Is the Scandinavian sleep method the secret to a better night’s rest?

Proponents of the Scandinavian sleep method say it’s a great alternative to sleep divorce, which is when couples sleep in separate beds, in different rooms or on independent sleep schedules. Sure, it’s more expensive than sharing bedding, and it complicates making the bed. But its potential upsides are numerous, especially for couples struggling to get a good night’s sleep.

Curious about the Scandinavian sleep method? We asked five sleep experts to weigh in on who should try it, and we tapped interior designers for tips on styling a bed with two duvets.

What is the Scandinavian sleep method?
The Scandinavian sleep method involves partners sharing a bed but using separate duvets, comforters, quilts or blankets. That separate top bedding cuts down on disruptions, letting you hog the covers, toss and turn or get up without waking each other. It also helps couples maintain physical closeness. While sleep divorce puts partners in separate beds, the Scandinavian sleep method just calls for using different blankets.

“The Scandinavian sleep method is a way for partners who sleep in the same bed to get better sleep,” says Dr. Chelsie Rohrscheib, neuroscientist and head sleep expert at Wesper. It’s a particularly great option for couples with conflicting habits. Hot sleepers and cold sleepers, light sleepers and restless sleepers, and early risers and night owls can sleep alongside each other soundly — tending to their own needs without disrupting their partner’s.

What are the pros and cons of the Scandinavian sleep method?
The Scandinavian sleep method hasn’t been extensively studied, notes Dr. Abhinav Singh, medical director of the Indiana Sleep Center and author of “Sleep to Heal: 7 Simple Steps to Better Sleep.” But the experts we spoke to agree on its potential benefits and drawbacks.

Scandinavian sleep method pros

It cuts down on sleep disruption
It lets each partner personalize their bedding
It keeps couples closer than alternatives (like sleep divorce)
Scandinavian sleep method cons

It doesn’t mitigate noise
It’s more expensive and laborious than using one blanket
It creates a physical barrier
The biggest perk of the Scandinavian sleep method? It makes it easier to fall asleep — and stay asleep. “It is a myth that some people ‘sleep like a log’ and do not move during sleep,” says Dr. Rebecca Robbins, sleep scientist at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. By using separate duvets, you can move more freely and disrupt your partner less. That said, the Scandinavian sleep method does nothing to mitigate noise, so it can’t help you sleep through snoring, sleep talking or ill-timed alarms.

soma mouth tape.jpg
Does mouth taping for sleep actually work? We asked healthcare experts
The Scandinavian sleep method also creates two personalized sleep environments within the same bed. Instead of compromising on duvet thickness and texture, each partner can pick a blanket that suits their needs and preferences. This is more expensive than sharing a blanket, and it gives you more to manage when doing laundry or making the bed. But having more control over your sleep environment goes a long way, says Dr. Alex Dimitriu, founder of Menlo Park Psychiatry & Sleep Medicine.

While sleep divorce offers both of these benefits, it demands more physical distance. “[The Scandinavian sleep method] provides freedom of sleep choice … while still allowing for a close sleeping experience,” Dr. Singh says. Of course, using separate duvets creates a small barrier and could potentially sacrifice some intimacy, experts say. But getting a good night’s sleep is vital — for you and your relationship, Dr. Robbins says. “It’s definitely worth trying if a couple is trying to work on sleep compatibility,” says Dr. Chester Wu, psychiatrist and sleep specialist.

How to make your bed the Scandinavian way
The biggest challenge of the Scandinavian sleep method is a logistical one: How do you make the bed with two duvets?

The first step is buying smaller duvets. Since you’re splitting your bed down the middle, you no longer need a massive comforter. Our sleep experts say two twin- or full-size duvets should get the job done, but you can always customize your bedding based on the size of your bed.

When it comes to styling your bed, interior designers propose two basic strategies: buy two matching duvets, or buy two different duvets — and turn the contrast into a design feature. You can use finishing touches, like pillows and blankets, to bring the bed together.

“The biggest rule I have for bed styling is to make choices based on what you feel you can achieve every morning,” says Allison Garrison, interior designer at Allito Spaces. To help you improve your sleep quality without disrupting your daily routine, we’ve rounded up the best products for trying the Scandinavian sleep method.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *