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Forget Separate Beds: It's Separate Bedrooms for Married Folks

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Ronda Kaysen: Add this to the long list of dangers threatening the great institution of marriage: solo sleeping arrangements. The New York Times weighed in on the phenomenon of American couples sleeping solo with a how-to guide for getting your hubby back in the bedroom.


But before we can get into how to get your main squeeze back between the sheets, we have to do a recap on this supposed trend, which has gotten so mainstream that even Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt have their own boudoirs. If you're gasping at the thought of Brangelina sleeping apart, rest assured that they also have a giant bed for mom, dad and all six kids to share.

The supposed reason for all this separate sleeping is that Americans have finally come to realize that sleep is a priority -- which makes me wonder what it was considered before couples started custom-building separate master bedrooms. Dr. Meir Kryger, a sleep specialist at Gaylord Hospital in Connecticut, told the Times, "What happened in the last decade is that people are suddenly making their own sleep a priority. If their rest is being impaired by their partner, the attitude now is ... 'I don't have to put up with this.'"

People are done with tossing and turning, excessive snoring and battling it out over who gets the comforter. But Bruce Feiler at the Times is deeply concerned about guest rooms turning into daddy's room. "We need a campaign," he writes. "One of those national initiatives politicians are always calling for. 'The War on Bed Divorce,' call it, or 'Brush Up on Your Bediquette.' Thirty-five years after 'Save the Whales,' it's time for 'Save the Sheets.'"

And how do we go about saving the shared bed? Remind people that sleeping together is good for you. For one thing, you get more sex (always nice), and if by chance you have a catastrophic health emergency at 2 AM, you're likely to have someone present to notice.

Feiler has other tips, such as: Make your bed (which bodes ill for the sloppy housekeepers). Throw in a red pillow or bedsheet to spice things up. "Choreograph" your sleeping arrangements so no one ends up facing a snorer's snout.

All these suggestions are fine and dandy, but it does make me wonder how many people we're actually talking about here. Just because In Touch mentioned a few celebs with funky sleeping arrangements doesn't mean we're all sleeping apart.

And, I do wonder if the reasons that Feiler touts (BlackBerry addiction, a different preference of temperatures, kids in the bed) are the real reasons couples are sleeping apart. The only couples I know with separate bedrooms are those who no longer like each other. Granted, this is a totally unscientific sampling, but I'm not convinced that there's a trend of happily married folks sleeping in separate bedrooms because of conflicting yoga schedules.

Weigh in, moms: How many of you have separate bedrooms, and do you wish you and your husband were sleeping together again, or are you thrilled with the arrangement?

next: CUTE ALERT: Pug Sleeps with Her Faux Puppy
52 comments so far | Post a comment now
donna July 27, 2010, 2:35 PM

We sleep apart because of my husband’s snoring. We both get sleep because he’s peacefully snoring elsewhere and I’m not beating the crap out of him to shut up. It doesn’t affect our sex life. We have just gotten more creative. Neither one of us desires to have a marital bed. Our kids know we sleep apart because Daddy snores - trust me, they hear it, too! They know we love each other. I think it is a profession of how secure you are in your marriage to sleep apart when you can’t sleep together. We are both more rested and happier.

wee1 July 27, 2010, 2:42 PM

I love sharing a bed with my husband and hate it when he’s gone. I can’t imagine sleeping separately. But then, he doesn’t snore.

Cathy July 27, 2010, 2:43 PM

We started sleeping in separate rooms after I had surgery last October. We’ve been married 27 yrs, I can’t imagine going back to sharing a bed. We have more sex now than most of the past 10 years. A little bit because we’re better rested and lot because of the age of our kids.

Anonymous July 27, 2010, 6:42 PM

We have separate bedrooms because of 1) his snoring and 2) our toddler wanting to sleep with us and him not liking getting kicked. It works fine for now. I don’t wish it to be permanent but for a few years, ah no big deal. We get along great, I consider our marraige to be quite sucessful. His “bedroom” is now the love room. We are more sexually active now than when we slept together for eleven years because we are both more rested. Many people today do not have a good sex life because they are just so tired. Well we fixed that problem. No one is tired anymore, the sex is great, everyone is happy. Yeah, I miss the cuddle time but we squeeze that in before bed, that’s all. It’s not perfect but it’s not the “horror” that many psychologists make it out to be.

Lisa  July 27, 2010, 8:16 PM

While I was pregnant my husband and I slept in separate bedrooms. It started because our oldest was still in our bed at sometime in the night and I wanted more room, but as she gradually started sleeping the entire night in her room, we realized we both got better sleep. If we could fit a king-size bed in our bedroom it would be easier, but that extra space—and no one tossing and turning or hogging my space or snoring—is awesome! He’s back in the bedroom now (as is the baby in a co-sleeper). It’s ok. It’s not like anyone gets great sleep with a baby anyhow.

Rebecca July 27, 2010, 9:26 PM

My husband and I are happily married, adore eachother, make time for eachother, and sleep separately. He’s a snorer, a terribly light sleeper and likes to fall alseep to the TV, so far from the kind of person I want to try to fall asleep with each night. I think this is far more common than most women want to admit, so in the interest of finding out more, I discovered that the bay majority of our couple friends sleep apart but were embarassed to say so

A July 27, 2010, 9:57 PM

thank you for this article!

We started sleeping apart when I was pregnant with our son (who’s 1 now) and his snoring increased to the point of intolerable (he has apnea). This is also about the time I started needing the TV to fall asleep, which drives him crazy

I’ve been cosleeping with our son up until two nights ago when we made an effort to get him to start sleeping in his crib (albeit pushed up against the side of my bed) and my husband moved back into “my” bed (anti snoring pillow - check, anti snoring mouth guard - check…)

However, it’s not very effective, which is why I’m sitting in the living room at midnight and he’s happily snoring away in there…grrrr! and in about 5 min I’ll go in there, turn on the TV, and try to fall asleep myself. *sigh*

but, I digress…

I’m forwarding this article to him now and it’s really nice to know that we aren’t the only couple in America who sleeps better when in separate rooms

C July 27, 2010, 11:38 PM

My husband and I have had seperate bedrooms for the last 12 years. We have been married for 22 years, and the best has been since we have had seperate bedrooms. We have different nightly preferences, he snores very loud, likes to go to sleep immediately, etc. I like to read, watch tv, and not listen to his snoring!
When we first decided to sleep in different rooms my mother in law said we’d end up divorced. Well, our marriage has lasted longer than her’s, and I thinkit’s because we are open to ideas like this. We both love each other, love hanging out together, etc, but we don’t like sharing a bedroom, lol.

Jenny July 27, 2010, 11:52 PM

I’ve never been good at sharing a bed. I can’t relax, I’m always aware of the other person - I wake up a lot and I feel restless. So, my partner and I have separate bedrooms. Not because we don’t love each other, not because we don’t have the hots for each other, but because I need my own space and we have totally different sleeping patterns.

In fact, I just read a great article about this:

(as a side note, it would be great if you didn’t write most articles as if only straight couples/women were reading them).

Stacie July 28, 2010, 9:13 AM

@ Jenny: right on. I’ve noticed that Momlogic seems to be biased towards the hetero viewpoint (with some exceptions).

General response: I could never sleep apart from my husband. The few nights that, for whatever reason, we had to sleep apart, I slept horribly and just wanted him to be next to me. But I can totally understand how not everyone who is in love is compatible in sleepyland. I don’t think that it’s a huge deal if a married couple has different beds. :)

Jillian July 29, 2010, 2:35 PM

my husband and I have been sleeping in seperate rooms for about 6 months and I can’t imagine having to sleep in the same room again

Patricia July 31, 2010, 3:37 AM

My husband and I have slept apart for almost 4 years, it started with his snoring then when he gets up in the middle of the night he just dosent quietly get back into bed his whole body slams hard onto the mattress, so off I go about 2 feet in the air. Personally, now we are both very glad we sleep apart and to be honest I want to keep it that way. This I can tell you, if you really love each other, please do not sleep apart to long, we ended up falling out of love and now it feels as though I have a roommate. We no longer talk to each other, alot has changed for the worse, I would rather get a divorce, so listen to me please, it may be ok once in awhile to sleep apart, if you really love each other stay together, who cares about the snoring, when the snoring is gone so is your love.

Anne July 31, 2010, 6:42 AM

My husband and I sleep apart and we both get a lot more sleep. The “move” happened because I was going through a bout of insomnia - lots on my mind and I would wake up stressed and need to read or turn on the tv to fall back asleep. I am also a very light sleeper and every snore, cough would wake me up most nights. I felt guilty keeping him awake, he felt guilty keeping me awake. That is no longer the case. My husband hated me moving out of the master bedroom - it was a blow to his ego and I think still is. He is defensive and wants to hide it from our friends and family. Our marriage isnt perfect but it’s actually better now than it was - because I am not as tired and stressed, also, I stood up for what was important to me and didnt “conform” to the guilt society and traditions put on us. For months I slept on an uncomfortable couch so I could watch tv and not need to be awakened by snoring. I now have a queen size bed with beautiful white sheets and a comforter that are heavenly to dive into when I’m dead tired each night.

anonymous July 31, 2010, 8:16 AM

I love sharing a bed with my husband and would very unhappy if we didn’t. However, I can see how it might be necessary for medical reasons if you just couldn’t sleep around each other.

pharmacy technician July 31, 2010, 2:38 PM

nice post. thanks.

JP August 2, 2010, 6:55 AM

We’ve slept apart for several years. This pattern began in middle age when we both started sleeping lighter. Yes, snoring was the most obvious issue, but we’d also wake the other just moving about, which never seemed to happen when we were younger. We still cuddle often and just chat until one of us nods off, then the other departs. Nothing else has really changed much- except we both sleep better, go figure!

Mimi August 3, 2010, 9:48 AM

We sleep apart because of his snoring. His snoring is due to his weight. Two years ago he had some major weight loss which took away all the snoring and sent us into a “honeymoon period!” Now the weight is back on and so is the snoring. Yes, there is some resentment on my part because he doesn’t care enough to lose the weight a) to help alleviate some snoring so I could sleep with him and b) to make sex more desirable with someone whose stomach isn’t in your way!

Jane August 5, 2010, 4:11 PM

I have been married just over a year and am currently pregnant with my first child. I have viewed sleeping in the same bed as a priority, but it has been a struggle from the time we were dating. Back then, even when my then-boyfriend spent the night, he would often go down to sleep in my guest room because he has problems with insomnia and would keep me up. I’m a teacher, and when I’m woken up several times a night and sometimes have a hard time going back to sleep, my day is affected. I need to be well rested so that I can be caring and patient with my young students. My husband needs the T.V. to fall asleep, and I need quiet. He turns the pages of his magazine loudly, laughs at the T.V. that he’s watching on headphones, etc. I’ve been wearing earplugs and an eye mask, but now with a baby coming I know that’s not a long-term solution. I’ll need to be able to hear the baby in the night. I think we will probably resort to sleeping separately, although I’m saddened by it.

Jess August 12, 2010, 8:19 PM

My husband and I sleep in separate rooms right now because I breastfeed our newborn. I’m a stay-at-home mom, so I can nap when the kids nap in the afternoon, but he can’t. So until the little guy sleeps through the night, we’ll be apart. I sure don’t like it, though. I’d rather be uncomfortable next to him than cozy and alone.

M August 17, 2010, 11:22 AM

I love sleeping with my boyfriend and I hate hate hate when I have to sleep alone. I tend to get incredibly cold at night and he seems to have enough bodyheat for 12 people, lol. The only thing is we have seperate blankets and one side of the bed is pushed up against the corner of the room, which helps greatly; no one is fighting for a blanket and he likes to be wedged up against something (seriously) which gives me room to lay in whichever weird position I end up laying in. The only thing that occasionally makes me want to get up and move to another room is when his stupid lizard’s light comes on (it’s on a timer) at 6am. Ugghhhhh!!! Other than that minor inconvience sleeping with my boyfriend is a dream~

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