The stigma about separate beds

I’m a doona hog. I know it. I also talk, kick, snore and drool in my sleep, so bed-sharing isn’t always the most appealing option, especially for my partner. But like many people, the stigma of sleeping in separate beds makes the decision all the harder. But despite the stigma, a sleep divorce may just be the best thing for your relationship and sex life.

Phyllis Zee, director of the Sleep Disorders Centre at Chicago’s Northwestern Memorial Hospital, told The Huffington Post that while getting good quality sleep is important for relationships, bed-sharing isn’t a necessity.

There are a number of reasons people may choose to sleep in separate beds or even have their own bedrooms. Sleep disorders such as insomnia or sleep apnoea, different sleep schedules, snoring, tossing and turning and blanket theft are common reasons some couples opt to sleep separately.

Katie VanVleet, who sleeps separately from her husband of 15 years, told The Huffington Post that “this is what works for us. It doesn’t mean we don’t love each other or aren’t intimate … he still gives me butterflies.”

Sheryl Perez said: “We have been married for 16 years and love each other more than we ever thought possible. Both in our 60s and loving the liberation!”

Many other couples say they still cuddle at night or in the morning, bed hopping to their heart’s content.

Other couples reported a decrease in bickering and their relationship strengthening since they began sleeping separately. According to Ecosa, sleep deprivation makes people more selfish, encouraging more grumbling and disagreements the morning after a bad sleep.

It may be far more common than you’d suspect. One quarter of couples sleep separately and 34 per cent of these couples say they are having better and more regular sex than before the transition to solo beds. The same study also suggested that scheduling time for intimacy – a popular strategy among the sleep-divorced – may be the best way to maintaining a good sex life.

So, with all the benefits of solo sleeping, why is there still a stigma around it? Do you share your bed or enjoy sleeping separately? How has it affected your life and relationship?

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Written by Liv Gardiner

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