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couples sleeping in separate 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.

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