Whether it’s snoring, conflicting bedtime routines or different sleeping preferences, sharing a bed can give rise to all sorts of problems. There has been plenty of research to suggest that many couples are not happy sleeping in the same bed, with around 50 per cent of sleep disturbances reported to be caused by partners. Over time, these constant night time niggles can have a negative effect on your relationship and individual health. So, could separate beds the secret to a successful relationship? Here’s a closer look at some of most common reasons why couples seek alternative sleeping spaces - and alternative suggestions on how to tackle these problems.
Snoring is one of the most common gripes among those sharing a bed. If you or your partner snores regularly, sleeping separately may seem like the best option if you want to get a full night’s rest and maintain a healthy relationship. However, you may not have to assign yourself to different beds just yet. There are a variety of anti-snoring devices which may be worth trying first, such as mouth guards and nasal strips that are designed to stop the airways from being blocked and reduce the noise caused by snoring. Many couples also find that using ear plugs or white noise machines can drown out the sound of snoring and help them enjoy a more peaceful slumber. Snoring could also be a sign of a more serious medical condition, such as sleep apnoea, which will need treating by a medical professional.
A lack of space
Another common problem for sleeping couples is not having enough space. If your other half shifts their position or stretches out during the night, it can affect your ability to fall into a deep sleep, especially if you are woken up easily. Lying too close to someone else can also cause your body to overheat and reduce your quality of sleep. If you find yourself tossing and turning until the early hours and wake up feeling exhausted and irritable, it might be time for a change. While having two beds is one solution, if you want to retain the intimacy of sleeping together, you may want to consider investing in a bigger bed. Most couples find that a king size bed is spacious enough for them to rest comfortably without being disturbed by their partner during the night. You’ll be surprised at how much more refreshed and energised you’ll feel the following day by simply upgrading from a double to a king size.
Different night time preferences
One of you prefers to be warm and curl up under the duvet, while the other likes to stay cool with a light cover at night. Sound familiar? We all have our own preferences when it comes to how we sleep, and while these differences may cause you to opt for separate beds, there are a variety of other ways to accommodate both of your needs while still sharing bed. For example, having individual duvets and blankets is a great option as it can allow you to keep your preferred sleeping style and have more control over your temperature. It can also help to prevent any irksome duvet-hogging that can keep you awake at night.
Buying the right mattress
If you and your other half are suffering from countless restless nights, it could be that your mattress is to blame. There are some mattresses that are better suited to couples than others and can solve a variety of sleep incompatibility issues. For example, memory foam versions are a popular choice, as these products mould to the shape of your body and move with you to reduce the chances that your partner will wake you up. Try to avoid open coil or continuous coil versions, as the springs move together and make it more likely that you will feel body movements during the night.
Bedtime schedules and lifestyle choices
Conflicting bedtime schedules and lifestyle choices can easily knock people’s sleeping patterns out of sync and put added strain on their relationships, leading many couples to choose different bedrooms. For example, perhaps one of you is an early bird who likes to turn the lights off as soon as you hit the pillow, while the other is a night owl who likes to stay up and read. However, there are simple things you can do to solve these problems, such as wearing an eye mask or establishing a bedtime routine that causes minimal disturbance to each other. If this fails, there are other options you can try, such as double adjustable beds. These beds are designed to allow you to control each side of the bed separately and can be manoeuvred into a range of different positions. This means that while one of you can be sitting up reading in bed, the other can be lying down sleeping, allowing you to continue with your routines while remaining side by side.
So, are separate beds a good idea?
For many couples, having separate beds can help them to enjoy a more peaceful night’s sleep, improve their health and make them happier in their relationship. However, it can also have negative effects and reduce intimacy. It’s worth bearing in mind that a study by The Sleep Council found that 82 per cent of couples who reported to have slept well shared a bed. Many couples also find that having a double bed helps to improve romance and strengthen their bond as a couple. With that in mind, it may be worth making some simple changes to your bedtime routine and habits before making the switch to separate beds.
By trying out some of the practical suggestions listed above, you might be able to overcome the trials and tribulations that come with sharing a bed and ensure that both of you get the rest you need to maintain a happy and successful relationship. Whichever way you try to bring harmony back to the bedroom, what is important is that you and your partner achieve a sound night’s sleep on a regular basis.