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twin beds vintage

Like all Generation Xer’s, I was raised with the odd TV show still showing married couples sleeping in separate beds. I mean, the Brady Bunch had a family with six kids and there wasn’t a toilet ever shown on the series. The amazing bladderless family!

To say we grew up in an uptight era isn’t stretching things. If we saw couples sleeping in the same bed, it was risque and romantic. Sleeping in separate beds was a nod to old-fashioned morals.

So it’s funny that sleeping in separate beds is catching on with young, modern married couples today. Nearly 25% of couples are doing it, according to some studies, and it’s not about morals. So what’s going on?

The roots of a trend

In this British article, a soon-to-be-father is finding a two-month exile to a spare bedroom to be heaven. He sleeps comfortably nightly, which is bliss for both him and his pregnant wife for different reasons.

One of my friends and I debated the idea of sleeping in separate beds. As much as I’m a romantic, I see the logic and think it’d be the smartest way to go. After all, I’m fussy — I like a cold room and require many other factors to be just so when sleeping. He disagreed, saying the whole point of a relationship was that togetherness of sleep. But some experts believe sleeping apart can help long-term relationships bloom again.

Like this article says, “As with most things in life, there is one caveat. Sleeping separately is only beneficial if it’s really about your sleep quality—not something more. “If you’re splitting up at night because you’re fighting, or because you’re having sex issues, then it’s going to do more harm than good,” says (author Susan) Heitler. In other words, sleeping apart can be great if you’re doing it for the right reasons. But if you’re using it to push a bigger martial issue under the rug, then it will only be a temporary fix and may lead to a bigger blowout down the line.”

Here now are some reasons to consider sleeping in separate beds (or even separate rooms), if not all the time, at least some of the time:

Sleep is important

This is a no-brainer. When you’re in a relationship and one of you sleeps badly or loudly, it’s a shared situation. If you’re both sleeping poorly, it leads to grumpiness, bad work performance, low energy, poor sex, and all sorts of stuff that can really turn great relationship into a grinder.

If you’re sleeping well, it makes you sharper, happier, more energetic, more positive.

Sleeping woman

Sleep to the beat of your circadian rhythm

Just because you love each other doesn’t mean you’ll ever be able to switch from being a night-owl to an early bird, or vice versa. If being in love is about loving someone for who they are, well, their sleep pattern is a part of that. Going to bed late or early won’t be an issue if you’re in separate beds or, better yet, different rooms.

We’re wired how we’re wired, and for some folks when and how they sleep isn’t something that can be tweaked.

Nix the distractions

Sleeping together is all very romantic and beautiful in the movies, but in reality it’s filled with lots of mood-breakers, like scratchy calloused feet, elbows to the spleen, snoring, farting, twitching, and all kinds of fun stuff that keep us up at night.

Separate sleeping arrangements mean you control your environment better. From the right comforter for you through to open windows, you’ll be the master of your sleeping domain, hopefully resulting in the recommended six to eight hours of sleep a day.

snoring in bed

Weirdly, it’s better for sex

While it seems counterintuitive, there’s something hot about sleeping separately and choosing to get together. Sneaking into bed together, making that conscious choice, it all helps to bring back some of the fun of your early days in the relationship.

There’s a lot of empowerment and connectivity to enjoy when being together is an active choice rather than a nightly status quo.

Don’t fix what ain’t broke

If you’re one of those rare couples where both sleep great nightly and there’s no kicking, cover-stealing, elbowing, farting, or snoring keeping you awake, then don’t mess with a good thing.

But if you’re waking up three or more nights every week because either of you are sleeping fitfully, you’re compromising your quality of life for a tradition. Sleep mitigates stress, keeps the body functioning properly, increases alertness and efficiency. It’s time we stop thinking of sleeping poorly as something everyone does. Getting a great sleep nightly is truly a life-changing habit to have and some couples cite it as saving their marriage. Perhaps it’s time to try separate beds to see if it helps you be better together for your waking hours.

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Steffani Cameron

Steffani Cameron is a Victoria BC-based writer on a variety of topics. Here on the BuildDirect blog, she specializes in writing about smaller, urban spaces. How do you make the most of your smaller space? How do you decorate it to suit you? And how do you wage the war against clutter and win? This is Steff’s specialty.