Does the Scandinavian sleep method work? We put it to the test.

Does the Scandinavian sleep method work? We put it to the test.

There are plenty of Scandinavian exports worth embracing: saunas, Lego, Dansk crockery, Billy bookcases, Kransekake, Marimekko, etc. So when Scandinavian sleep techniques started popping up all over social media, I took notice.

The idea: Two people share a bed, but use separate covers. The promise: better sleep. This bedding arrangement is popular in other European countries, too. On a trip to Paris a few years ago, the bed in our hotel room came with two blankets and top sheets.

But does it work? And how do you make a bed with two blankets? We put it to the test. We gave five couples two twin-sized down alternative comforters each to try this method for a week. Here's what they said:

Typical sleeping arrangement: One queen-size bed with flat sheet, blanket, and comforter.

problem: Tester 1's husband accuses her of constantly stealing sheets, but she thinks the main problem is that our beds are different temperatures: “I'm like a nuclear reactor when I sleep, and my husband's a block of ice,” she says. Either way, someone always seems to be cheaping out on the comforter or tossing and turning.

How to conduct the test: No flat sheets or blankets were used, just a separate comforter.

experience: She likes to stick her feet and legs out from under the covers when she gets hot, and having separate covers means she can do it on both sides instead of just one. Another plus: Having an extra cover to lounge in bed on the weekends is nice. “Having the whole bed and both the duvet to do a crossword puzzle was a real luxury,” she says. Husbands loved being able to turn and move around in bed without bothering their wives.

Bed-making issues: This wasn't an issue as they normally don't make the beds. “I don't blame people who are prepared enough to make their bed in the morning, but we usually leave our bedding in a disorganized state and tend to tuck tangled sheets into a more tidy mess before we go to sleep, rather than when we wake up,” she says.

verdict: The solution worked well and she may implement it again in the future. “My only concern is that I have too much bedding and if I buy more, it will be difficult to store,” she says. “But I think it's more comfortable, and if I see a twin-size comforter on sale in the near future, I'll likely buy a new one.”

Typical sleeping arrangement: One queen-size bed with top sheet and duvet.

problem: Tester 2 and her husband often have different bedtimes, and many nights one of them has to get up to help with the toddler, which can disrupt her sleep. She also has issues with blanket sharing, she says. “One of us (me) has been described as a blanket hog, which means the other sleeps crouching over the shared blanket to secure it.”

How to conduct the test: We started out sleeping on the two twin duvets provided, but my husband didn't like the feel so we swapped it for a twin quilt, and my wife realized she preferred a bigger blanket so we swapped it for a queen quilt, keeping the queen flat sheet.

experience: For this couple, the test worked; even their disagreement over the blankets ultimately worked to their advantage. “Being able to each search out a blanket with the texture and warmth we liked was a better idea than sharing a quilt,” she says. “It's nice that we each have our own quilt and can sleep more peacefully.”

Bed-making issues: They don't make their beds every day, but try to do it when they have time. I got one twin quilt for him and one queen quilt for her, so that helped. During the day, I made the bed with the queen cover and folded the twin cover over the bottom of the bed.

verdict: Families said the arrangement is a big improvement over their previous blanket-sharing situation and that they plan to continue using it.

Typical sleeping arrangement: Queen size bed with top sheet and comforter.

problem: Tester 3 said that her husband sometimes overslept, but she was a bad sleeper and would wake up as soon as he turned over in his sleep.

How to conduct the test: They used twin size comforters and no flat sheets.

experience: One night, her husband would toss and turn in his sleep, and another night, he would get up repeatedly to go to the bathroom, which didn't bother her. But she says she's grown accustomed to his restlessness, so it might not have bothered her if they'd shared the blanket. She liked being able to put her feet out from under the blanket on either side, but it did have its drawbacks, like getting too hot. “I think the extra blanket would end up on one of us during the night,” she says.

Bed-making issues: I folded the twin size comforters lengthwise and placed them side by side to make the bed look neater.

verdict: They plan to keep their original bedding arrangement: “Switching to double blankets probably wouldn't have had a positive effect,” she says. She also prefers a neatly made bed, another drawback of the Scandinavian style.

Typical sleeping arrangement: One king-size bed with flat sheet, blanket, and duvet.

problem: Tester 4 likes her blanket wrapped snugly around her body, but her husband has trouble getting it wrapped around his sides, which can lead to uneven blanket placement. Because his isn't wrapped around her, she claims it ends up pooling underneath, giving the impression he's stolen something when he hasn't. He acknowledges this possibility: “I think I kick the blanket away and overcover myself in an attempt to recover (laughs),” he says. “Then the tug of war begins when I'm sleepy.”

How to conduct the test: They used the two twin size duvets provided and pulled out the old twin size top sheets they had used when the kids were little, and put on completely separate covers.

experience: The test eliminated the duvet-stealing issue, and she reports that she is less conscious of the times her husband gets in and out of bed (he goes to bed later and wakes up earlier than she does). “You can't steal someone's duvet unless something really bad happens,” her husband says. “I don't see anything particularly bad about it. It's a happy medium between the freedom of separate beds and the traditional method, which doesn't work for a lot of people.” It didn't solve her husband's problem with keeping the duvet neat and tidy, though; sometimes he'd wake up with just the duvet and no top sheet to find. She's glad he can no longer blame her for this problem. Overall, her sleep quality has improved.

Bed-making issues: This wasn't an issue as they normally don't make the beds.

verdict: For now they are back to their usual bedding, but we may switch in the future if we find something they like better.

Typical sleeping arrangement: Queen bed with flat sheet, blanket and comforter.

problem: Tester 5 said that her and her partner's duvets sometimes come off, but overall, she doesn't have a problem sharing a duvet: Because she sleeps “warm,” she prefers a cool room with a fan pointed at her, and often wakes up with just the sheets covering her.

How to conduct the test: At first I only provided a comforter, but it felt lonely without a top sheet, so after a week I put back the queen-size shared sheet.

experience: During the experiment, they slept well but didn't notice much difference between sharing and sleeping separately. “We both already had comforters that we liked pretty well, and we both like to have a flat sheet between the comforter and us,” she says. After a few nights, they added an extra sheet and blanket for their cool-sleeping partner; then after a week, they put the queen-size top sheet back in. Overall, they didn't notice much difference between sleeping under two comforters, likely because they didn't have trouble sharing the covers.

Bed-making issues: Fewer covers make the bed easier, but it looks noticeably less cluttered, she says. When her parents come over, she drapes her regular duvet over the bed for a cleaner look.

verdict: The couple wasn't too pleased with the results and went back to their normal sleep routine: “I guess this is fine when you're traveling… but when you're at home there's not much benefit,” she says.

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