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What is the Scandinavian sleep method, and how can it help you sleep better?

 A couple share a bed together.
A couple share a bed together.

Sharing a bed is a common choice for couples, but let's be honest: it isn't always a good choice. There you are, tucked up on the best mattress, cozy in your bedding, when your partner climbs into bed and suddenly you're left fighting for a corner of the quilt. This bedtime discordance is why more and more people are choosing the Scandinavian sleep method.

But what is the Scandi sleeping method? It's essentially just using separate covers for each person in the bed. For example, in the US, that might be two comforters, or for UK readers, two single duvets rather than one big double or UK king. It's a kind of halfway house for those who don't want to commit to complete sleep divorce.

"This can be really helpful where one of the couple is more restless during the night than the other, or where each of the people have different temperature requirements during the night," explains Dr Lindsay Browning, sleep expert at Trouble Sleeping.

Think dual duvets might be the right choice for your sleep harmony? In this guide, we'll explore the pros and cons of the Scandinavian sleep method, plus some tips for making it work for you.

What is the Scandinavian sleep method?

The Scandinavian sleep method is when two people share a bed but both have their own separate, individual cover (such as a comforter, quilt, duvet, etc.) Instead of fighting over a shared top sheet and one cover, this method of dividing bedding allows each person to personalize their sleep setup, so they're less likely to disturb their bed partner.

A couple lie on a bed smiling and cuddling each other
A couple lie on a bed smiling and cuddling each other

It's known as the Scandinavian sleep method because, well, that's where it comes from. But thanks to TikTok, it's now made it's way around the world, with couples all over feeling the benefit of this unusual sleep hack.

Why do Scandinavians sleep with two duvets?

The Scandi sleeping method is designed to help couples sleep happier while sharing a bed. Because each person has a cover to themselves, they can get comfortable in the way that suits them, while still feeling the benefits of sharing a bed with someone they care about.

There are many people who can benefit from this half-divided / half-together method of sleeping, as Lindsay explains. "I often recommend this to partners where they struggle to share a bed because one wants the room hotter or colder than the other, or one partner disturbs the sleep of the other by moving the duvet or even stealing it altogether."

"This technique may be especially helpful for couples where one partner is going through the menopause, where temperature regulation during the night may be especially difficult or problematic," says Lindsay.

A couple sit cuddling on a bed wrapped in a blanket
A couple sit cuddling on a bed wrapped in a blanket

Sleeping with two covers can help matters, but it isn't a perfect fix if you share a bed with someone who has a different sleep chronotype. However, it does mean that when your night owl partner crawls into bed a few hours before your early bird wake-up time, you won't be shocked awake by your cozy bedding suddenly disappearing.

Advantages of the Scandi sleep method

Considering giving the Scandi method a go? Here are some compelling reasons why you should.

1. You can personalize your own sleep experience

You prefer to be tucked up in a blanket burrito, your partner wants the sheets kicked to the end of the bed. You feel the cold, they like a brisk breeze. You love your partner, but you're not necessarily head-over-heels for their sleep style.

But with the Scandi method, you don't have to compromise your sleep comfort when you share a bed. "If one partner would prefer a warmer sleeping environment then they can use a thicker tog duvet compared to their partner," explains Lindsay. "Also, if one person gets too hot, they can easily remove their duvet without disturbing the other person, and put it back on when they get too cold."

2. There’s less disruption from a restless partner

If you're sharing with a restless partner, you might find yourself getting seasick from how often they toss and turn. Separate bedding means you won't be quite so disturbed when they get up in the middle of the night, nor do you have to worry about being left in the cold when they switch sleep position and take all the sheets with them.

A woman wearing a sleep mask lies in bed
A woman wearing a sleep mask lies in bed

The best memory foam mattresses are also good at limiting motion transfer, so keep that in mind if you feel a bouncy bed is leading to arguments in the morning. A motion isolating memory foam combined with your own bedding might be just what your sleep needs.

3. You can still feel the benefits of bed sharing

Research has shown that sleeping next to a partner does have its benefits, even if they do drive you nuts sometimes. With the Scandi sleeping method, you can limit the disruptions of bed sharing while still enjoying the flow of oxytocin – otherwise known as the cuddle hormone – that we get when we spend time with someone we love.

4. It’s less extreme than sleep divorce

Sleep divorce refers to when two people in a relationship decide to sleep in different beds, and sometimes even in different rooms. Sleep divorce does have its benefits – especially if you’ve found your partner’s snoring is keeping you awake – as it allows you to truly personalize your sleep.

But sleep divorce isn't an option for everyone. You need a certain amount of space, and if you're not already kitted out with a spare room setup, it can be a pricey choice, too. Even the best cheap mattress can set you back when you have to buy two. In comparison, new bedding or even one of the best duvets is only a small investment (especially as we recommend picking an individual size if you're making the bed Scandi-style).

Disadvantages of the Scandinavian sleep method

There are definite benefits to the Scandi sleep method, but it isn't without its flaws. Before you throw away your two-person bedding, make sure to consider these factors:

1. It's more difficult to make the bed

Very few people actually enjoy making the bed, and when you pick the Scandinavian sleep method, you’re giving yourself twice the work. The easiest way to do it is to let half the cover pool over the side of the bed and then fold it back on itself, but it’s still a frustration. If you do go for the Scandi sleeping method, you might be happy to know experts don’t recommend you make the bed right away. So, you can enjoy a coffee before you tackle engineering the bedding.

2. Harder to cuddle

When you turn over to give your partner a quick hug in the middle of the night, you might find yourself with an armful of bedding instead. Alternatively, you might be left in the cold, as one twin comforter won’t be enough to cover you both.

It's best to get your cuddling in before you go to bed. And if you don't make time for each other in your evening routine, you might find the Scani sleep method has a negative effect on intimacy.

A couple sleep in a bed wearing eye masks
A couple sleep in a bed wearing eye masks

3. It can make the bed look messy

It's not always hard to make the best using the Scandinavian method – sometimes it's just hard to make the bed look good. Mismatched bedding creates an obvious contrast between their side and your side, meaning it can look a bit of a mess.

But Lindsay does have a tip for this: think 'coordination'. "If you choose bedlinen that is the same pattern and colour, then no one will know they are two individual duvets instead of one shared double."

Tips for using the Scandinavian sleep method

Getting started with the Scandinavaian sleep method doesn't have to be difficult. All you really need are two sets of bedding: one for your side of the bed, and one for your partners. Here are some tips to make it work for you:

Choose bedding that suits your sleep style
The Scandinavian method allows you to personalize your sleep set-up, so it's worth investing in some new bedding, rather than dragging your spare comforter into the main bedroom. If you sleep hot while your partner wakes up feeling the chill, this is your opportunity to invest in something that actually meets your needs.

Ditch the top sheet
Making the bed with two top sheets is too much work to deal with first thing in the morning. But if you go for one top sheet, it sort of defeats the point of separate bedding. For ease, just leave it off altogether.

A woman in her bedroom, tidying sheets by the bed
A woman in her bedroom, tidying sheets by the bed

Don't overcomplicate your bedding
Making your bed Scandi-style already requires a little more effort, so it's best not to add to that. As much as we love a decorative pillow, it's a hassle you probably don't want to deal with in the morning.

Finish with a blanket
This might seem to directly contradict the tip above, but if you like a polished bedroom, this is an easy way to go about it. Draping a lightweight blanket on top of the bed helps cover that awkward line down the middle, and it's easy to remove before going to sleep.

Be aware it won't fix everything
The Scandinavian sleep method can potentially help you sleep, but it's not a guaranteed fix if you think your partner is keeping you awake. For a start, if you sleep next to a heavy snorer, separate bedding can't stop you being jolted awake at 3am by a sudden loud snore.

It's important not to assume that if you try the Scandi method that all your sleep problems will go away. With that said, it can help. And as it's easy to do, you might want to give this sleep hack a go if you're tired of late night tug-of-war over the sheets.