In the TV show, “I Love Lucy,” Lucy and Ricky always slept in separate beds. It may seem antiquated, but a married couple sleeping in the same bed was a scandalous idea when it came to 1950s television.
But, could Lucy and Ricky have been on to something? Some media reports highlight a surprising trend: more couples are sleeping apart.
According to a National Sleep Foundation survey, about one in every four American couples sleep in separate bedrooms. It could be that these folks are used to sleeping alone, or have drastically different sleep preferences. Perhaps they just like the idea of their own space. Or, maybe they prefer a different mattress firmness (did you know 9 in 10 couples prefer different mattress firmness?).
The big question is this: Is sleeping apart better—or worse– for your relationship?
On one side of the argument, Paul C. Rosenblatt, a University of Minnesota professor and author of “Two in a Bed: The Social System of Couple Bed Sharing”, said in a New York Times article that he found several advantages to sleeping in the same bed.
Sleeping together can:
- Protect your health: Health conditions, such as a seizure, may have otherwise gone unnoticed or undetected without someone sleeping next to you.
- Promote intimacy: Regular access in bed can increase frequency of intimacy for couples.
- Create a sense of safety: There’s a feeling of security in having someone sleep beside you.
Despite those claims, one in four couples still sleep in different beds. Why? For some, it’s because their partner snores. For others, it’s a difference in sleep styles. And, as noted above, for 9 out of 10 couples, it could be they disagree on the firmness of their mattress.
So, I’ll ask again: Is sleeping apart better or worse for your relationship?
Bottom line: It’s all about what works for you and your partner or spouse. For some, sleeping together is a necessity (and how you sleep with your partner says a lot about your relationship, as I wrote about last month). For other couples, sleeping apart means each person has their separate space, and they find other ways for intimacy.
Whatever the case, if you are considering sleeping apart from your partner or spouse make sure you’ve exhausted all other options first. Does one of you like the TV on and the other one doesn’t? Try headphones. You want the lights on, and he wants them off? Use a sleep mask. You like your mattress firm—he likes it a bit softer? Try a Sleep Number® bed—the only bed that lets you personalize your Sleep Number setting to your ideal level of comfort. With adjustable firmness on each side, couples can nestle into their coziest sleep ever!
That makes me wonder—what would have been Lucy and Ricky’s Sleep Number settings?