(Health Secrets) It may surprise you to learn that 1 in 4 American couples sleep apart and 40% of UK couples sleep in separate beds. If you and your sleep partner have been thinking of sleeping apart, it may be one of the best things you can do for your relationship and your health.
Sleeping in the same bed wasn’t common for couples until the Industrial Revolution when living space became limited. In Rome, the marriage bed was for lovemaking, not sleeping. Afterward, couples would not only retire to separate beds but separate chambers for a night of delicious, refreshing sleep.
Should you and your sleep partner try it too?
Common Reasons Couples Sleep Separately
Millions of people saw logs all night long, resting in blissful oblivion while their partner tosses and turns. Earplugs and nasal strips can act as a temporary fix but if your sleep partner is a real lumberjack, resting comfortably may be next to impossible.
- Temperature Preferences
You love to sleep snuggled under three blankets, your sleep partner complains he’s roasting to death. Neither of you can get comfortable so you toss, turn, and kick your way through miserable nights.
When one partner suffers from insomnia, the other often does too despite their best intentions. The tossing, turning, and getting up all night long can make even the soundest sleeper wake up with an urge to chuck a pillow at the one they love.
- Sensory Issues
People with sensory processing disorders like Asperger’s syndrome may find sleeping next to a partner intolerable, especially if snoring or insomnia is an issue. Sensory processing difficulties can cause an increase in anxiety as well as sensitivity to temperature changes and movement which might make getting necessary rest impossible. Furthermore, those with neurological conditions often need as much deep, uninterrupted sleep as possible to avoid further complications from their condition.
- Schedule Differences
If she likes to stay up and watch television into the wee hours but you need a quiet, darkened room to get to sleep, sleeping together may cause more arguments than it prevents.
The Health Benefits of Sleeping in Separate Beds
- Less Fighting
When you don’t get enough sleep, your body produces too much of a fight-or-fight hormone called cortisol. This leads to restlessness, irritability, and anxiety that can make even the most everyday annoyances seem unbearable. When both of you get enough rest each night, you’re less liable to snap at each other over the little things.
- Better Sex
Let’s face it, who wants to make love on only two hours of sleep? The more anxious you feel the less interested you are in your partner romantically. After all, he or she is the reason your night is filled with fleeting moments of dreams interrupted by an elbow to the ribs or an ear-shattering snore. The better sleep you get, the more amorous you’ll feel!
- Reduced Anxiety
Continuous sleep deprivation can lead to anxiety attacks, mania, and even paranoid thinking. The more of the stress hormone cortisol pumping through your body, the more anxious you’ll be. The more anxious you are, the more difficult it will be for you to sleep. Add this to your partner’s incompatible sleep patterns and it’s a recipe for disaster.
- Improved Immunity
Studies have shown that sleeping less than six hours per night can have devastating effects on your immune system. Without quality sleep, the activity of hundreds of genes in your body becomes skewed, leading to increase susceptibility to chronic disease.
- Better Heart Health
If you already have high blood pressure just one night of poor sleep can elevate it even further. Chronic sleep deprivation increases inflammation and can lead to the development of heart disease.
Alternatives to Sleeping Apart
If you can’t get used to the idea of sleeping in twin beds because you think it makes your bedroom look like a dorm, you have other options. Investing in a king headboard with two twin beds pushed together gives the illusion of a uniform look with two separate sleep spaces so you won’t feel each other move. Adjustable double-mattress beds may be costly but making the investment may mean the difference between a good night’s sleep and a poor one.
If your partner has difficulty falling asleep without you in the bed, you can retire together and cuddle until she falls asleep. Then, move on to your own bed or room for a comfortable night’s sleep. It may seem unconventional to sleep apart, as if it’s a sign your relationship is in trouble, but studies have shown that couples who sleep apart may have a better chance of staying together!