Why not sharing a bed could improve your relationship

Once you get over the stigma, sleeping apart could be your ticket to a better night sleep and a stronger bond.
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Society dictates that couples are supposed to share a bed. Our parents did it. Their parents did it.

However, as relationship expert Dr Gabrielle Morrissey reveals, many people actually sleep apart – the Queen and Prince Philip among them – and find their marriage is much happier for it, even if they don’t talk about it at dinner parties.

The reasons people might have for sleeping separately vary, but the driving force remains the same – to get a good night’s rest.

“Sleep is fundamental for your health and wellbeing, and if you don’t get enough, your relationship may suffer,” warns Gabrielle.

There are many situations in which sleeping separately makes sense. Whether it’s because of your partner’s relentless snoring, bed-hogging or tossing and turning, or something more lifestyle-related, such as shiftwork, Gabrielle says couples are increasingly open to experimenting with the idea of having their own bed space to avoid clashing over trivial sleep-related issues.

“Sleeping apart doesn’t mean you love each other any less,” she stresses. “You can still be in love and sleep in separate beds – you just have to come to terms with the fact that it’s okay to do so.”

Change your midset

Ignore any preconceived notions about relationships. Traditionally, people have felt uncomfortable about sleeping in separate beds for fear of being judged.

Gabrielle says we’re entering an era in which it’s acceptable to be in a relationship and not feel like you need to occupy the same space night after night. “It doesn’t necessarily mean there’s something wrong in the relationship,” she tells.

“It could be that one or both of you simply need more alone time.”

Find a solution

If sleeping apart seems like the best option, it’s crucial both people are on board with the new arrangements – don’t just set yourself up in the guest room one evening and hope for the best!

“It shouldn’t come as a shock,” insists Gabrielle. Sleeping solo needs to be planned together slowly because it’s a major life change.

“There’s a difference between consciously deciding to sleep in different rooms and not letting it affect the intimacy in the relationship and finding out that you’ve grown apart and want to have separate spaces.”

Have a frank conversation about what needs to change so both of you can sleep better and be clear that it’s not a form of rejection.

Prioritise spending time together

Just because you choose to sleep separately, it doesn’t mean your relationship will lose its spark.

“Having a regular date night will ensure there’s romance in your lives and offset your alone time so you stay connected with your partner,” explains Gabrielle. Likewise, don’t completely give up on sharing a bed together – it’s still the perfect place for cuddling, pillow talk and, of course, sex.

“Some couples may reserve one partner’s room just for sex and the other to chat and unwind,” she adds. “They’re personal things to work through.”

Other ways to enjoy each other’s company include going for long walks, sharing a hobby or meeting for lunch.

When you spend enough time together throughout the day, you may find you don’t need to be in the same bed. And when you do get together to be intimate, the anticipation could produce fireworks!

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