Many of us are conditioned into thinking that couples should sleep in the same bed—and if you’re sleeping apart, something’s wrong in the relationship. But as a recent piece in the New York Times explores, the tide is shifting. More and more couples are choosing to sleep apart for more comfort, less aggravation, and better sleep. Sometimes it’s hard for a night owl and an early bird to sleep together in peace. So why force it? And if both parties are on board with sleeping apart, it should be a good thing. Science makes a case for the change as well.
A recent study of couples discovered that when both partners got fewer than seven hours of sleep, they acted with more hostility toward one another and showed signs of increased inflammation in blood tests. That’s scary enough, but perhaps the biggest fear is that sleeping apart could kill the romance. But, as research shows, if you aren’t getting enough sleep because of your partner’s snoring, you’re more stressed, and your health can take a nosedive. Seems like a conundrum, but it doesn’t have to be that difficult, says Jessa Zimmerman, couples and sex therapist and author of, “Sex Without Stress.”
“Couples shouldn’t feel pressured to conform to the expectation of sleeping together, if they have different sleep schedules or preferences that don’t coincide with their mate,” Zimmerman says. “In that case, separate bedrooms can be a huge boost to their well-being and help avoid tension in their relationship.”
But what about “alone time,” you wonder?
Make sure you’re still spending time together in the evenings,” Zimmerman suggests. “Snuggle up in one bed before you fall asleep.” As long as you’re not using sleeping apart as an excuse to avoid intimacy, it might be the best thing that happened to your relationship, she says. Just make sure you don’t fight over who gets the better bed.