This is nothing new. We’ve slept in separate beds for a very long time…forty-three years to be exact. In all of the years that we’ve been married, we’ve slept in separate bedrooms. Yes, we are still in love, but I for one, love my sleep and I realized very quickly that while we were compatible in life, when it came to sleep we were very different. My husband sleeps with the television on and I need complete darkness and silence. He snores and I’m a light sleeper. He sleeps with his feet outside of the blanket and I need to be cocooned. I was a virtual zombie. I couldn’t work during the day because of exhaustion. I wanted to take a nap every afternoon. I would start off in bed with him, but night after night I found myself grabbing my pillow and heading to the couch. It was the only way that I could sleep (and if you haven’t slept multiple nights in a row, you know EXACTLY what that feels like). When we bought our first home, I knew that it had to have an extra room just for me or we weren’t going to last.
I was embarrassed to talk about it at first. Then I learned that I wasn’t the only one who insisted on a room of her own. It turns out, that a LOT of couples were in the same situation. Couples like us who sleep in separate bedrooms aren’t necessarily a sign of a troubled relationship, but rather a practical and affectionate understanding of each other’s needs, especially when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep.
Understanding the Need for Sleep and Individual Space
Sleep is a critical component of our overall health, impacting our mood, energy levels, and cognitive functions. As we age, our sleep patterns can change significantly. Snoring, insomnia, restless leg syndrome, and other sleep-related issues can become more pronounced, profoundly affecting the quality of sleep for both partners. Sleeping in separate bedrooms can be a considerate gesture of love and understanding. It acknowledges the fact that uninterrupted sleep is vital for both partners’ well-being.
The Stigma and the Reality
The conventional image of marital bliss often involves the couple sharing a bed every night. I mean, that’s what all of the couples on TV and in the movies do. I was raised to see sleeping alone as a sign of a problem in a relationship. However, for many couples like us, this decision is far from a reflection of their emotional connection. It’s a practical, mutually beneficial arrangement that respects individual sleep needs while preserving the strength and intimacy of the relationship.
Communication and Intimacy
One of the cornerstones of any successful marriage is communication, and this holds true when deciding to sleep in separate bedrooms. Openly discussing sleep issues and acknowledging each other’s needs helps maintain a healthy relationship. It’s important to ensure that this arrangement doesn’t lead to a decrease in intimacy. Many couples find alternative ways to maintain their closeness and connection, such as having a routine of bedtime conversations, morning coffee together, or regular date nights.
The Benefits of Sleeping Apart
Sleeping separately can have several unexpected benefits. Apart from improved sleep quality, it can lead to a decrease in marital tension that might stem from sleep disturbances. Couples often report feeling more refreshed and patient, leading to more positive interactions with their partner. Plus, the time spent apart during the night can create a sense of independence, which some find rejuvenating for their relationship.
Personal Spaces as Personal Sanctuaries
Instead of the she-shed, I knew I wanted a she-bed. Separate bedrooms also allowed me to create a space that is entirely my own. My room reflects my feminine side, while my husband surrounds himself with some of his favorite things, we each decorate and maintain our rooms according to our taste, which can be quite liberating. This personal sanctuary is our place for relaxation, reflection, or indulging in hobbies without disturbing the other.
Balancing Togetherness and Individuality
The decision to sleep in separate bedrooms is not about creating distance but about finding a balance between togetherness and individuality. It’s about respecting personal needs and space while continuing to nurture the relationship. Many couples find that having their own bedrooms actually enhances their appreciation for the time they spend together.
The Key to Long-Lasting Love
The secret to a long-lasting marriage often lies in the ability to adapt to each other. This adaptability and willingness to embrace change can be a testament to the strength and depth of a couple’s love. Choosing to sleep in separate bedrooms can be viewed as an evolution of the relationship, an understanding that physical proximity during sleep is not a measure of love and commitment.
After over 40 years of marriage, we still have separate bedrooms and it is truly a loving choice that prioritizes the health and happiness of both of us. It’s about what works best for us as a couple, helping to maintain a loving and supportive relationship, both during the day and through the quiet of the night.
How do you sleep at night?