Editor’s note: This article was originally written in 2019 and has since been updated. Our sister site, Mattress Advisor, conducted the survey and is now a part of Sleep Advisor.
Every long-term relationship has major milestones. The first kiss, the first “I love you,” the first big argument (and subsequent makeup). And every one of those steps is just as important as the big moments waiting for you at the end, even if they can be a little uncomfortable at times.
Just like the first time you use the restroom in front of each other or see each other’s embarrassingly goofy side after one too many drinks, the first time you sleep over at each other’s house can be awkward.
Whether you’re worried about your morning breath, snoring in your sleep, or having to explain the potentially gawky way you like to lie in bed, every couple has been there. To prove it, we surveyed 1,000 people in relationships about how long it took them to feel comfortable spending the night with their significant other. Think you’re the only person worried about drooling in your sleep? Read on to find out.
Taking That Next (Sleep) Step
There is no perfect timeline couples should try to follow when it comes to feeling comfortable around each other. In fact, looking over your shoulder at how well (or fast) things seem to be going compared to other people might do more harm than good. What works for one person may not necessarily work for another, and that includes deciding when the time is right to sleep over.
According to our survey, it took women nearly four months, on average, to feel comfortable having their significant other initially stay over at their house. Men moved at a slightly quicker pace, consenting to sleepovers almost three months into their relationship.
Deciding to let your partner stay at your house might be easier than sleeping at their place as well. On average, it took women over four months to be comfortable initially sleeping at their partner’s place. Men needed over a month extra to initially sleep at their partner’s house.
Don’t expect that sharing a bed means you’ll be willing to bare it all, either. Only half of people would be okay sleeping naked during their first sleepover, and 58 percent wouldn’t even consider staying the night if they dated someone who still lived with his or her parents.
Tossing and Turning
Your first sleepover as a couple can be a bit stressful if you aren’t entirely ready for your partner to see the real “I woke up like this” side of you. There are naturally plenty of little things that could be playing over in your mind.
More than half of women were afraid of waking up with morning breath when sleeping at a partner’s house. Even though there are some things you can do the night before to help reduce morning breath, women were still more worried than men about just how bad their breath was when first waking up. Men had a slightly different dilemma: snoring. Nearly 43 percent of men were most anxious about snoring while sleeping at a partner’s house.
Both men and women were nervous about farting in bed, moving too much in their sleep, drooling, and sleeping awkwardly. Over 16 percent of men even admitted to being anxious about their morning erections when sleeping at their partner’s house.
Making the Most of It
Instead of worrying about drooling or getting up in the morning to go to the bathroom, couples should recognize that their “first night” might be awkward and try to plan accordingly. That’s why we asked our respondents for their best advice when taking the plunge.
The number one suggestion for making staying over less uncomfortable was simple: Bring a toothbrush. Whether it’s to avoid having morning breath or help you feel normal at the end of the night, being able to brush your teeth can be cathartic when sleeping in someone else’s bed for the first time.
Other easy ways to lessen the tension? Making sure you have sexual protection, refraining from snooping through your partner’s things, not touching their cell phone, and bringing a phone charger can be easy ways to help lighten the mood.
And if you think pancakes might be a nice touch, men might agree. Compared to women, men were 17 percent more likely to suggest making breakfast for a partner in the morning.
Relationship Timeline Progress
Certain bodily functions are a fact of life. Try as you might to hold it in, there’s probably going to be a time when these awkward moments bubble up to the surface. Thankfully, life’s most uncomfortable moments might be a chance for your relationship to get a little closer.
You might think passing gas in front of someone you’re dating is about the worst thing that could happen, but eventually, it could feel pretty normal. The average person farts between seven and 13 times a day1, so you probably won’t be able to avoid it forever.
Still, women had a slightly harder time than men feeling comfortable with some of these actions. Farting in bed and going to the bathroom with the door open took nearly nine months on average, and pooping with their significant other around took women almost 11 months (over three months longer than men).
On the other side of the sheets, women were more comfortable snooping through their partner’s phone while they slept. Even leaving a toothbrush at their partner’s house or leaving the bed unmade took women an extra month than men, on average.
Getting Through the Growing Pains
It’s natural to have fears about sharing a sleeping space with your partner for the first time, but it doesn’t have to be so scary. We’ll quickly address some common fears and what you can do about them:
- I’m a light sleeper. What if my partner wakes me up all the time? One solution to this common problem is to consider using separate blankets. The constant tugging and hogging can’t be helping either of you get a good night’s rest. Plus, this gives each person the opportunity to use the type of comforter they prefer. Another solution is to consider getting a new mattress with better motion isolation.
- What if one of us has a snoring problem? If you’re a heavy sleeper and your significant other is the snoring culprit, try to get to bed before them so you don’t even notice their nighttime snoring. However, if the offender starts up in the middle of the night remember one thing – they can’t help it. Try to calm your anger and gently nudge them to their side as this is a better position to help reduce snoring2.
- What if we just don’t mesh well in our sleep space? Every couple is different so every sleeping space will be different. Give it some time to adjust and figure out the sleeping preference of each person. Once you have a few weeks under your belt then you know what works and does not work for each other.
Related: Best Mattress for Couples
Our Final Thoughts
No matter how you slice it, relationships can be messy. While you have plenty of time to meet each other’s parents or uncover uncomfortable truths about your pasts, it might help to get ready for when you initially fart in front of each other or have to explain why you talk in your sleep. It may not come naturally, but it might help bring you closer together.
If you haven’t crossed the threshold of sleeping over just yet, just make sure you don’t forget to pack a toothbrush, phone charger, or an extra pair of underwear.
At Sleep Advisor, we’re committed to making sure you get the best sleep possible on the best mattress, no matter who’s sharing the bed. Every mattress we review goes through a six-point testing procedure and lab evaluation to make sure you know what you’re getting before your head ever hits the pillow. Let our guides take the stress out of sleeping.
We collected responses from 1,009 people on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. Participants were 52 percent female and 48 percent male. Respondents ranged in age from 18 to 75 with a mean of 30 and a standard deviation of 9.1.
To qualify for this survey, participants had to be currently in a relationship but not actively living with their partner. They must have already slept at their partner’s house as well as had their partner sleep at their home. To determine the length of getting comfortable with each action or scenario, we ensured participants had lived through each experience before submitting their responses. Participants who didn’t experience a certain action or scenario were excluded from the analysis.
The results shown in this study solely rely on self-reporting. Issues paired with self-reported data include but are not limited to: honesty, stereotypes, exaggeration, and response bias. Statistical testing was not performed on the results of this study. Future research around the topic of sleepovers during the honeymoon of a relationship should be explored in a more rigorous manner.
Fair Use Statement
If you intend on sharing this content with your audience (or someone about to have their first romantic sleepover), feel free to do so. Don’t doze off too quickly, and be sure to provide a link back to this page so that our contributors receive credit for the study.
Growing up in the City That Never Sleeps, she learned the hard way how important a good night of rest really is. She’s made it her mission to help others realize the same. On any given day, you’ll find Alesandra in our Mattress Lab testing the latest mattress models, interviewing specialists on the importance of sleep, or curating the most helpful content for our readers. Alesandra’s been featured in Business Insider, USA Today, MarketWatch, Elite Daily and the NY Post for her perspectives on sleep health.
Education & Credentials
- Certified Sleep Science Coach
- “What Happens if You Hold in Farts?”. Hackensack Meridian Health. 2023.
- “Choosing the Best Sleep Position”. Johns Hopkins Medicine. Webpage accessed February 8, 2024.