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One in four American couples sleeps in a separate bedroom or beds, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
But why? If you love someone, why wouldn't you want to spend every waking moment with them?
The answer is: It's better for your health. Sleep deprivation can cause a number of problems in a relationship, including irritability, decreased sex drive, and weight gain.
Here are some of the top reasons for you and your spouse to sleep in different bedrooms.
When You Might Need a Separate Bedroom
The reasons go beyond the basic human need for personal space.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, snoring affects about 90 million adults in America. Overweight males are more prone to snoring than females, but snoring is a problem for both genders, and it even runs in the family.
So how do you fix it? For starters, you could participate in this study to help identify whether your snoring is caused by sleep apnea. But if that doesn't work, sleeping in separate beds is a great way to solve the problem in the meantime.
Excessive Body Heat
The National Sleep Foundation also found that the ideal body temperature for uninterrupted sleep is 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit. But this doesn't take into account the additional heat from another body under the blanket.
If you or your partner wake up in a puddle of sweat, it might be time to sleep in separate beds. It'll be more comfortable for both of you, and you won't have to worry so much about your body odor when you wake up, either.
Restless Leg Syndrome
Restless leg syndrome, or Willis-Ekbom disease, affects roughly 10 percent of the population, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Symptoms include the constant desire to move one's leg.
If you or your partner suffer from this condition, you could try eliminating unhealthy habits, like staying up late, smoking, and drinking alcohol. In the meantime, don't miss any Z's; sleep in separate beds so both of you get enough rest.
Maybe your partner works the night shift. Or maybe one of you is a morning person and the other is a night owl. Regardless, the creaking of a mattress can wake anybody up when their partner gets up to leave.
Sleeping in separate rooms can help minimize the disruptions. And the time apart might even make you miss them more, resulting in a happier reunion when it's time to wake up and a fresher start to every day.
Some people can't fall asleep without white noise in the background. Others prefer the sound of music or television. Some might want a fan to keep them cool, while others opt to crack open a window.
Sleeping in separate rooms is the perfect compromise. You won't have to worry about keeping your partner awake with your pre-sleep rituals, and vice versa. You can fall asleep on your terms and nobody else's. What's better than that?
Different Mattress Preferences
If you wake up with a sore back, that might mean your mattress is too firm or too soft. But to your partner, it might be the perfect fit. Or, if you have a foam mattress, it might not be as healthy to sleep on as you think.
Compromising on a mattress could mean hours of lost sleep, which no one can afford — especially the night before that big interview or presentation.
Sleeping in separate beds gives you the freedom to choose not only your mattress but also your pillows and bedding. If you and your partner can't agree on how to decorate your bedroom either, this is an added bonus.
The “Blanket Thief”
We've all been there: Waking up in the middle of the night, just to find that you are no longer being covered by a blanket. You try to tug some of it back from your partner, but to no avail. It's the Tug-of-War game that you can never win.
Defeated, you roll over and attempt to huddle up to stay warm. It's not worth waking your partner up and asking them to share the blanket. You figure you can make it through the night and just bring it up in the morning.
Why have this continuous problem when you can sleep in your own bed? You'll stay warm throughout the night, without having to wrangle the sheets from your unknowing partner.
Being in a relationship with someone might also mean being in a relationship with their pet. But studies show that between 10 and 20 percent of the human population is affected by cat or dog allergies. What do you do if your partner is one of them?
It can be hard having the “me or the dog” conversation. Nobody wants to hear “I'd rather sleep with my pet than you.” But if the dog was there first, that puts you in an uncomfortable position.
The happy medium is, you guessed it, sleeping in separate rooms. If you approach the conversation the right way, you can explain to your partner that you're doing it for their sake and not your pet's. This brings us to our next point.
How Do I Talk to My Partner About Sleeping in a Separate Bedroom?
The classic “It's not you, it's me” conversation might not be enough to explain to your partner why you should sleep separately. A 2018 article from Today recommends the following:
- Avoid the blame game. Instead of using the word “you,” focus on the words “we” and “us.” This way, your partner doesn't feel singled out by your desire to sleep alone, and the conversation stays centered around the relationship, not one individual.
- Make time for each other before bed. The romance doesn't have to die just because you're sleeping in separate rooms. Touch your partner throughout the day to express your affection; give them a hug, hold their hand, kiss them. You could also schedule date nights.
- Show your gratitude. Don't forget to thank your partner for understanding and respecting your needs. Remind them that you can solve problems together, and remind them why you love them in the first place.
It's Not the End
Sleeping in a separate bedroom doesn't mean losing your closeness with your partner. In fact, it might force you to come together in different ways than before. It comes with a variety of health benefits that both parties should consider.
Still not convinced? Consider these tips for spicing up your marriage without having to sleep in the same bed as your partner. Sweet dreams!
Note: This is a guest post in which the author wanted to remain anonymous. I personally believe couples should sleep together, but I do see the benefits of this point of view as well. I have a close friend who uses this method and she's been blissfully married over 30 years. I can see how it helps!