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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 Touchmentioned 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
myzie August 29, 2010, 6:13 PM

I have had my own room for the past three years. I desided to move out of the master bedroom when our marriage was failing and we were not getting along! My husband wants me back in his bed. But I cant imagine giving up my space. I am a tidy person. He is not. I am a light sleeper. He is not. We are not alike in anyway especially sleeping!We have been married for 16 years, and I dont plan on ever giving up my room. Having my own room might just save this marriage that I thought was over long ago. I am embarrassed about having my own room. I dont want the kids to have sleep overs, and I dont want anyone to know. But since reading all of your comments, it seems more common to me now. Thanks for this!

Robin September 17, 2010, 5:22 PM

I sleep in the same bed as my hubby and not only do I *not* get sex (he always says “he’s tired.” Like a give a %*&@!) I have to listen to his damn snoring and deal with him getting up like 5 times a night! So annoying. Maybe separate sleeping would actually help our marriage, since it would probably make me resent him less. (BTW I am pregnant so some of this ranting is due to what I call “prego anger,” but this has been an issue for several years).

Jennifer September 20, 2010, 7:04 AM

My husband is in the Army and so we often have to sleep apart. I often becomes difficult for me to share a bed with him after he has been gone for a year but I do get used to it again. My husband does have sleep apnea and a lot of snoring so I got used to sleeping with his snoring, it became difficult to sleep without his snoring but now that he is on a machine, I wake up all night making sure he has his mask on. I would probably get more rest sleeping somewhere else but I would rather sleep with him and get no rest than lose out on the chance to be near him.

Laura September 23, 2010, 2:43 PM

My husband and I had seperate beds after we had our baby. He wasnt happy about it but I hated that I was the one having to wake every 2 hours because we had a premie that needed to be fed. I didnt want to feel like I had to be quiet and walking on pins and needles in the middle of the night while he was sleeping away! It was only for 6 months and than once we moved the baby into another room. Now when I get up in the middle of the night to take care of the baby my husband gets upset if I sleep on the couch?? Its such an ego thing for some men. I wish he didnt make such a huge issue about what I see as not an issue really. I have been so sleep deprieved for the last year and see that as more of an issue than where were sleeping. He has never woken up to feed the baby once. I hate when I cant fall right back asleep or once I’m awake I hear him snoring and cant go back to bed and having to lie in bed so my husband doesnt get pissed off. Its not right, really and it makes me angry because I need sleep when I can get it and peace and quiet time to myself. Even if its at 4 in the a.m. let me be. I feel that the sleeping arrangments arent an issue unless one the partners make it one in which case you’ll end up resenting eachother. I wish my husband was more of an understanding guy which it seems from reading these that some men are. The truth is if both people are more well rested they will be happier and that what keeps a realtionship going.

kb October 15, 2010, 2:31 PM

I think each couple needs to sit down and discuss what will work best for them.

As for us, we started occasionally sleeping apart a few years ago. I have pretty bad allergies, so anytime they were acting up, I would sleep in the spare room. My parents gave us a hard time about it for a while. I think they were worried it would affect our relationship, but the bottom line is, we’re both happier when we’re better rested. My hubby would come “tuck me in” at night, and sometimes we’d cuddle for a while. I think it was actually better, because once his head hits his pillow, he’s gone, so we rarely cuddled at all when we were sleeping together. And we are both the kind of people who sleep till the last minute in the mornings, so morning time cuddling/sex wasn’t an issue…

I began consistently sleeping in the spare room when I was pregnant and getting up 5 times a night to use the bathroom. Plus, I was often restless and didn’t want to wake him up all night.

Usually I would sleep on a twin bed in the spare/baby’s room during the weekdays and we would sleep together on the weekends when we could sleep in.

This pattern has kinda continued now that we have our little bundle of joy, except that we’ve switched rooms. During the week, my husband sleeps in the twin bed in the spare/baby’s room and I sleep in the queen bed with the baby in his tiny crib next to the bed. This makes it easier to breastfeed him during the night. This way my husband doesn’t have to wake up in the middle of the night and I have more room in the bed to feed the baby. Then on the weekends we usually sleep together still and he “helps” with the late night feedings by burping and changing the baby.

Eventually, our baby will be sleeping through the night and we will put him in his own room and go back to sleeping together most of the time, but I think we will always be open to sleeping apart if we feel we need an extra dose of rest. And you know, upon reflection, I think the fact that we don’t sleep together every night keeps us from taking it for granted. It’s more special when we sleep together now. And I think we actually cuddle more this way.I must say, though, that I am glad that we haven’t given up sleeping together altogether though. I would miss it.

Whether we sleep together or not, though, it doesn’t seem to affect our sex life. We either feel like having sex, or not, but usually we decide that before we even get into bed. My husband often falls asleep within minutes of getting into bed, so if we don’t decide to do it before bed time, it just doesn’t happen anyway.

I am super happy with our arrangement, but most of all, I am happy that when it comes to stuff like this, my husband and I often find ourselves on the same page, or at least after discussing it, we find a solution we can both be okay with. I feel bad for those who have irreconcilable differences of opinion.

I challenge anyone who has a rigid view on this (or any other issue) to consider discussing it with your significant other to find a compromise you can both live with.

Weston November 12, 2010, 10:13 AM

I hate separate bedrooms, because i liked sleeping in the same bed with my wife. Considering that she would end up on the couch most of the time though, I can be glad that she is getting better sleep now and look forward to her improved mood as a result.

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