Do you think that if a couple sleeps in separate beds their relationship must be in dire trouble? Apparently not. Studies by the National Sleep Foundation found that 25% of couples sleep in separate beds and even different rooms. The National Association of Home Builders says its members are receiving more requests for dual master bedrooms and suites.
So would you consider sleeping apart if it meant you could be happier, better rested, and ready to face the world every morning?
Sleeping Apart Can Be Good For You
Sleeping apart can actually be good for your health and good for your relationship. Sleep deprivation, poor quality sleep, and insomnia are the cause of ill health, both mental and physical. It also leads to instability in relationships and problems with parenting.
Over the last decade or so, individuals have woken up (sorry) to the fact that their quality of sleep is paramount to their performance at work and to their overall well-being. We are no longer happy to accept sub-standard levels of sleep.
Relationships improve once people make the decision to split up their sleeping arrangements as morning grumpiness is alleviated; there’s no reason to blame the other for your bad night’s sleep. Also, if one half of the couple likes to read or watch TV into the early hours, but the other likes to be snoozling by 10 pm and up at 6 am, they can do so without disturbing each other.
Sleeping in Separate Rooms Is Not New
My grandparents, both sets, slept apart. My maternal grandparents slept in twin beds in the same room for years because my grandmother was so slightly built that she would roll onto my grandfather’s back. Later his snoring became so much of a problem she sent him off to the spare room.
My paternal grandparents slept at separate addresses, even though they never actually split up. It was a case of practicalities. They each had health issues and so my grandma was cared for by her daughter, my aunt. My granddad lived with his brother and sister and they all looked after each other.
What About the Social Stigma?
It’s certainly true that people will look at you slightly askance if you admit to sleeping separately. Yet some couples say it has enabled them to stay together — look how many say that their partner’s snoring was the cause of their breakup. When you are in separate rooms, perhaps with some soundproofing, it’s no longer an issue. Many, women, in particular, say they would love to get a decent night’s sleep away from their restless partner.
Anyway, remember that your private sleeping arrangements are no one’s business but your own.
Sleeping Apart Is Romantic
While we all enjoy our snuggles with our partners, actually sleeping through the night is another thing. Hence it’s fun to sneak into each other’s room for romance, or plan ‘bed dates.’ Then it’s so relaxing to go back to your own room and snooze peacefully – all night.
No one pulling the duvet off you, or keeping you awake with impossibly loud snoring. My own fault is that I chatter in my sleep, often loudly, telling my dog to ‘Stay!’ in my dreams. At that time, we didn’t even have a dog. Not good when my partner has to get up for work at 4 am.
Varying schedules can cause havoc with sleeping patterns. Being woken by your hubby stumbling around the bedroom in the early hours, while you’ve still got at least another three hours of blissful oblivion left is a total pain. Especially if blissful oblivion quickly recedes into ‘it’s never gonna happen, so you may as well get up.’
Personally, I often find that when I can’t sleep and my mind is busy, it’s the best time to get creative. So I grab my notebook and laptop and use the time to write. It’s the best way for me to download my thoughts and eventually slide into a deep sleep. I couldn’t do that if I had to consider the poor man next to me who has to get up so early.
Separate Beds? How About Separate Homes?
Living apart together (LAT) is a fairly new phenomenon, which means my grandparents must have been ahead of their time. Science Daily reports that it’s mainly older couples who choose this way of life. So what is LAT exactly? In short, it means that a couple, even a married couple, maintains separate homes. There are various reasons:
- Some say they enjoy their independence too much to give it up and say that it keeps them interested in each other because they always have things to talk about.
- Others have said that they want to commit to a relationship but they don’t want to have to deal with all the domestic arrangements that seem to increase (at least for one partner) when two people move in together. So they opt to keep their own homes.
- It means that they split their time in whatever way suits them. Perhaps one partner will visit the other for dinner. Or perhaps they’ll ‘move in together on weekends. Perhaps they spend half the week together and then ‘split up’ for the rest.
However they do it, it means that they can avoid the daily boredom of domesticity that is often a relationship killer. Thus, when they do get together they can focus on each other and their relationship. Isaiah McKinney of ‘Body and Soul’ says, “Without any independence, we can become codependent and resentful of the relationship. Having our own downtime allows us to maintain our own sense of self.”
Flexibility in Living Arrangements
One thing that is becoming clear is that couple dynamics are changing radically and that just because a way of life is traditional and widely accepted, it doesn’t mean we all have to follow it. Our lives are so different from those of our forebears that we have to make relationships work in the best way for ourselves, our partners and our families.