It's a problem a lot of couples face.
The marital bed is a symbol of the intimacy shared between people who’ve decided to be together 'til death they do part. When couples sleep together it’s an expression of their closeness and how they care for one another when they are most vulnerable.
However, for some couples, the marital bed can be a warzone. Throughout the night couples can endure snoring, sleep apnea, the ongoing battle for sheets or circadian rhythms that never seem to sync. If one person likes to fall asleep with the TV on while the other reads a book, it can be impossible to come to an agreement on a good-night routine.
Last week on TODAY, host Carson Daly reminded viewers that he and his wife Siri, a TODAY Food contributor, had a sleep divorce while she was pregnant with their fourth child.
“I was served my sleep-divorce papers a few years ago,” he explained on TODAY. “It’s the best thing that ever happened to us. We both, admittedly, slept better apart.”
“We're both pretty good-sized humans and it just wasn't really working when she was in her third trimester, and I also have sleep apnea, which is very sexy for the ladies out there, I'm sure,” Carson told People at the time. “She couldn't get comfortable, so we were like a commercial you would see, kicking each other and just not sleeping.
“We woke up and we just shook hands like, ‘I love you, but it's time to sleep divorce. It'll be the best thing for all of us,’” he added.
The Dalys’ admission was brave, being that a lot of people associate a couple’s intimacy with their ability to share a bed together. It was probably also a relief to countless couples who feel like they’re the only ones struggling to sleep together.
Upworthy’s Heather Wake described the stress that co-sleeping put on her relationship in a revealing article earlier this year.
\u201cCould a "sleep divorce" save your relationship?\n\n@DrOz joins us to share how the growing trend can actually help keep the love alive.\u201d— TODAY (@TODAY) 1573133783
A sleep divorce may be working for the Dalys, but is it right for everyone?
Wendy M. Troxel Ph.D., a behavioral and social scientist known for her work on sleep and health, believes that couples like the Dalys do right by putting their relationship first.
“Here’s what the science actually tells us about the costs and benefits of sleeping together or apart. When sleep is measured objectively, people actually sleep worse with a partner. In fact, if you sleep with someone who snores, you can blame them for up to 50 percent of your sleep disruptions,” she wrote for TED Ideas.
Troxel points out that even when people suffer from sleep deprivation due to their partner, they still say they prefer sleeping with them versus spending the night alone. She ascribed this opinion to people taking on societal expectations instead of looking at their relationship objectively. “This suggests that our social brain is prioritizing our need for closeness and security at night—even when it comes at a cost to our sleep,” she wrote for TED Ideas.
The Dalys’ admission and Troxel’s research suggest that, in the end, the most important thing is for both partners to get a good night’s sleep, whether that means sleeping in separate beds or in separate rooms. “Just as sleeping together doesn’t guarantee a successful relationship—if only it were that easy!—sleeping apart doesn’t doom you to an unsuccessful one,” Troxel writes.
'We do not accept any abuse in this kitchen.'
Anyone who's worked in a restaurant will know how intense it can be, especially in the kitchen. It’s hot, the cooks are stressed, someone’s always yelling about something and dishes, well, sometimes they end up broken. In upscale restaurants the pressure is even higher, so when this chef began to explain how he turned his kitchen around to be more harmonious and less chaotic, I stopped to listen.
In this short two-minute video, Chef Eric Ripert, who was trained in France, explains the toxic and abusive training he received that molded the way he worked. When he was in charge of his current restaurant, he simply repeated the abusive pattern. He tells Entrepreneur that he had been yelled at, had dishes thrown to the floor and was even punched in the shoulder. While Ripert says he has never physically assaulted his staff, he did admit to being verbally abusive and throwing dishes. He also noted that not only was his staff miserable but he was as well, and something had to change.
Coming to the realization that misery indeed enjoyed company, he decided to turn things around. No more yelling and certainly no more throwing dishes in the kitchen that he ran. Ripert leaned into kindness and patience to reach a place of mutual respect with the other staff. The new system isn’t perfect because people are human, and in a high stress environment, tempers can flare. But Ripert has a solution for those human moments: apologies.
We could all learn a thing or two from this chef’s transformation and surely his kitchen staff is thankful for the shift in environment.
"I'm leaving in hopes that I can regain the ability to do the job that I love."
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.
In a video carried by Fox5 Atlanta, 2022 Gwinnett County Public Schools Teacher of the Year Lee Allen breaks down what he sees as the overriding problems in the county's school system. While his comments are specific to that of Gwinnett County, it's virtually impossible to not see the overlap across all of America and how the problems have become exponentially more challenging as students have migrated back to in-person learning.
"At the end of this year, I will be leaving Gwinnett County Schools, leaving behind the opportunity to submit for state teacher of the year, roughly $10,000 in salary, and most importantly, the students and colleagues I've built strong relationships with," Allen, a math teacher at Lawrenceville's Archer High School, says at the beginning of his remarks. "I'm leaving in hopes that I can regain the ability to do the job that I love."
Normally, one might assume teacher pay is the overriding issue for educators like Allen. But he makes it clear that he is, in fact, leaving money on the table to avoid what he deems as unacceptable changes to the student body and how the district manages its teachers and the learning environment. Here are his main grievances, in order:
- "First issue at hand is student apathy and disrespect for school rules and norms. … We have an alarming number of students that simply do not care about learning and refuse to even try."
- "We are also experiencing incredible disrespect and refusal to follow basic school rules. There is little to no accountability or expectation for grades or behavior placed on students or parents. Rather than being asked what the student can do to improve their understanding, teachers are expected to somehow do more with less student effort."
- Cell phone use. Teachers simply cannot compete with the billions of dollars tech companies pour into addicting people to their devices. Phones allow constant communication, often being the spark that fuels fights, drug use and other inappropriate meetups throughout the day. We need a comprehensive district plan with support behind it in order to combat this epidemic and protect the learning environment."
- "Lastly, there is a huge disconnect between administrators and teachers. The classroom in 2022 is drastically different from just three years ago. Most administrators have not been in a classroom full-time in years or even decades. Many teachers do not feel understood, valued or trusted as professionals from administrators and the decisions that they make."
While Allen points fingers at administrators and student behavior, he also says that the pressures put on both students and teachers alike by COVID-19 had a catastrophic impact on learning. "The pandemic has acted as a catalyst and turned a slow negative trend into an exponential crisis," he says.
But he also offers some solutions, stating, "I won't list complaints without offering ideas for improvement."
- All administrators should spend at least one week in a high needs classroom, "without a suit, without people knowing your title and in the same room, all day, for an entire week."
- Prioritizing smaller class sizes.
- Greater transparency from the district in terms of needs and expectations and goals.
"We all want the same thing and we cannot accomplish this without supporting one another," he says near the end of his remarks.
With more than 400,000 views already, it's clear his remarks resonated with people not just inside his school district.
There's almost nothing more important than how we educate our children. And while the national political debate centers on areas of far less importance generated to gin up controversy and campaign fundraising, it's families and local leaders who will need to do the heavy lifting of reprioritizing the fundamental principles of learning and leadership if we want an American educational system that can compete on the global stage in 2022 and beyond. After all, when literal award-winning educators like Allen are walking away, it's clear something more needs to be done.