While laying by your partner and cuddling at night may make you feel closer, sharing the same bed could be negatively impacting your sleep. If one of you snores or tosses and turns throughout the night, it’s likely waking the other one up — preventing both of you from getting a good night’s sleep.
The norm these days is for a couple to share a bed — because there is intimacy in sleeping together — and not sharing a bed can sometimes be viewed as an indicator that there is trouble in paradise. As The Huffington Post so beautifully states: “Sleeping together in a double bed is a cultural indicator that you’re in love.”
But what if you’re in love but also desperately need to sleep through the night? Consistently being woken up throughout the night could be impacting your mood, which isn’t good for your relationship if you’re always feeling miserable or cranky. Truth be told, it may be considered admirable, or even highly evolved, that certain couples can happily admit to sleeping apart. Sometimes, having your own space (especially when it comes to sleep) can be good for your relationship.
It sounds much better than being miserable and sleep deprived, doesn’t it? Plus, there’s solid research to back up that sleeping with your partner next to you may actually be bad for your health.
Sleep specialist Dr. Neil Stanley, head of one of Britain’s leading sleep labs, told the British Science Festival that while couples believed that they slept better with their partner, contrary evidence proves that couples suffer 50% more sleep disturbances if they share a bed. Additionally, your lousy night’s sleep can be linked to depression, heart disease, strokes, traffic accidents (from lack of sleep), and even divorce. Stanley adds that couples sharing beds wasn’t even common until the Industrial Revolution, when people who moved to overcrowded cities and towns shared small living spaces, thus forcing them to share a bed. In Ancient Rome, for example, the marital bed was for one thing only — and it wasn’t sleeping.
Sleeping in the same bed may not be essential to maintaining a happy and healthy relationship, but any couple who decides to sleep separately should monitor how it may be impacting things — and address any issues that arise quickly. It can be very good for your relationship — you both get the space and sleep you need to function and be happy. And it seems that more and more couples are coming around to that way of thinking: According to the National Sleep Foundation in the U.S., couples sleeping separately rose from 12% in 2001 to 23% in 2005.
There are many couples who have no problem sleeping in the same bed, but if you find that you’re regularly struggling to fall asleep with your partner next to you, maybe it’s time to consider separate beds. Don’t let conventional wisdom dictate what you can or can’t do in your relationship. You know what’s bad for your relationship? Not getting the good night’s sleep you need.