Sex + Dating

Why the Cuddle Conversation Is a Critical Step in Any Relationship

sleep style in a relationship is important
Daniel Fishel/Thrillist

Love means never having to say you're sorry.

Unless, of course, you kept your partner awake all night because you sleep like a starfish and have no concept of personal space. When it comes to a new relationship, you need to set the sleeping boundaries up right away.

There's no room in happy romances for someone who snores relentlessly, sleeps on your arm, or swivels into the blanket like a frightened piglet. You need to have the "cuddle conversation" the first time you have a sleepover. It just might be the most important talk of your relationship.

Sleep keeps relationships healthy (seriously!)

Sleep is critical to your health. And getting enough of it is totally non-negotiable.

"Sleeping should not be treated as a luxury, but as a necessary part of total health," says Dr. Robert Oexman, a sleep expert from the Sleep to Live Institute. "People who get the proper amount of sleep feel better, look better, and are overall in better health."

It should go without saying, but healthier = more dateable.

When you sleep, your brain and body get to recover from a hard day's work. Not getting enough snooze time will leave you cranky, irritable, and will totally mess with your grip on reality. You can bet this BS is going to impact your romantic relationships. No one wants to date a miserable, tired mess.

Which brings me to my next point!

No sleep means no sex

That's right. If you aren't getting enough sleep, your sex life will suffer dramatically. It's not just your cranky attitude that will put your partner off of doing the no-no-cha-cha -- a lack of sleep can also mess up your ability to, well, get it up.

"Poor sleep quantity and quality decreases our ability to recognize other people's emotions, decreases our ability to deal with stress, increases our anxiety, and decreases our sex drive," Dr. Oexman says.

If you're with a new partner who doesn't know how to sleep like a normal human being, instead always clinging to you like a malnourished baby koala, you need to have a conversation and right this ship immediately. Use the whole "sleep makes me better in bed" information as ammunition. Trust me, no one is willing to give up sex in favor of burrito-ing the blanket. And if they are, that person loves sleep more than your relationship; which points to a much bigger problem.

Couples with compatible sleep styles are more likely to last

You may not have even considered this, but compatible sleepers are more likely to have a long-lasting relationship.

I'll never forget the moment I realized my partner was also an independent sleeper. We were cuddling the hell out of each other, lying very still, when I got up the nerve to say, "Hey, babe. I'm going to need to roll away now. It's the only way I can sleep."

He breathed a sigh of relief. "Thank God," he said.

Now we know that we both like about 10 minutes of pre-sleep cuddling, followed by totally independent sleep. "Couples that sleep together often report a more satisfying relationship,"  Dr. Oexman says. "When one person must accommodate a partner's sleep disorder, snoring, or different sleep schedule, it can impact the relationship. Sleep disorders should be treated; instead of partners moving to separate sleeping rooms."

Couples who SLEEP together, stay together.

Figure out what this clown is doing wrong and then tackle the problem accordingly

As with all major hurdles in a new romance, communication is key. This includes the cuddle conversation. If the two of you can discuss sleep issues openly and are willing to figure out a method for dealing with them, odds are good you'll both be sleeping like pharaohs in no time.

For instance, if one person is a guilty of being a snore monster, there are ways around it. "If one partner snores there are simple ways to treat the problem like mouth guards," Dr. Oexman says. "The second cause is pulling from sheets and blankets as one partner moves. To decrease this, you should try using separate sheets and blankets. The third-greatest is physical touching. To decrease this, you should sleep in the largest bed possible."

What's notable here is being able to have this conversation without anyone getting upset. Just because someone can't sleep tangled in your sweaty grasp doesn't mean they aren't into you.

Sleep should not be trifled with! This is no joke. If you're digging this person, you should be able to get around their sleeping habits -- and they yours. If you can't sleep well at night, is the relationship really worth it? You know you're meant to be together when one of you can tell the other to buzz off at bedtime so you can both get a decent night's sleep.

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Gigi Engle is Thrillist's Sex and Dating staff writer and needs 10 hours of sleep a night just to function, so don't f*ck with her. Follow her lovable crazy on Twitter, iTunesFacebook, and Instagram @GigiEngle.