Should couples sleep in separate beds?

Tired, grumpy all the time? Not getting enough good sleep?

A friend of my husband’s wrote an interesting blog suggesting that Lucy and Ricky had it right in the ’50s — separate beds are better for couples.

Colleen Newvine Tebeau found multiple studies that agree that couples would get much better sleep and more of it if they didn’t share a bed!  Here’s the link to Newvine Tebeau’s blog.

She reports:

“A recent Wall Street Journal blog post reported on a presentation by British sleep specialist Neil Stanley: Dr. Stanley, who heads a sleep laboratory at the University of Surrey, reported at the British Science Festival that married people suffer 50% more harmful sleep disturbances if they share a bed, the BBC reports. Poor sleep can cause depression, heart disease, strokes, lung disorders and accidents, he says.”

“The WSJ went on to say:  In 2005, a National Sleep Foundation survey showed 23% of married Americans sleep alone, an increase from 12% in 2001, CNN reported last year. A survey of builders and architects found many are predicting that double master bedrooms will soon be the norm, Glamour reports.”

A Web site called Suite 101 writes about sleeping separately, including quoting a New York Times article featuring a Michigan expert:

“ ‘Couples today are writing their own script, rewriting how to have a marriage,’ said Pamela J. Smock, a University of Michigan sociologist. ‘The growing need for separate bedrooms also represents the speed-up of family life — women’s roles have changed — and the need for extra space eases the strain on the relationship. If one of them snores, the other one won’t be able to perform the next day. It’s nothing to do with social class, and it’s not necessarily indicative of marital discord.’ “

The author herself has a tough time sleeping with her husband. He snores and she twitches throughout the night. They got a mouthpiece to stop his snoring. She went as far as to have a sleep study done and the doctors suggested she take a drug for the rest of her life that would make her stop moving in bed. She felt terrible on the drug and decided it wasn’t an option.

Instead the couple decided to use two extra long twin beds in a king frame. Her movement doesn’t disturb him that way. Plus her husband can have his sheets untucked at the bottom and she can have an extra blanket and each be comfortable and still close.

I like their idea because under a big bedspread it will still look like one bed.

Michael had his own very practical concerns: When you fool around whose bed do you use?

My mother bought us a king size bed when we moved back to Georgia. We used to have a double and that is tight quarters for two. We knew we were going to co-sleep with the kids so the king made sense for us. You can spread out all you want.

Even with the king bed, I still have two other issues sleeping with Michael:

1. Michael snores loudly so I generally try to fall asleep ahead of him. I can sleep through his snoring but I can’t fall asleep while he snores.

2. When he wraps his arm around me before falling asleep all I can think about is how heavy his arm is! I swear he has the heaviest arm in America. Does anyone else think their husband’s arm is heavy lying across them?

What do you think: Do you have a hard time sleeping with your spouse? What are your main issues? How do you cope with them? Would sleeping in separate beds make them better? Would you need separate bedrooms? What do you think about the double master bedroom mentioned in the blog? What would your kids think if you slept in separate beds?

117 comments Add your comment

BShepCarlin

September 29th, 2009
7:18 am

Funny topic. I can’t sleep unless he is home in the bed curled up next to me. If it is just me in the bed I feel lopsided or like I forgot to brush my teeth. BUT….if he is watching TV while I am trying to fall asleep, forget about it. It takes me twice as long to fall asleep. I used to be able to sleep through anything…all lights on, music and TV blaring and then we had kids. I would HATE separate bedrooms. I love everything that comes with sharing a bed: the cold feet, pillow talk and of course fooling around :)

deidre_NC

September 29th, 2009
7:32 am

my ex had the heaviest arms in the world..he would either lay on his side with one arm trapping me for the night…or while he was sleeping he would wrap BOTH HEAVY arms around me and i would wake up in an anxiety attack beause i was TRPPED BY THE HEAVIEST ARMS IN THE WORLD. lol…when we split up i did miss the security of his holding me….but dang he had heavy arms lol

i too could sleep thru his snoring but would try to get to sleep before he did cause i couldnt get to sleep if he was already snoring….thoughts of duct taping a pillow around his head came often to me :)

Alice

September 29th, 2009
8:02 am

I would kill for separate beds. I always sleep much better when my husband is out of town or when we get separate beds at a hotel. One can always cuddle and then move to one’s own spacious, snore-free, movement-free, blanketstealer-free bed.

Jeff in Roswell

September 29th, 2009
8:02 am

We have seperate beds and love it. She snores and twitches as well.

Christina

September 29th, 2009
8:05 am

I wonder how they determined the number of married people “sleeping alone”? If your spouse travels for work 80% of the time and is sleeping away from home Mon-Thur, is that couple considered sleeping alone? If a couple splits work shifts and goes to bed at different times (which may or may not overlap), are they sleeping alone? Because I’d estimate that the number of couples in both those scenarios has increased in the last 10-15 years.

And it sounds like a couple who has two twin mattresses but puts them on a king frame, are considered to sleep alone? My grandparents have always done that! It’s partly because they’ve always had a smaller house with a smaller master, so the shorter twin beds fit, and partly because they’re 5′0″ and 5′4″ so they don’t need the length of a queen or king bed. But I would not consider that setup to be sleeping alone.

Personally, I would not want to sleep alone. I enjoy the comfort of my husband sleeping in bed with me. When he’s out of town, it does feel like something is out of place. Plus, if we have two beds, it’s double the work to make them in the mornings and double the sheets to wash! :) By sharing one bed, we can split those responsibilities. Yes, I sometimes have a hard time falling asleep if he’s snoring. But lately he’s up working after I go to bed, so I’m asleep by the time he comes in. And there are times when his heavy arm inhibits my falling asleep; in those cases, I just move it. Sometimes we need to sleep closer together and sometimes we need to sprawl out. But I like having the option.

savgirl

September 29th, 2009
8:06 am

Very hard for me to admit, but I would love separate sleeping arrangements. HIs snoring is at the medium level, but I have insomnia issues, so it is diffficult enough to sleep/stay asleep. Also, he likes it very hot and I like it cool . . .I am always kicking the covers off. But the worst of it, is not that his arm is heavy when he drapes it across me, it is that he often has that “startle reflex” while he is first asleep. Nothing like getting Heimliched to keep you awake! But, he would NEVER agree to separate beds. Mainly because he is always cold, and I am his “human heater”.

motherjanegoose

September 29th, 2009
8:07 am

I have to scoot and will check in later. I have one question:

What is the difference between a husband who is angry at his wife for talking during the UGA football games…did we hear 6 home games per year?

AND

A wife who endues her husband’s snoring every night….

Check out this link for why each of us need a good night’s sleep and it is not happening when I live with my husband who is snoring so loud that I can hear him ( fell asleep watching TV) downstairs while I am in bed upstairs wearing 32 decibel ear plugs.

http://www.healingdaily.com/exercise/sleep.htm

Raqi

September 29th, 2009
8:19 am

Theresa this is a good yet interesting topic.

I don’t see how having separate beds would help someone who sleeps with a snorer. You would separate bedrooms. Fortunately my husband does snore loudly but he grunts while he sleeps. I was kinda annoying at first but I am used to it now and sleep just fine. Heck him insisting on having the tv on was a bigger problem than his grunting.

Now for a person that moves a lot yeah separate beds would be ideal but I would think only in the manner that was mentioned. Two twins together in a king size frame. That way you can still be close yet sleep undisturbed.

I am sorry but I do not get the “I need my space” while married new age phenomenon. LOL The reason Lucy and Ricky had separate beds is because they were be broadcasted on television and the back the goal was to maintain the innocence of young minds. But kids weren’t crazy even back then. Their parents didn’t have separate beds and they could clearly see that.

As far as my husband touching me or laying his arm across me while sleeping, that doesn’t really bother me. I don’t move much while sleeping so once I am out I don’t know the difference.

We are a couple that like to sometimes cuddle or snuggle while watching tv or reading or just talking together at night. When we fall asleep, if we fall asleep close, we soon break away to our separate spaces.

And BTW we have a Sleep Number bed which solved the biggest problem we had. Mattress firmness.

Raqi

September 29th, 2009
8:24 am

Sorry, I meant “does not snore loudly”.

Codex

September 29th, 2009
8:26 am

What does it tell your kids when you as parents sleep in separate bedrooms? To me it means that you no longer love each other. But that’s just me.

happilysnuggled

September 29th, 2009
8:31 am

This subject is crazy! I love sleeping next to my husband. I want to fit right in the curve of his body. I can’t sleep without him. Like the BShepCarlin said – I would feel like I have not brushed my teeth.

I don’t understand how married couples sleep in the same house in seperate beds or rooms. I have sleep issues where I wake during the middle of the night. I don’t need a doctor to tell me all I have to do is roll over and get a dose of meds that are right beside me. And I sleep very well afterwards.

Funny subject.

Vork

September 29th, 2009
8:32 am

What’s the matter motherjanegoose? Don’t have enough time for a long winded six paragraph rant that bores us all to tears? Instead you post a link to a website? Are you getting lazy?

Clara

September 29th, 2009
8:36 am

Vork, stop being mean.

pd

September 29th, 2009
8:37 am

eh, I prefer to sleep together. But whatever works for others is fine by me.

Seperate beds would also mean more laundry to do.

Greg

September 29th, 2009
8:37 am

The only time we sleep in separate beds is when one of us is sick and disturbing the other because of it. Usually I’m the one who moves to the guest room in that case. The rest of the time I have a difficult time falling asleep if my wife isn’t in bed yet. If I’m not too tired I’ll give her a backrub, and she falls asleep while I rub her back.

As to the heavy arms, she’s never complained that my arm was heavy, but I also can’t fall asleep with my arm around her.

deidre_NC

September 29th, 2009
8:38 am

rolls my eyes at vork….grow up

Bladezz

September 29th, 2009
8:39 am

My wife and I have no problems sleeping in our bed, it’s a king sized bed. I could see where having a smaller sized bed might lead to one or both of us not getting a decent night’s sleep though.

etkp

September 29th, 2009
8:42 am

We have a king sized bed but use different blankets. We are not into the apperance of our room but rather the comfort of our sleep. My husband is a “human heater” who will then still sleep with two blankets in the summer and three in the winter. I, on the other hand, like it cold and sleep with an untucked top sheet(so my legs can hang out) and a light quilt(something about the weight of it). It’s funny though because I can’t seem to get cool enough in the summer or warm enough in the winter. I, myself can not sleep unless he is home(our shifts vary). I don’t like the idea of people coming into the house after I am asleep(i know it’s weird).

Kenneth

September 29th, 2009
8:42 am

Mom and dad share a bed and kids have their own beds. People who let their kids sleep with them all the time are weird.

Speaking of sleeping in separate beds...

September 29th, 2009
8:47 am

…how’s the tension after Michael’s post yesterday?

Jesse's Girl

September 29th, 2009
8:49 am

First off…..the bed is usually the last place we fool around:) Secondly….while we enjoy sleeping together, we are not cuddlers…never have been. Neither of us like to roll over and feel the other. We like our space. Thats why we invested in an extra large Tempur Pedic mattress…its the best moolah we have ever spent!! Its stunning perfection is why we rarely defile it with “hethern” sex:)

I remember my grandparents not only having separate beds, but separate rooms! I was always confused by this. But..they did have a 50 year marriage…so maybe there is something to it. I don’t think it much matters what your sleeping arrangements are. As long as you and your spouse are connecting spiritually, sexually and emotionally…its all good.

Sleepless in GA

September 29th, 2009
8:49 am

My wife snores so loudly that it wakes me up! Sometimes I do wish we slept in separate bedrooms. We have the room, but I think it would strain the relationship if we didn’t sleep in the same room every night. What’s one to do?

Zaboo

September 29th, 2009
8:54 am

@Jesse’s Girl

Your grandparent’s marriage probably lasted 50 years because it really wasn’t much of a marriage. More like co-habitation.

Tinkerballa

September 29th, 2009
8:57 am

I’m not married but when my boyfriend stays over I prefer he sleep on the couch so I can get my beauty sleep. We get wild in the bed though.

Libby

September 29th, 2009
9:05 am

Enter your comments here: My husband works at night. When he comes home in the wee hours of the morning, he used to awaken me and I couldn’t go back to sleep. I began sleeping in the guest bedroom. I miss that “togetherness” that sharing the same bed provides, but I’m not missing any sleep here lately!

New Stepmom

September 29th, 2009
9:06 am

Being newly married this is a timely topic. I would love a king size bed to replace our queen because I do not sleep as well with the hubs in the bed with me. He has begun traveling and I sleep far better when he is out of town. I love to cuddle on the couch, hold hands in the car, etc. but when it is time to sleep I cannot stand to be touched. We even had to change sides of the bed because he sleeps on his right side and was rolling over on me each night. I love marriage, but I cannot imagine sleeping in the cuddle position each night. We would be divorced ;o)!

And by the way….we are pregnant!

Uconn

September 29th, 2009
9:13 am

Congrats New Step Mom!!! … :) Always like to hear good news!!!

SAR

September 29th, 2009
9:13 am

I love my spouse of 23 years but after 23 years of marriage the bed has become more of a tool for good sleep and needed rest than the playground it once was. We lay down together most nights but when it’s time for sleep, we sleep in separate rooms because we need the sleep. I know I snore like a train and I toss and turn all night. It has nothing to do with love or attraction, it’s all about rest and feeling good in the morning. It works for us.

Vork

September 29th, 2009
9:25 am

Well you guy didn’t waste any time getting knocked up eh New Stepmom?

Raqi

September 29th, 2009
9:30 am

I may just be weird but I feel safe when my husband is lying beside me. Even when he is rolled over to his side of the bed and me to mine I feel safe.

On the few occasions that he does go out of town it seems like every noise from the house creaking to that of the outdoors awakes me. I just tend to sleep better with him beside me.

And reading folks talk about the insomnia and tossing and turning, that alone is something that needs to be addressed to your physician. If I had those issues to point that they disrupted my husband’s sleep I would do what I needed to make sure he gets the sleep he needs but I would also do what I needed to make sure I get mine. When I toss and turn all night I usually wake up cranky and if it happens too many times I go see my doctor.

I read an article yesterday where Mrs. Obama said that her mood and health reflects in how she interacts with her husband and kids. Not getting enough sleep yourself is unhealthy and could alter your mood therefore affecting the way you deal with your family.

LDP

September 29th, 2009
9:30 am

Enter your comments here
I agree with SAR. I love my husband. We still have lots of fun in the bed everyweek. But when it’s time to go to sleep, we go our separate ways. He is a very light sleeper and I am a snorer. I get up every day at 4:30 a.m. to go to work. We both were miserable. Things have greatly imporved since we have separate bedrooms.

Becky

September 29th, 2009
9:33 am

I love the cuddling also, but I sleep better by myself..My husband sleeps better with the TV on all night and I only want it on for a short time..As for the romance, after 16 years, we don’t have to sleep in the same bed to still love each other..

New Stepmom

September 29th, 2009
9:34 am

Thanks Uconn, we are both excited and shocked due to my history!

Becky

September 29th, 2009
9:35 am

New Stepmom, congratulations on the pregnancy..

Jesse's Girl

September 29th, 2009
9:36 am

My grandparents adored eachother. Every morning my Papa would squeeze 3 oranges to give her the freshest juice he could and she would make sure there was always a can of condensed sweet milk so he could have it in his coffee….their marriage thrived in spite of their choice to have separate quarters. A lasting marriage is more than where or how we choose to sleep. Its about love and respect for one another and if a couple can wake up refreshed, ready to give that to eachother…then I say HELL YEAH.

budman

September 29th, 2009
9:38 am

My wife and I usually sleep in different rooms. I snore and she loves having the cats in bed. After a couple of trips to Vietnam I totally freak out when a small critter jumps up on the bed. Reminds me of the rats in Vietnam..so I usually jump 3 feet high and scream. My doc says its PTSD but what ever the hell it is it doen’t make for a good night sleep for either one of us

Amanda

September 29th, 2009
9:54 am

Earplugs are a Godsend if you sleep with a snorer!

Flame Out ?

September 29th, 2009
9:54 am

Snoring,grunting,T.V.,farting, twitching, etc…We all have faults don’t we? It’s interesting to note that one lady moved to another bed in another room and was still disturbed by her husbands snoring. Should they live in separate houses? My wife snores and yes it affects my sleep pattern but I would nver consider hurting her feelings by kicking her out of bed. I thought the very first post was sweet and made my day.She sounds like a wonderful wife who loves her mate (for better or worse).Her snoring reminds me she is still next to me alive and breathing. It’s somehow comforting.

sugare

September 29th, 2009
10:01 am

My husband snores so loud that you can hear him outside. We have separate bedrooms because our sleep patterns are different tv on vs off, dark vs some light, snore vs no snore, he gets up at 1:oo A.M., I get up at 4:30, he goes to bed at 9:00 P.M. vs me at 10:30. I get up throughtout the night to let the dogs out. I like my bed space; we share the same bed when necessary and doing the deed in different beds adds variety. however, if he falls asleep first, I simply get up and go to the other room. I do not like for my body to be touched when I sleep; wrapping arms and legs weights me down. This works for us. We also have separate bathrooms. My friends think that this is odd but we really enjoy “our” space. LIFE IS GOOD

MsTee

September 29th, 2009
10:02 am

Hubby and I married 10 years and sleep separately. Doesn’t affect sex life and works for us. I need my sleep!!

Uconn

September 29th, 2009
10:04 am

I *adore* sleeping next to my fiance… yes he snores but that is easily fixable, I make him turn on his side so I can sleep right next to him… problem solved :) Now if anyone should complain, its him about me… I am an olympic sleeper… Meaning I can’t stay on my side of the bed or just on one side… I have to all over and don’t even get me started on temperature! If my feet are anywhere near warm… All the fans and A/C MUST be on high… He is always cold… But we work it out.. Its like Paul Reiser (sp?) wrote in Couplehood, “How can you be cold?, I am sweating tropical rainforests over here, c’mon be hot like me.” My Fiance pulls all the covers on him, and I hold him on his side so he doesn’t snore… Its a win, win win… :) Have a nice day everyone

DB

September 29th, 2009
10:09 am

I’m with BShepCarlin – I love, love, love falling asleep cuddled up with my husband. I’m a sound sleeper, so not much bothers me at night – occasionally, if I’m reading late, I’ll notice that he might snore just a little, but it’s usually solved with a nudge. And once I’m asleep, a 747 could land on our roof and I’d be oblivious. I don’t sleep as well when he’s gone — the cat is not nearly as cuddly, even though she likes to curl up on his pillow at night when he’s gone.

Christina

September 29th, 2009
10:12 am

Many people have mentioned having TVs in their bedrooms. If you have a TV in your room and are having difficulty sleeping, you might want to consider removing it and see if you sleep better. (It may take some time while your body adjusts.) Many studies have shown, and articles have been written, and experts have agreed, that distractions in the bedroom (TVs, computers, exercise equipment, babies–haha, etc) can cause sleep troubles. Especially in our high-activity modern lives, our brains need to power down and sometimes learn how to “turn off”. If your bed (bedroom) is used for only two purposes (sleep and sex–and I’m sure that dressing is okay too), your brain automatically associates that atmosphere with those activities. And then it tends to be easier for the brain to unwind.

I’m not chastising anyone for having any of those things in their bedrooms. I’m just saying that if you do, and you have trouble sleeping, you may want to explore those distractions as possible obstacles in your quest for quality sleep. You might discover that your spouse’s snoring is the least of your troubles! If you want more info, a Google search of “TV in bedroom” will pull up lots of it.

ajay2009

September 29th, 2009
10:14 am

I had to chime in on this one. My husband is a horrible snorer. I have chosen ear plugs. I swear they have saved out marriage. I personally don’t mind and somtimes crave the solace of the guest room, but he seem to have his speedos in a bunch if I am not in bed with him. Call him old fashioned and me a free spirit. The worst night sleep I have had in recent memoty is with my daughter, husband and I in a hotel room. I had forgotten my earplugs are struggled all night long. It was horrible. So earplugs work for me, but I don’t frown on separate beds, rooms (or houses, lol) if that works for you.

lawrencevillemom

September 29th, 2009
10:30 am

Enter your comments here My husband snores like a champ (even when laying on his stomach – so getting him to roll over will not help). When we were military I got used to him being away so it was a hard adjustment when we became civilians and he was home all the time. Now it is way too quiet if he is gone. When he is home I just turn up the TV so I can hear it and then ignore him and go to sleep. I don’t think I would like the earplugs because then you don’t hear other things…the kids, the animals, etc and my husband sleeps like the dead so he definitely would not hear them.

He also has the startle thing when he first goes to sleep but that is usually way before me so it doesn’t bother me.

JJ

September 29th, 2009
10:37 am

CONGRATS NEW STEPMOM!!!!!!! Keep us posted on your progress.

SOLO

September 29th, 2009
10:46 am

My husband of 25+ years has worked nights all of them. I can’t imagine him being in the bed with me every night. We are so used to having the bed alone that when he is at home we sleep separately. It also doesn’t help that I snore. We both sleep very well that way but sometimes if one of us gets up during the night we might go into the other’s room and curl up for a little while. It has done nothing to diminish our love for each other…it is just practical.

LM

September 29th, 2009
10:48 am

Right now I am missing my hubby. Miss his snoring, his moving in bed, the noise from the TV in the living room while I am falling alseep and the light from the living room sneaking into the bed room under the door. Thankfully he should get leave in November and I will have his weight, sounds and smells to lull me into sleep again.

We used to be wrapped up like snakes when we slept, legs and arms intertwined, his snorse were light and more like puffs of breath and would comfort me as I drifted off to sleep. After his accident, he needed to move more to get comfortable so we stopped being coiled up so close. After my accident last year I now need several pillows to prop and nest in so we had less physical contact, but knowing I could reach out a hand and feel his skin under my fingertips was reassuring.

I am not sleeping much now, waking up several times a night. I have let the dog join me in bed hoping his warmth and breathing would help but his is a poor subsitue.

Oh and we have a sleep number bed and we can’t stand it. No matter what setting I put it on, I can’t get confortable, really miss the old bed but the doctor suggested it following his back surgery so if it helps him in any way I will keep trying to make the bed work.

lakerat

September 29th, 2009
10:49 am

Uconn -

You are living in sin and will burn in hell with motherjanegoose for your actions.

SOLO

September 29th, 2009
10:50 am

Hey lakerat
Judge not lest ye be judged….stay on topic!