More

This couple is very much in love. That's why they sleep separately.

Just because sharing a bed is considered the cultural norm, doesn't mean it's always the best option.

Melissa Bunker has been sleepwalking since she was a little kid.

It was harmless enough at first. She has silly stories, like the time in college when she walked around her dorm, took all the pictures off the wall, and then crammed them into the fridge.

After Melissa got married and began sharing a bed with her husband, Leon, the stories got stranger. One night, she woke up in the hospital and was told she had driven, in her sleep, from her home in North Carolina to the border of South Carolina.


Her sleepwalking, combined with Leon's snoring ("He sounds like a werewolf in heat," Melissa says), means there aren't many restful nights for the pair.

Image via iStock.

Eventually, Melissa's excessive sleepwalking, or somnambulism, was diagnosed as a symptom of sleep apnea, a serious disorder that occurs when a person's breathing is disrupted during sleep, often causing snoring.

After working with a sleep disorder specialist and getting CPAP treatment, Melissa is often able to spend a full night in bed.

But even with the diagnosis, Melissa and her husband don't share a bed every single night.

Melissa says she doesn't like the general judgment society seems to have about the practice of a couple sleeping in separate beds.

"It works for me and my husband," Melissa says. "What's more socially acceptable nowadays? Multiple partners in one bed or multiple beds with one partner?"

Image courtesy of Everett Collection.

Perhaps the instinct to judge co-sleeping — and deciding not to — is a result of popular culture, suggests Lisa Medalie, a behavioral sleep medicine specialist at the University of Chicago.

"Interestingly, co-sleeping with a spouse was not always the norm," she says. "If you look back to television shows from the '60s, for example, shows like 'Dick Van Dyke' showed separate beds for the spouses in the bedroom. At this point in time, sitcoms largely show spouses sleeping in the same bed."

Image via CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images.

About 1 in 4 couples sleep separately, according to a survey from the National Sleep Foundation. And more recent surveys indicate that number could be climbing.

With so many couples sleeping apart, it's hard to understand why the phenomenon is associated with shame.

Part of it may be in the assumption there is no sexual intimacy, but Melissa says for Leon and her, that's not true at all. She wouldn't see Leon for long stretches of time while he was in an active duty military post. "Was I lonely? Yes. But did our intimacy wane? Absolutely not."

"Intimacy is going to be a case by case study," Melissa continues. "You can have someone who has a picturesque relationship — same bed or different country, they'll have that bond."

Just because sharing a bed is considered the norm, it's not necessarily better or more healthy.

"It would be great if people were more comfortable talking about things that troubled them so that others going through the same thing did not feel alone with their struggle," Medalie says.

We use beds to get a good night's sleep. You do not need to share a bed to have a loving and intimate relationship, but you do need a good night's sleep to be a high-functioning, happy partner.

"If a couple simply prefers to sleep separately, there is no need to feel wrong or bad about that preference," Medalie says, freeing us all from cultural judgment.

There you have it, doctor's orders.

Former President George W. Bush and current president Donald Trump may both be Republicans but they have contrasting views when it comes to immigration.

Trump has been one of the most anti-immigrant presidents of recent memory. His Administration separated undocumented families at the border, placed bans on travelers from majority-Muslim countries, and he's proudly proclaimed, "Our country is full."

George W. Bush's legacy on immigration is a bit more nuanced. He ended catch-and-release and called for heightened security at the U.S.-Mexico border, but he also championed an immigration bill that created a guest worker program and a pathway to citizenship for undocumented people.

Unfortunately, that bill did not pass.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Picsea on Unsplash
True

It is said that once you've seen something, you can't unsee it. This is exactly what is happening in America right now. We have collectively watched the pot of racial tension boil over after years of looking the other way, insisting that hot water doesn't exist, pretending not to notice the smoke billowing out from every direction.

Ignoring a problem doesn't make it go away—it prolongs resolution. There's a whole lot of harm to be remedied and damage to be repaired as a result of racial injustice, and it's up to all of us to figure out how to do that. Parents, in particular, are recognizing the importance of raising anti-racist children; if we are unable to completely eradicate racism, maybe the next generation will.

How can parents ensure that the next generation will actively refuse to perpetuate systems and behaviors embedded in racism? The most obvious answer is to model it. Take for example, professional tennis player Serena Williams and her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.

Keep Reading Show less

I saw this poster today and I was going to just let it go, but then I kept feeling tugged to say something.

Melanie Cholish/Facebook

While this poster is great to bring attention to the issue of child trafficking, it is a "shocking" picture of a young girl tied up. It has that dark gritty feeling. I picture her in a basement tied to a dripping pipe.

While that sounds awful, it's important to know that trafficking children in the US is not all of that. I can't say it never is—I don't know. What I do know is most young trafficked children aren't sitting in a basement tied up. They have families, and someone—usually in their family—is trafficking them.

Keep Reading Show less

Roland Pollard and his 4-year-old daughter Jayden have been doing cheer and tumbling stunts together since Jayden could walk. When you see videos of their skills, the level of commitment is apparent—as is the supportive relationship this daddy has with his daughter.

Pollard, a former competitive cheerleader and cheer coach, told In The Know that he didn't expect Jayden to catch on to her flying skills at age 3, but she did. He said he never pressures her to perform stunts and that she enjoys it. And as a viral video of Jayden almost falling during a stunt shows, excelling at a skill requires good teaching—something Pollard appears to have mastered.

Keep Reading Show less