Ever been rudely awoken by an elbow in the back or a kick in the shins? Or found yourself trying to quietly ease your partner out of the cosy blanket burrito they’ve made themselves, leaving you shivering, without disturbing them? Or thrown all politeness out the window and thwacked them in the head with a pillow after listening to their snores for half an hour? Yes, even for the most in-love couples, sharing a bed can be tricky. But with many people being certain that separate beds spell ultimate failure as a couple, it’s tempting to just carry on, often at the expense of a decent night’s sleep.
Of course, you might not need to take such a big step as sleeping separately to resolve your sleeping differences. Investing in two sets of bedding can solve a cover-hogging problem, and you can try to ease snoring by quitting smoking, losing weight, or lying on your side.
Upgrading from a double to a super king size mattress will give you each a whole nine inches of extra space to spread out. If one of you is particularly restless, a latex, memory foam or pocket sprung mattress will allow you both to move freely without disturbing each other, including getting out of bed for middle-of-the-night bathroom runs! Then there’s zip-and-link mattresses, which are made up of two separate single or small single mattresses. If one of you prefers a firmer sleeping surface, you can order each side in different tensions.
But sometimes, that’s just not enough, and you may decide that one of you is going to have to move out, either to a separate bed or all the way across the hall. There’s no need to fear that it’s a sign of your relationship breaking down, though. Many couples who sleep separately say that their relationship has only improved as a result of the change. It might be hard to get past the perceived loss of intimacy, but in reality, with neither of you being disturbed by the other’s nocturnal quirks, you’ll not only avoid waking up in a bad mood with each other, but you’ll feel happier and more energised overall. Since you can no longer take it for granted that you’ll spend every night together, you’re more likely to want to channel your newfound energy into your relationship when you’re awake.
The idea of sleeping apart can be a bit daunting, and it’s certainly not for everybody. But with the number of couples who sleep separately now estimated as one in four and rising, it seems it’s no longer confined to 50s sitcoms.