Here in the states, couples rarely admit to sleeping in separate beds, but across the pond not only do one in five couples avoid sharing a bed, they claim it improves their sex lives, too. An article in the Daily Mail tells the story of engaged couple Laura Mason and Colin Byers, both of whom are 28 and have slept in separate beds four of the last five years they’ve lived together. Citing sleep incompatibility as the reason for their separate beds — his snoring and warm body temperature keep her awake at night — they say their relationship and sex life improved when they stopped sleeping together: “We are just as close as ever. In fact, as soon as we made the decision, our sex life improved.
We’d had a great sex life in our first year together, but having no sleep was making us too tired and irritable to crave that intimacy.”They realize their arrangement is unique and may cause others to raise their eyebrows. “It seems to be the antithesis of romance,” Laura admits, “and other people’s attitudes make us occasionally question our judgment — if we love each other, surely we should be able to sleep in each other’s arms.” But they insist that they’re every bit as romantic and affectionate as couples who share a bed.
They hold hands, cuddle on the couch, and start the night in the same bed before they separate for a good night’s sleep. Before they made the decision to sleep separately, they say they were always tired, and snappy with each other as a result. “I am looking forward to a long, happy marriage to Laura,” Colin says. “We’ve just had to accept that we are not sleep compatible and make a rational decision about it. I really don’t care what other people think — this works for us.”
This seems fine and good for Laura and Colin, and they seem sincere in their need for adequate sleep, but when are separate beds the sign of a relationship that’s in trouble? I lived with an ex-boyfriend for about three years, and we always maintained separate bedrooms. While friends and family certainly thought we were strange, I congratulated us for being progressive enough to buck tradition and live in a way that worked for us.
Not only did we have vastly different ideas of what a comfortable bed was, we enjoyed having our own space to decorate as we pleased and be alone when we needed solace. But as the relationship started deteriorating and we continued to grow apart, not only physically but emotionally, I had to admit that maintaining separate beds maybe wasn’t the best thing for us. Sure, we each got great sleep, but in our waking lives we weren’t really doing anything to make up for the time we spent apart at night. Soon, we were really nothing more than roommates and decided to break up.
These days, I couldn’t imagine sleeping in a different bed than my fiance. We aren’t perfectly compatible as sleep partners — he prefers a warmer room for sleeping while I like it cool — but we compromise and enjoy the benefits of sharing the same bed. I often get insomnia and when I wake in the middle of the night I’m always comforted seeing him sleeping right next to me.
I love weekend mornings when neither of us has to rush off anywhere and we can enjoy the quiet of the day together before things get hectic. I like talking about our days, making plans, and telling stories to each other as we lie in bed and drift to sleep. I guess what I’m saying is that giving up a shared bed means sacrificing intimacy in a relationship, and if it’s a path you’re going to take, you need to find ways of making up for it when you’re awake. If you can’t be bothered, you need to ask yourself if the relationship is one you really want to be in.
Original by Wendy Atterberry