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What Works For You: Separate Beds Or Double?

OK, so there’s no hard and fast rule to this – some may prefer the intimacy of sleeping together in a double bed while other couples get a much better night’s sleep in separate beds.

The trick, though, to a successful relationship is talking through what might be best – and that might not be the traditional way you’ve been doing it for years.

We want to be together

There’s plenty of research to show that couples who sleep close to each other enjoy happier and more fulfilled lives – in 2014 the newspapers were full of the research by University of Hertfordshire psychologist Professor Richard Wiseman, who said “One of the most important differences involved touching, with 94% of couples who spent the night in contact with one another were happy with their relationship, compared to just 68% of those that didn't touch.”

In addition, the further apart the couple spent the night, the worse their relationship, with 86% of those who slept less than an inch apart from their partner being happy with their relationship, compared to only 66% of those who slept more than 30 inches apart.

Chances are, none of those enjoying a touchy-feely night’s sleep had a partner who snored!

Growing apart

But on the other hand, there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence for people who saved their marriage or changed their relationship for the better by branching out and buying a separate bed.

Dr Neil Stanley told the British Science Fair in 2009 that not only did he and his wife sleep in separate beds, but avoiding the fidgeting, duvet-wars and snoring can make a huge impact on a couple’s health and the relationship because poor sleep increases the risk of stroke, heart disease and divorce.

And according to Jill Goldson, writing in the New Zealand Herald last year, “According to the National Sleep Foundation, a growing number of American couples sleep in separate bedrooms - studies in England and Japan reveal a similar trend. The reasons given for sleeping in separate beds range from differing bedtime habits (43 per cent), to snoring, (36 per cent), to general preference (20 per cent).”

She did however add that balance and communication were the key and that “Whilst separate beds can solve immediate sleep problems it is important that we stay conscious of the potential unintended consequences - like rejection, hurt, frustration and anger. Lack of intimacy can create a distance in our key relationships and it is all too easy to let tiredness - and then habit - creep into our living arrangements.”

And for an entertaining read about how separate beds saved two women’s relationships, this article in the Express is perfect: perfect sample quote – “My grandma once explained that it was because grandpa snored and kept her awake but now I’m in my 40s, having been married for 12 years, I can testify that there are a lot more benefits to separate beds than a lack of snoring.”