My parents always run my ear off about how the world has changed since they were kids. They always show me ancient episodes of the I Love Lucy Show, or reruns of other 1950s classics, as they reminisce on the good old days. If you have ever seen a show from the 50s, then you have surely witnessed couples sleeping in separate beds or even in different rooms altogether. As the age of television was still in its infancy, producers chose to be conservative. Back then, showing or suggesting intimacy openly was just not done.
Fast forward to 2017, where not only are people considerably less shocked over a variety of acceptable behaviours in a modern society, but some are going back to some old tried-and-true behaviours. Recent studies show that more and more couples are sleeping in separate beds and many in separate rooms! No, it’s not the end of intimacy or procreation, but a desire to sleep comfortably and for some, that means sleeping completely undisturbed.
I just can’t do it! Falling asleep cuddling each other, and waking up face to face doesn’t work for everyone. I get too hot, or too cold in many instances, and I am an exaggerated sprawler. But guess what, there are some serious benefits to sleeping alone!
Follow along as I outline some of the issues of sleeping with someone else, and the benefits of sleeping solo:
1) Silence: If you or your partner snore, or have a chronic cough or are a heavy breather, one of you is not getting a good night’s sleep. Getting to sleep in your own room will instantly improve your sleep experience when noise is an issue.
2) Schedules: Whether either of you have a contrasting body clock, or shift work gets in the way of an undisturbed sleep, claim your own bedroom elsewhere! Night owls and early birds could be madly in love but when it comes to sleep, disaster could follow.
3) Stretch to your heart’s content: Being able to sleep in whatever position that helps you sleep comfortably can be like a gift from the gods! Imagine sleeping like you’re skydiving – all limbs outstretched and relaxed. In yoga, the last restorative pose to completely let go is called corpse pose where you drop comfortably deep into the mat with your arms and legs stretched with no one around for miles! Now, that’s a way to sleep.
4) Odours: Imagine you or your partner just love that comfy t-shirt that no matter how many times it’s washed, it smells like last year’s barbeque, and nausea swiftly follows. Just when you should be smelling aromas like lavender, you get a whiff of stale food odours! Additionally, if some bodily functions are released during the night, your nose will get further offended.
5) Temperature: If you like it cooler and your partner likes it warmer, let the games begin! A great night’s sleep can be easily interrupted when one partner raises or lowers the heat to adjust to their preference. Partners have argued for far more, but when your quality of sleep is being threatened, well, the gloves are off. Adjusting the temperature of your own bedroom with no resistance from anyone is the perfect solution so everyone gets what they need!
6) Battle of the blanket: When you sleep in your own bed, the sheets, the pillows, and the blankets are all yours to do with what you please. The constant annoyance of sleeping uncovered and searching for just a little piece of blanket in the dark is enough to lead you to sleep on the couch!
Studies show that when couples face the reality of what they need to maintain a good quality of sleep and decide to sleep in separate rooms, it appears to help their relationship immensely. Talking about and strategizing how your closeness can still be maintained while sleeping away from each other is important and very doable. My love life has only improved since I made the switch; just some food for thought.
Gerry, Your Sleep Expert