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should couples sleep in different beds
Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Cutting out co-sleeping may improve your relationship.

When my boyfriend and I finally decided to sleep separately, we saw it as admitting defeat. We had fought long and valiantly—earplugs, sleep studies, some medicated chocolate, the whole nine yards—but in the end our love simply wasn’t strong enough to win in the battle against snoring and restless leg syndrome. Or at least, that’s what it felt like.

It didn’t help that by the time we had reached this decision, we were both so sleep-deprived that our home had turned into a war zone of irritability. We fought about everything. (I mean, clearly I was right about it all, but still!) It felt like maybe the only thing that truly had fallen asleep was our love for one another.

So as we shopped for an additional bed, it was hard to not worry whether or not this was simply a bad omen. A test we had failed. The beginning of the end.

But then that extra bed came. I call it our “inanimate couple’s counselor” for the way it saved our relationship.

With every passing night, I found myself less agitated, calmer and dare I say … happier. My boyfriend noticed the same effects. We even organically created a sweet morning and evening ritual that involved more cuddling and affection. The very thing we feared losing (our intimacy) had been revived. Improved, even.

After arriving at such bliss, it almost seems silly to think that we both tried to hold onto something that clearly wasn’t working, even at the expense of our health. And for what? To prove our everlasting love?

Apparently my boyfriend and I are far from outliers with this dilemma. Lots of people still think that separate beds means there’s a problem with the relationship.

Wendy M. Troxel Ph.D. is a senior behavioral and social scientist, internationally recognized for her work exploring the effects of sleep on health, the global economy and, of course, couples.

The question Troxel gets asked most frequently from concerned couples is, “Is it bad if my partner and I sleep apart?”

Short answer: no. And it might be time that we put this notion to bed.


The origin story of sleeping together = LOVE.

couples in separate bedsGiphy

Troxel shares in an essay for the TED blog that until the sexual revolution, the term “sleeping together” had a much more literal meaning. And that shift in cultural attitudes still influences us to equate separate beds with a lack of passion.

But considering we spend more time sleeping than making love, perhaps it’s time to shift priorities and release ourselves from this society-prescribed torture. In my experience, love doesn’t thrive in obligation.

The science suggests that our relationships might be better after sleeping separately.

when a partner snoresGiphy

Troxel’s research indicates that being well rested helps improve communication and makes us happier, more empathetic, even more attractive and funnier—all skills that help contribute to a strong and lasting relationship.

Inversely, we all know how monstrous we can become after a sleepless night. I remember during one particularly rough morning I refused to kiss my boyfriend goodbye because I resented him and his snoring. It wasn’t my best moment.

Plus, finding a good sleep solution can be a majorly helpful exercise in problem-solving together, which is yet another cornerstone of relationship success.

Lots of couples (more than you may realize) are sleeping separately anyway.

sleeping in different bedsGiphy

According to a 2021 poll, around one-third of couples prefer solo sleep. This might have been a privilege previously only known to the wealthy few (not everyone could bed like kings and queens, after all) but it’s easier now more than ever to afford and fit in a second sleeping space.

I mean, my boyfriend and I live in L.A.—meaning a tiny apartment with a less-than-generous floor plan. But we purchased a cushy daybed for our living room, placed some plants around it and now call it the “Zen corner” when guests visit. So far, so good.

Plus, there are so many other ways to invite closeness other than sleeping together.

should couples sleep togetherGiphy

Working out, morning coffee cuddles, tucking each other in … the list goes on. And who knows? Maybe those new rituals will feel even better than sleeping together. Especially if you're both in better moods.

And it’s not like there has to be 100% commitment to either strategy. My boyfriend and I still share the bed every once in a while. And now it feels extra special, rather than an obligation.

Of course, the caveat to this is why you’re choosing to sleep in different spots in the first place. But if the intention is to take care of the relationship—rather than avoid it—then taking care of yourself, as we are learning more and more, is one of the first steps.

Bottom line: Rest is a necessity, not a luxury.

sleeping habits for couplesGiphy

A healthy relationship is composed of two healthy people. And sleep absolutely affects our health. If it means doing so separately, who cares? What’s most important is that both partners are fulfilled, nourished and energized by more than caffeine.

Sleeping habits, like life, can be more of a choose-your-own-adventure, rather than a set of rules. Choose what feels best, and you often can’t go wrong.

Education

Teacher of the year explains why he's leaving district in unforgettable 3-minute speech

"I'm leaving in hopes that I can regain the ability to do the job that I love."

Lee Allen

For all of our disagreements in modern American life, there are at least a few things most of us can agree on. One of those is the need for reform in public education. We don't all agree on the solutions but many of the challenges are undeniable: retaining great teachers, reducing classroom size and updating the focus of student curriculums to reflect the ever-changing needs of a globalized workforce.

And while parents, politicians and activists debate those remedies, one voice is all-too-often ignored: that of teachers themselves.

This is why a short video testimony from a teacher in the Atlanta suburb of Gwinnett County went viral recently. After all, it's hard to deny the points made by someone who was just named teacher of the year and used the occasion to announce why he will be leaving the very school district that just honored him with that distinction.

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Joy

Tea time: how this boutique blends cultures from around the world

Ethically sourced, modern clothes for kids that embrace adventure, inspire connections and global thinking.

The Tea Collection combines philanthropic efforts with a deep rooted sense of multiculturalism into each of their designs so that kids can grow up with global sensibilities. They make clothes built to last with practicality and adventure in mind. But why "Tea"?

Let's spill it. Tea is a drink shared around the world with people from all different cultures. It is a common thread that weaves the world together. The Tea Collection was born from a love of travel and a love of sharing tea with different people in different places. Inspired by patterns from around the world, these clothes help children develop a familiarity with global communities.

Tea sources their materials ethically and ensures that each of their partners abide to strict codes of conduct. They have a zero-tolerance policy for anything "even slightly questionable" and make sure that they regularly visit their manufacturing partners to ensure that they're supporting positive working conditions.

Since 2003, The Tea Collection has partnered with the Global Fund for Children and has invested in different grassroots organizations that create community empowered programs to uplift kids in need. They donate 10% of their proceeds and have already contributed over $500,000 to different organizations such as: The Homeless Prenatal Program (San Francisco, CA, USA), Door of Faith Orphanage (Baja California, Mexico), Little Sisters Fund (Nepal) and others in Peru, Sri Lanka, India, Italy and Haiti.

But the best part about the Tea Collection? They're also an official member of the Kidizen Rewear Collective, which believes that clothes should stretch far beyond one child's use. They have their own external site for their preloved clothes that makes rewearing affordable. Families can trade in gently used Tea clothes and receive discounts for future products. Shopping the site helps keep clothes out of land fills and reduces the environmental impact of the fashion industry.

By creating heirloom style clothing made to last families can buy, sell, and trade clothes that can be reworn again and again. Because "new to you" doesn't always have to mean never been worn. And let's be honest, we all know how fast kids grow! Shopping preloved clothes is a great way to keep styles fresh without harming the environment or feeling guilty about not getting the most out of certain styles.

But don't just take our word for it! Head over to the Tea Collection and see for yourself!

Upworthy has earned revenue through a partnership and/or may earn a portion of sales revenue from purchases made through links on our site.

Hold on, Frankie! Mama's coming!

How do you explain motherhood in a nutshell? Thanks to Cait Oakley, who stopped a preying bald eagle from capturing her pet goose as she breastfed her daughter, we have it summed up in one gloriously hilarious TikTok.

The now viral video shows the family’s pet goose, Frankie, frantically squawking as it gets dragged off the porch by a bald eagle—likely another mom taking care of her own kiddos.

Wearing nothing but her husband’s boxers while holding on to her newborn, Willow, Oakley dashes out of the house and successfully comes to Frankie's rescue while yelling “hey, hey hey!”

The video’s caption revealed that the Oakleys had already lost three chickens due to hungry birds of prey, so nothing was going to stop “Mama bear” from protecting “sweet Frankie.” Not even a breastfeeding session.

Oakley told TODAY Parents, “It was just a split second reaction ...There was nowhere to put Willow down at that point.” Sometimes being a mom means feeding your child and saving your pet all at the same time.

As for how she feels about running around topless in her underwear on camera, Oakley declared, “I could have been naked and I’m like, ‘whatever, I’m feeding my baby.’”

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