A 2015 National Sleep Foundation survey found that as many as 25 percent of couples reported sleeping in separate beds ― and 10 percent of couples reported sleeping in separate bedrooms. But don’t assume it’s sign of relationship trouble.
While sleeping separately may sound like a 1950s “I Love Lucy” throwback, sleep experts say it might be the best thing you and your partner can do for your shut-eye.
Snoring, overactive sleepers, different temperature preferences or opposite sleep/wake times can ruin a partner’s rest, Phyllis Zee, director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, told The Huffington Post.
And while bed sharing does help build emotional comfort and closeness that benefits relationships, sleeping side-by-side is not the only way to achieve that, Zee said. (Couples who sleep apart can try a morning or nighttime routine for cuddling and sex, she added.)
“Getting good quality sleep is important for relationships ― bed-sharing or not,” she said. “It’s a personal decision, not necessarily a sign of marital problems.”
Below, 12 people share why they made the decision to slumber apart and how it’s benefited their relationship.
“We’re both introverts so it’s nice to have our own space.”
“We’ve slept in separate rooms from the start. I have insomnia and I’m an extremely sensitive sleeper, everything wakes me up ... We have different sleep/wake schedules ― I go to bed early and wake up late, he stays up late and gets up early. Things are much more peaceful having our own beds. We get much better rest and we still cuddle a ton and are very affectionate when we’re awake. We’re also both introverts so it’s nice to have our own space sometimes. We wouldn’t have it any other way.” - Erin Lidia
“I have severe insomnia and he snores like a beast.”
“I have severe insomnia and he snores like a beast. We typically watch TV/lay in the bedroom together ― then when its time to sleep, he goes to his room. Now I sleep when I am able fall asleep and he sleeps more because I’m not constantly hitting him to roll over.” - Sandie Massagli
“We sleep better.”
“Me and my husband sleep in separate rooms. We have twin boys and started sleeping separate when they were born two years ago. Then every minute of sleep was precious and necessary. We still do because we sleep better ― and he snores like a freight train.” - Brittany Hamrick Mazur
“This is what works for us.”
“My husband and I have slept in separate beds nearly our entire 15-year marriage. He snores, so I don’t sleep. I move around a lot and we have a firm mattress, so he doesn’t sleep. This is what works for us. It doesn’t mean we don’t love each other and aren’t intimate. We have two daughters and he still gives me butterflies.” - Katie VanVleet
“He is late to bed and late to rise, where I am early to bed and early to rise.”
“We have separate rooms. We love it. He is late to bed and late to rise, where I am early to bed and early to rise. I invite him up for sleepovers, but inevitably he heads down to his room. In the morning I take him in a cup of tea and hop into his bed. We just prefer this arrangement ― it does not mean we don’t love each other.” - Nicki Macrae
“I can read and write to my heart’s content.”
“When I worked I had to get up early and go to bed early, it made sense to let each other have that space. When I retired I looked forward to be able to read until I’m good and ready to put my book down. If that means the lights are on and I read all night, so be it. We both sleep better.
“I can go to my room and read and write to my heart’s content. We have been married for 16 years and love each other more than we ever thought possible. Both in our 60s and loving the liberation!” - Sheryl Perez
“We don’t argue about each other’s snoring anymore!”
“For the last year my husband and I have slept in separate beds and it has been amazing! Our relationship is stronger than ever and we don’t argue about each other’s snoring anymore!” - Tracy Ann
“We just sleep so much better without someone else in the bed.”
“Sleep is incredibly important to us both so, yes, separate beds in the same room. We have different mattress preferences, I’m a very light sleeper while he’s a deep sleeper who moves around a lot, I like lots of blankets and he does not, and we just sleep so much better without someone else in the bed to consider.
“I like to hop in his bed in the morning to snuggle... We love it!”- Kelsey Smith
“I like to hop in his bed in the morning to snuggle (and our beds aren’t that far apart from one another). We love it! I know people think it’s weird and think we don’t love each other or something, but it’s quite the opposite!” - Kelsey Smith
“He works early, I work late.”
“Best move I ever made! He works early, I work late. We are respectful of each other’s schedule. My bedroom is my girl cave, complete with an essential oil diffuser and heated mattress pad (that he preheats for me before he turns in). It is in no way reflective of our love for each other ― in fact quite the opposite. We have very limited time off together and that is [when] we have to get creative. But in the meantime, we sleep like babies.” - Linda Shaffer Fleming
“We really appreciate having our own space.”
“My husband and I have slept in separate bedrooms for the last five years. We both sleep better! We have different waking cycles and temperature fluctuations. And though we adore each other, we really appreciate having our own space.” - Diane Dunnington Hill
“[It’s] really considerate of the other person.”
“We have been married for 35 years ― we [have slept] in separate beds in the same room [for] the last 10 years or so. We are both up and down all night long at different times ― using the bathroom, dealing with some pain or another ― and this way we don’t wake the other one up every time since we sleep so little anyway.
“It doesn’t reflect how we feel for each other ― actually this is really considerate of the other person. We sleep when we can and we both completely understand that. Being together is all that matters. Separate beds might be the key to a long and successful marriage.” - Robin Thomas
“I feel overall more alert and happy.”
“My sleep is MUCH better and I feel overall more alert and happy. I think people assume there are problems in a marriage when you sleep apart. But honestly it’s made our marriage better, and there’s a certain maturity that comes with being able to say I love you and our life together, but from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m, I really need my quiet rest away from you.” - Elle O’Keefe
Sarah DiGiulio is The Huffington Post’s sleep reporter. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.