Written by our sleep expert Sammy Margo
As a sleep expert, I visit many people in their homes and have seen all sorts of sleeping arrangements. I have noticed that more and more of my patients are sleeping in separate beds or in separate rooms.
This often starts when one partner has an episode of illness, such as a cough, heavy cold or back pain and moves temporarily to another room (or in some cases to the sofa) so as not to disturb their partner. They both enjoy such a good night’s sleep that they decide to keep it that way.
Sleeping alone isn’t a sign that your relationship is in trouble.
Research by the UK Sleep Council found one in four of us retreat to a spare room or sofa for a restful and refreshing night’s sleep and now more than half of custom houses have dual master bedrooms!!
Statistics show that people who sleep poorly have a higher divorce rate - so if you persist in sharing a bed despite having your sleep disrupted, you risk not just poor performance at work, reduced concentration and poor health but problems in your relationship.
A lack of sleep can contribute to a greater risk of heart disease, diabetes and depression and lead to driving drowsy, less productivity, less sex in your marriage and being more moody. So don't ignore sleep problems in your marriage. Ultimately, unresolved sleep issues will create more problems for the two of you.
Larks Vs Owls
You like to be tucked up by 10.00 pm – and your partner wants to watch TV till the early hours? The next morning your alarm goes off at 6.30 and your partner is grumpy because they’ve been woken up and they wanted to sleep in till at least 7.30 am.
If you’re living and sleeping with someone who keeps different hours to you and don’t want to sleep separately, replace any bedside lamps with reading lights as they are less disruptive.
You should also both invest in an eye mask to block out all light. If you’re a lark and your partner is an owl it’s probably best if only your partner wears the ear plugs. This is because one of you needs to be able to hear an alarm and it’s easier for a lark to sleep through when an owl goes to bed than it is for an owl to sleep through when a lark gets up. We sleep more lightly in the second half of the night, so if one of you gets up early, the other is likely to wake more easily.
As a physiotherapist and sleep expert I have come to realise that when you sleep well- all is good.
Whether that means the same room, separate mattresses, separate rooms, or in some cases separate houses it is not unromantic, it’s just practical!!