My nights are mostly spent competing with both my girlfriend and our 70-pound pitbull for bed space. We have a queen bed, which was (kinda) enough when it was only the two of us. But when we adopted our dog, he insisted on taking up as much bed space as possible, and as a result, we spend many nights dangling from the edges of the mattress instead of sleeping.
Now, we’ve since trained him (for the most part) to sleep in his own bed. But from time to time, he still crawls into our bed in the early morning hours and proceeds to splay out across the entire thing, pushing us back out to the edges in the process.
But there has to be a better way (please, God, let there be a better way), which is why I asked Terry Cralle, certified clinical sleep educator and author of Sleeping Your Way to the Top: How to Get the Sleep You Need to Succeed, how to get some sleep when dealing with every type of bed hog.
First, though, Cralle says the simplest fix for any bed-hog situation is, of course, to invest in a larger mattress. “When it comes to beds, the bigger the better,” she explains. “A queen-sized bed can get crowded with two people, let alone some little kiddos and a pet or two. I cannot tell you how many people have told me that going from a queen bed to a king bed made such a huge difference in their sleep, and ultimately, their relationship.” Cralle also recommends investing in two separate sets of bedding — or even just two separate blankets — if one person (or animal) tends to wrap themselves in everything, leaving you uncovered and shivering.
But of course, not everybody can afford a bigger bed or a second set of bedding, which is where her more specific advice might come in handy.
The Bed Hog: Your kid(s)
The Expert Advice: “When it comes to kiddos, they’ll always try to crawl into bed with you until they reach a certain age,” Cralle says. “Most of us just get to the point where we’re too tired to deal with it, so if you can sleep well with them in the bed, fine. If you can’t sleep with their tiny feet in your face, though, try upgrading their bedroom(s), bed(s) and whatnot, so they’ll stay put at night.”
In some cases, allowing your kid(s) to personalize their sleeping space and attire can encourage them spend more time in their bed(s) and less time in yours. “Depending on their age, let them pick out their pillows, comforters, pajamas and all that to give them some ownership in the process,” Cralle says. “Is their bed too small? Some kids like the roominess of a double bed or a queen. If it keeps them from disturbing your sleep, why not? Or is it time for that race car bed? Some of the specialty beds really do make going to bed more fun for kids and they may be more likely to stay in that bed.”
The Bed Hog: Your pet(s)
The Expert Advice: Cralle says you have two options when dealing with a pet that hogs the bed: Either kick them off entirely, or designate only a small area of the bed for them. “If you love sleeping with your fur-baby, but you find that they move around too much and disrupt your sleep, get them a bed of their own to keep in the bedroom (but on the floor). That may just give you some much-needed space to snooze. Of course, giving them their own bed outside of the bedroom may be the best thing, depending on their sleep habits.”
On a personal note, my dog is extremely stubborn, and yet, I somehow managed to train him (again, for the most part) to use his own bed outside of our bedroom door, which significantly helped with my own sleep. Better yet, he actually seems to enjoy having his own bed now, but as his early-morning wake-up calls have proven, he’ll forever love hogging our bed even more.
But that doesn’t mean all is lost: If you must have your pet on the bed (or like my case, if your pet insists on being on the bed), Cralle explains how to make sure they only take up a small portion. “Depending on the size of your pet, one trick for a pet bed hog is to clearly designate an area of the bed as his or her sleep space by using a blanket, towel or pet bed,” she says. “Another suggestion is to use a heating pad on low [they actually make heating pads specifically for dogs] in a corner at the foot of the bed — they’ll likely gravitate to the warm spot.”
The Bed Hog: Your partner
The Expert Advice: “If it’s a bed partner — and the bigger bed doesn’t help with the situation — there’s no shame in using separate beds,” Cralle says. “In fact, sufficient sleep is so important to a relationship that you should do this if it’s the only way to get good sleep — your relationship will likely reap the benefits. You can always share a bed for cuddling, talking, relaxing and MORE (wink, wink), but when it comes to sleeping, sometimes nothing’s better than your own bed.” (This same method can be implemented when a buddy crashes at your place, except instead of investing in a whole new bed, you can just make them sleep on the couch.)
If your partner sleeps like they’ve been possessed by a demon, however, you might want to seek out an expert opinion. “If your bed partner kicks, moves around a lot during the night, snores loudly, is tired during the day and so on, get him or her to a sleep specialist to rule out sleep disorders,” Cralle says.
So now you know how to deal with every type of bed hog. And that means you can actually get some sleep for once in your li —