Whenever a couple comes to me looking to be proactive about their relationship (aka they’re doing just fine, but they want to make some small improvements), I always ask them about what their night time routines look like.
Inevitably, the usual suspects are mentioned…
They brush their teeth, climb into bed around a similar time, read books and/or scroll through their cell phones, they give each other a quick peck on the lips and they fall asleep.
What we do in bed at night has such a far reaching effect on the rest of our relationship. Adapt some of these small behaviours and you’ll have a more deeply connected and fulfilling relationship in no time.
Here are seven bedtime routines for greater intimacy in your relationship.
1. Phones away
Not only is having zero electronic light in your bedroom fantastic for your sleep hygiene, it’s also great for your relationship.
I know how addictive the dopamine drip of social media can be, but staring at that blue light right before bed is bad news for your love life.
(And seriously… having zero electronic light in your bedroom works wonders for the quality of sleep that you’ll be able to get when you switch to candles-only).
Turn your phones off, light a candle or two, and prioritize your connection with your partner for just a few minutes before you doze off.
What should you do with those extra minutes? Read on…
2. Sleep naked
Sleeping naked has proven health benefits (it regulates cortisol, better for men’s and women’s genital health, better for your skin, etc.) and it also allows you and your partner to have more skin on skin contact, resulting in more oxytocin release.
Your body benefits, your quality of sleep benefits, and your cuddling ability is boosted.
Plus, morning sex is that much easier when you both wake up naked! Being naked is where it’s at.
3. Extended cuddling
It’s been proven that extended cuddling releases large hits of oxytocin (aka the cuddle hormone/the love hormone).
Some people say that reading a book, or scrolling through their Facebook feed makes them drowsy before bed. Well, guess what? Cuddling does that even better than reading, plus it re-connects you with your partner physically and emotionally before you pass out.
Bring back the cuddles!
Speaking of touch, sometimes you want lots of it.
Maybe you had a rough day. Maybe someone yelled at you (because they were hurting). Maybe your shoulders are sore from trying out a new kind of kick-boxing class that you did earlier in the day.
Whatever your reasons are for wanting to receive or give more touch, massage is a great tool for both connection and relaxation.
You don’t need to have taken a class or be masterful at it to give your partner a rub down… just use your words to ask them if they want it harder/softer/gentler/etc. and you’ll be on your way to sleepy town in no time.
Whether it’s in your thoughts or in your words, criticism kills relationships. So what’s the opposite of criticism? Gratitude.
Take turns with your partner telling each other what you love about one another. You could say how grateful you are about something that they are, or that they do, or that they bring to your life… or you could mention how grateful you are about something that they did on that specific day. The choice is yours.
Gratitude exercises (anytime of day, but especially at night) make you feel all warm and fuzzy and remind you that, “Oh yeah, my significant other is amazing!”
6. Mutual recognition
Try this one on for size…
Before you go to sleep, ask your partner, “Is there anything that you did today that you don’t feel like you were fully recognized for?”
Let them answer, and then recognize them for that. Then, switch roles.
So it might play out like this between you and your partner…
You: “My little baby-sugarplum-fairy, was there anything that you did today that you don’t feel like you were fully recognized for?”
Your partner: “Actually yes, sugar-butt. I listened to my uncle ramble on about his health problems on the phone for over an hour, and then he abruptly ended the phone call. It was really draining and not fun at all. And then I felt like I had wasted an hour.”
You: “That totally makes sense. Anyone would feel under-appreciated to have someone talk their ear off about their issues for an hour and then end the call abruptly without thanking them for their time. My little baby-sugarplum-fairy, I honour and recognize you for taking the time out of your day to be such a good niece to your uncle. You are a very generous and kind-hearted person and everyone who knows you undoubtedly benefits from your loving and patient energy.”
(Side-note: you guys have weird nicknames for each other. What’s up with that?)
7. Have sex
One of the best ways that you can re-connect as a couple at night? Having sex.
By having sex I don’t just mean penetration. Sex comes in many forms, and it will totally depend on you and your partners moods day to day. But I am a strong advocate of engaging with each other sexually/intimately to some degree on a nightly basis.
Maybe you make out for a while while touching each other’s butts. Maybe you hold each other’s face in your hands and list off five things that you love about each other. Maybe one or both of you gets a spoiling session. Maybe you engage in oral and penetrative sex for multiple hours in a cyclical, non-linear fashion where you both climax multiple times. The options are limitless!
Every day, we spend hours on our careers, our physical health, and the random chores that pile up in our lives. If we even dedicated 30-60 minutes of our days to our relational health before we go to sleep, I am positive that it would have a positive upward spiral effect in the rest of our lives as well.
Whether you start with one or all of the above tips is up to you and your partner.
Now, off to bed!
Dedicated to your success,
Ps. If you liked this post, you might also want to check out:
10 Questions To Ask To Go Deep In Your Relationship
6 Connection Exercises For Couples To Build Intimacy