretty amazing. There’s some studies showing the effectiveness of very short daytime naps can really put you back into a productive, creative and wide awake mindset. People sometimes, you know, okay, so it’s not a warning, they just sort of.

longer naps, say an hour, can leave you with sleep inertia when you wake up. That means that’s a groggy feeling. And sleep inertia is always worse if you’re just overall sleep deprived or in sleep debt. But a long nap can make you feel groggy and it can take a while to dissipate. So during, it just depends on the scenario. A long nap may not be at all relevant for or…

Rhoda Sommer (32:20.846)
short naps.

Terry Cralle (32:27.534)
advisable for a workday thing, but if you travel to a different company and have, um, country and have severe jet lag, an hour nap may just help get you back on track. So it kind of depends, but as long as they’re not too late in the day, and I would say under normal circumstances, 30 minutes or less, or if you feel the need to nap every day, like you can’t get through the day without napping, compare that to what’s going on at night and again bring that to attention of a healthcare provider. That could be a sign of something going on.

Rhoda Sommer (33:00.578)
So how can sleep impact sexual intimacy in a relationship, and what are some strategies for managing those issues?

Terry Cralle (33:09.714)
Well, we all know that sufficient sleep is wonderful for our libido. I mean, it’s a wonderful thing. And again, the lack of sleep, it’s more than the I’m just exhausted and too tired. See, I mean, you get back to just the mindset of, I don’t feel like it, and I don’t care how my partner feels.

really because I’m so tired that’s sort of the mindset you get into. So I think by putting sleep first it’s really it’s such a recharge for a relationship or a reset if it’s been a sleep deprived one or if your needs are not getting met in that department.

I mean that’s you know stop and look both partners talk about it or if one partner I mean that communication Again daytime communication not just at night when you’re both tired, but what’s going on at night? What’s keeping you from sleeping? What can we both do to enhance? Our sleep, you know, it’s been interesting I’ve seen an uptick in the mattresses that they sell a king-size mattress where both sides

two twin XLs pushed together. So one bed partner’s head can be up, the others can be flat, one can have the feet up. I mean, there’s all these options out there that really help provide a good night’s sleep for both partners. I mean, lots of different things that we can do in the bedroom.

in terms of, I mean, even people have told me going from a queen to a king size mattress, just that few extra inches of getting comfy room helps. I’ve had older people say a softer mattress really helped. They both felt more rested. And see, again, anything you can do to enhance that sleep will enhance the relationship and enhance sexual desire. And your libido goes way up. I mean, the things that happen with lack of sleep in terms of, God, couples experience fertility.

Terry Cralle (35:18.284)
problems, definitely the bad moods and everything, but I think our immune systems are better. Everything works better physically when we’re well rested for sure. So again, it’s a priority and another term I despise is a sleep divorce. I think if a couple cannot sleep together, that’s just don’t…

put a negative stigma on it. You can have wonderful good time together and then if you have to go to a separate room because you like that mattress better or you sleep better or your partner needs to stay up and do some work and has a different work schedule do it but don’t call it a sleep divorce I just…

Rhoda Sommer (36:02.278)
I’ve actually never heard that term. That’s interesting.

Terry Cralle (36:04.506)
And oh yeah, a lot of the literature keeps using that and it’s like, oh, let’s, I gotta think of a better word for that, I’m working on that.

Rhoda Sommer (36:13.794)
So one of the things you talked about that really interested me was that there are actual health benefits to cuddling. Would you share more about that with my audience?

Terry Cralle (36:24.166)
Yeah, the cuddling’s a good thing and I think when we get down to, I’ll start by saying we’ve got to really lower our, limit our screen time. We’re spending so much time on screens and social media. And I think the first step is, God, just make that a thing. You turn off before bedtime so you have partner time and that…

just think about nothing else but cuddles and intimate time alone at night and just get the screens out of the bed and out of the, as far away as possible. But no, there’s a release of oxytocin. This is a hormone that will help us feel good. I love the qualities of it. Oxytocin helps us feel safe, relaxed, calm.

and comforted. So it’s a wonderful thing. And so back to the sleep divorce, that doesn’t mean you don’t have your cuddle time and your romance time at all. It just means all that’s good to go, but just the when it gets down to that shut eye, that’s going to be somewhere else or some other way. But yeah, it’s important and I think, and the cuddle time can help some couples, and see we’re pretty divided on this out in the sleep world. Some couples, it really helps their sleep, and there are couples that can’t sleep apart. I mean, they sleep well together, so I don’t wanna give it a negative, that cuddle time helps them fall asleep and stay asleep. But if you can’t do it, don’t feel bad. It’ll help you sleep.

Rhoda Sommer (37:57.47)
Yeah, right, I would agree. So Terry, where can my audience reach you? What would you like to promote?

Terry Cralle (38:05.294)
Well, I am fortunate and honored to work with the Better Sleep Council, and they have great information about sleep at And then I am on Twitter at power of sleep. And you’ll I post a lot of things all day every day because it’s a real fascinating specialty in medicine. It’s quite amazing. And I, I think what’s been so rewarding for me personally being in this little segment

of healthcare that I hope becomes a larger segment and a prominent one, is that it just improves everyone’s life for the better. And I urge your listeners to make sufficient sleep, a top priority, and to make sufficient sleep a personal, a family, a classroom, and a workplace value, for sure, and put it at the top of…

the priority list and even a two week challenge. I give this two weeks, but boy if.

I’ve had wonderful emails and responses back from people who for two weeks just said, I’m going to do what it takes. I’ve got to delegate this. I’m going to forego binge watching this show. I’m going to stop this show. I’m going to turn off the power down. And two weeks of sufficient sleep, if you can kind of go that distance. I’ve had very few people that say they’ll ever go back to the…

other way of living. I mean that’s how amazing it is. So we really have to treat it as such and I think it’s all positive. When we get it, we get it.

Rhoda Sommer (39:54.702)
There’s a lot of rewards to figuring this out. Ha ha.

Terry Cralle (39:57.798)
Yep, lots.

Rhoda Sommer (40:00.398)
I’m so glad you’re listening today. I’m hoping to offer live Q&A on Monday, October 30th. I will share the link in episode 113, released on October 23rd. Feel free to send questions in advance through the contact page on my website, That’s all for today’s episode. If you found it useful, please subscribe and share it with your friends. And if you didn’t find it useful, we suggest using it as a sleep aid.

Terry Cralle (40:30.038)

Rhoda Sommer (40:30.808)
We promise not to take it personally. Thanks a lot, bye.

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