If you are contemplating sleeping single in a double bed or wondering how hard it would be to turn your home office into another bedroom, you aren’t alone.  Research has shown that couples who share a bed experience 50% more sleep disturbances and disruptions than those that don’t.

For some couples the problem is snoring paired with light sleep.  For others the difficulties stem from environmental preferences like how cold or warm the room is or if there is light or sound from a television or radio.  One partner might be a notorious cover thief while the other tosses and turns incessantly all night long.

Regardless of the reason, more and more couples are seeking the refuge of separate bedrooms in order to get the sleep they need.  While this practice still seems strange to most, the separate sleepers have thousands of years of history on their side.  In fact, couples have only been routinely sharing the same bed for a little over a century.  Originally, it wasn’t sex, snuggling, or intimacy that convinced many a man and wife to share a bed, it was space.  As people migrated to urban areas during the industrial revolution, families found themselves living in smaller and smaller spaces.  Sharing a bed was a practicality rather than a romantic gesture.

So, why is it so hard for us to let go of the romance and face the reality?  It might be that we are so sleep deprived, the thought never occurs to us.  Or, more likely, it is because in our society, married couples only sleep apart when they have problems.  Even though there are many happily married couples that could bust that myth, most of us hold onto it as some sacred truth of marriage.  Secretly, most of us would wonder if there was something “wrong” if our spouse broached the topic of sleeping separately.

But if you aren’t getting the sleep you need, you need to do something.  Sleep is such an essential part of good health that your risk of developing some really serious diseases can go up simply by not getting enough sleep.  The National Sleep Foundation recommends getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night to maintain your health and if your partner is making that impossible, it is time to take action.

If your partner is keeping you up at night, sleeping in separate beds is not the only option.  First, you need to pinpoint the problem.  Is their snoring keeping you up or do they toss and turn?  Is it an environmental preference or the battle of the blankets?  Once you understand the reasons you are struggling to sleep, try these tips and tricks for getting the sleep you need without having to outfit a whole new bedroom.

  1. If they snore, try ear plugs.
  2. If you are fighting over blankets, use two, one for each of you.
  3. If they need noise and you need silence, try ear plugs.
  4. If you need light and they need pitch black, buy them a sleep mask.
  5. If you want to read and he wants to sleep, try synchronizing your schedules.