When Happily Ever After Means Separate Beds

It was the sock in the jaw that finally did it.

"We were lying in bed spooning when he had an elbow spasm and punched me in the jaw," says Barbara, a 55-year-old graphic designer from Lansing, Michigan, who asked that her last name not be used.

"I was already so sleep-deprived from his twitching and snoring that I was psychotic. After that, I just told him, 'It's all over, honey.'"

Barbara's husband of 22 years, who asked not to be identified, moved into another bedroom. They're among many loving couples who -- because of snoring, restless legs, opposite schedules or other nocturnal difficulties -- have decided to sleep apart.

A 2001 random telephone survey of 1,004 adults conducted by the National Sleep Foundation found that 12 percent of married Americans slept alone; a similar 2005 survey of 1,506 people found that number had jumped to 23 percent.

In addition, a March online survey of 1,408 couples conducted by the Sleep Council of England found that 1 in 4 people regularly retreats to a spare room or sofa to get a good night's sleep.

The preference for separate spaces has even begun to affect home design. According to the National Association of Home Builders, there's been a steady increase in the number of requests for "two-master bedroom" homes since 1990, prompting the organization to predict that by 2015, 60 percent of all custom upscale homes will be built with two "owner suites."

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