Sleeping in separate beds is thought by many to be a relationship disaster, but then there are those that swear by it, like my grandparents who have been married for 60+ years. Sleeping with your spouse or partner can get annoying at times if he/she snores, talks in their sleep, moves a lot etc. Then, if you try to go about it separately, you may find that you can’t sleep as well either. Though, even if you do sleep better in separate beds, does that mean it is still the best thing to do?
Well, of course, everybody is different. A great example is my wife and I. She can’t sleep without me in the bed. When I go on a fishing trip for a few days, I never hear the end of it, from the first night I’m not there until I get back. All I hear is how awful she slept while I’ve been gone. Me, on the other hand, I can sleep well with or without my wife in the bed. It never has really made a difference in how I sleep, but don’t get the wrong idea. I love having my wife next to me while I sleep. ☺
Yet, believe it or not, it is not all about preference because there are some things going on while you sleep that you may not know about. Let us take a look at a few things and maybe you can figure out which option is best for you and your spouse/partner.
The University of Pittsburgh did a study and found that the majority of couples who sleep in the same bed are less likely to wake up during the night, and that it helped reduce the levels of the stress hormone called cortisol. Cortisol is what controls stress and anxiety which later in life can play a major role in your health.
Assistant professor Wendy Troxel also found that co-sleeping can increase a hormone called oxytocin which is related to “feel-good” feelings and bonding. Naturally, as you would probably guess, this hormone is important in our sex lives and relationships.
Sleeping in Separate Beds
There are no actual studies, that I can find anyway, which say sleeping separately will increase or decrease something health related. Yet, it is fairly self-explanatory that if you and your partner can sleep better in different rooms or beds then the major concern is getting fixed; you both are getting better sleep!
Sleeping affects who you are and how you feel overall. If you are not getting the proper sleep you need, then things are not going to go well for your health or relationship wise either.
What Should You Do or Try?
If you and your spouse/partner can do it, sleeping in the same bed is recommended. Sleeping in separate beds over long periods of time has been linked to relationship problems. Dr. Williams Sears, leader of the “attachment parenting” movement says “sleep together if you can, choose separate bedrooms if you must. Either way, make cuddling and sex a top priority. Your marriage depends on it.” Again, it all depends on the couple, but if you are worried that sleeping separately could cause problems later, then it is best to try to keep the sleep bond going. And with a little effort, you more than likely can. Here are some pointers:
Snoring – Snoring, more often than not is caused by being overweight. Do yourself a favor and start an exercise plan and diet. This will not only help the snoring, but your overall health. If you are still snoring, tell your doctor.
Being Comfortable – Temperature, mattress, and environment are keys to a good night’s sleep. The optimal temperature for sleeping is 65 degrees. Invest in a good mattress. Yes, they are expensive, but well worth it when a 1/3 of your life is spent in the bed. Lastly, your bed room environment matters. The bedroom needs to be free of clutter and look and feel relaxing. You would be amazed what a little cleaning can do for your sleep.
Schedule – Both of you should try to go to bed around the same time. Compromise is key here. I know this first-hand. I am a night owl. My wife is not. Many nights I will go to bed with her at 9 pm so she can go to sleep easier and be happy. Then on other nights she will stay up later for me. Not going to bed at the same time can cause some short-tempered moments when you are waking the other up by going to bed later.
There are many other tips to sleeping well that you and your partner can try. These can be found all over the internet, but most importantly with some adjustments you both can reap the benefits of good sleep and intimacy again. When you choose to sleep in separate beds, it could be the start of losing that personal connection you both have. I’m not saying it is that way with everybody, but studies do show that if you can sleep well together, that you are also getting the hormonal benefits that you can’t get alone.
[About the author: Aaron Stevenson is a public educator, health freak, and founder of Snooze EZ. A go-to-source for many sleep related topics.]