Nowadays we think it's laughable to imagine that a mere 50 years ago, Lucy and Ricky Ricardo slept in twin beds on TV for the sake of propriety and censorship. (We're still not sure how little Ricky was conceived -- or where.) The twin beds were obviously a way to tiptoe around the delicate matter of sexual relations in a marriage, and what we all know happens when the lights go off.
But many couples today are still embracing the twin bed -- and it has little to do with sex. It's about a spouse or partner who snores. After all, it's always the other person who's the light sleeper, the one who can be woken by the gentlest tiptoeing to the bathroom or the tiny bit of light that shines through from the hallway. The other person, meanwhile, not only gets deep sleep, they boast about it with their foghorn-like snores which you swear could scare little children.
Among our readers it's quite common, as it's estimated that nearly a third of people over the age of 30 snore, and it only gets worse as we get older. Sometimes it is exactly that: snoring. Other times, it's related to something more serious, such as sleep apnea.
We took to our Facebook page to ask our fans how they manage to get any sleep with a spouse that snores. Here's just some of what they had to say:
We were astounded by the number of older couples sleeping in separate bedrooms. Consider it a new type of long-distance marriage, they said, adding that it has nothing to do with the lack of a sex life.
"It's the NEW way of creating a long-lasting and "HAPPY MARRIAGE". Being woke up constantly all night long listening to hubby snore like a moose, caused me to have "anxiety" issues, & severe headaches during the day from never getting a full night's sleep," said Pinsey Christensen, calling sleeping in separate rooms "society's last taboo."
"People are afraid to admit it, because others think that the couple is having marital problems. I would be willing to bet that my emotional and sexual well-being is far above anyone else my age of 65 yrs. There's plenty of time for cuddling, caressing and bonding other than "bedtime!" Christen said.
Echoing the sentiment that being well-rested is more important than spending eight hours lying next to each other was reader Jamie Greco.
"Sleeping in the same bed or room is one of those traditions which people cling to which have no benefit other than assuring outsiders that your marriage is on good footing. Lying awake nights because it's a sign of trouble to sleep soundly in separate rooms is tantamount to avoid stepping on cracks to save your mother's back," Greco said. "If you have to be a few feet away from each other while you are sleeping in order to remember to have sex, you've got bigger problems that snoring."
There were other constructive, though more conventional solutions, too. Some readers relied on a white noise machine, creating enough of a buzz to muffle out the startling noise of snores.
Ear plugs seem to do the trick for a handful of luckier folks whose partners' snoring must not reach the most jarring levels.
Many readers also touted the virtues of the CPAP machine, for partners with sleep apnea. The machine helps users breathe more easily during sleep, with fewer obstructions, meaning it's good for them and good (less noisy) for you.
"It's very quiet, softer than a computer fan. No more buzz saw/jack hammer every night. Also lowered his blood pressure and helped him lose weight," said Rebecca Forrest.
Some spouses admitted they're just plain used to it -- and even enjoy it. One reader said that he loves his partner so much her snoring is "beautiful" to him. Aww! If only we all felt the same way.
But regardless of how you cope with the snoring, whether it's sleeping separately or nudging your partner awake, we think we can all agree on one thing. After a certain amount of time with someone, you get used to certain things, even snoring.
"I'm so used to it that I wake up if he stops snoring!" said Jessie Haggith. "He doesn't complain about my restless leg syndrome and honestly I think I'd miss the rumble of his snore after 20 years. Love conquers all." Adorable.
You tell us! What do you think about sleeping in separate bedrooms when a spouse snores? Let us know in comments below.