• Friday, January 27, 2023

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Couples can drive health benefits from sleeping apart, say experts

“While it may be a growing trend, it’s still seen as a taboo subject that elicits a concerned and often judgemental response.”

 

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By: Kimberly Rodrigues

While the idea of sleeping in separate bedrooms was once reserved for couples in sexless marriages and soon-to-be-divorced couples, apparently this trend is now becoming a more attractive option for plenty of couples in healthy, happy, relationships.

Recently, a tweet that went viral has sparked an intense debate over whether it’s better for couples to sleep in separate bedrooms.

A Twitter user who goes by the handle @gaialect is quoted as saying, “I think I will want separate bedrooms when I’m married. Unless maybe if the bed is super big… No, but even so, like, we can decorate our own rooms the way we want and have sleepovers.

“I just feel like we would thrive in our spaces decorated the way we like.”

Experts are of the opinion that sleeping in separate bedrooms could be hugely beneficial to couples, especially those who are grappling with different sleep disorders and sleeping patterns that are not allowing each other to have a good night’s sleep, the Independent reports.

According to a 2021 poll, a third of American couples prefer sleeping alone. Widespread patterns of poor sleep can be hard on your relationship informs a study published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology and as mentioned in an earlier report in The Healthy.

Some experts suggest that this trend of sleeping in separate bedrooms may actually help partners to stay together. This is because according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, insufficient sleep is a growing public health issue.

Additionally, a GP specialist in sleep and mental health and mindset coach, Dr Hana Patel, informs that some couples may find that sleeping in separated bedrooms improves their relationships. Though, it’s also possible that this arrangement may not suit all couples.

Loud snoring and other sleep disorders like sleep apnea or nightmares can reportedly affect the quality of sleep by not allowing the other person to sleep.

Another cause for poor sleep habits could be the adjustments to having young children at home.

Dr Patel adds, “For people with young children, it might be that one parent needs to repeatedly get up to feed or soothe the child, therefore interrupting the other person’s sleep and resulting in both parents not getting enough rest.”

Contrasting sleep habits may also affect a couple’s ability to sleep in the same room.

Dorothy Chambers, a sleep expert at Sleep Junkie, explains, “You might like to fall asleep to relaxing music, while your partner may prefer a sensory blackout. And then there’s snoring, sleep apnea, body heat, clashing schedules, and ongoing battles for the covers. Sometimes, it can be impossible to settle on a nighttime routine that suits both parties.”

According to the expert, in such circumstances, it may be worth trying sleeping in separate bedrooms, for both parties to be able to get a chance to experience some interruption-free, high-quality sleep.

Dr Patel is quoted as saying, “Sleep is so important to us, and not getting enough of it can lead to poor mental and physical health. For some couples, sleeping apart can be the best thing for their relationship.”

Some studies have reportedly shown that couples living together are opting to sleep in different bedrooms.

A 2021 study in France shows that 10% of couples who live together sleep in different bedrooms. Additionally, a 2019 study conducted by the Sleep Health Foundation discovered that 17% of more than 2000 couples in Australia reportedly slept in separate bedrooms.

Experts have, however, acknowledged that some couples may be skeptical to sleep apart because they may be worried about a loss of intimacy or missing out on the opportunity to check in with one another before going to sleep or after waking up.

Chambers is quoted as saying, “While it may be a growing trend, it’s still seen as a taboo subject that elicits a concerned and often judgemental response. Sharing a bed with a partner is traditionally seen as an expression of relationship bliss, but in reality, sharing a bed can be a struggle – no matter how much you love one another.

“We all know just how important sleep is to our mental and physical health, and if ditching the age-old idea that you must share a bed with your partner helps you get a quality night’s rest, then I’d encourage people to explore this option. But aside from improving sleep – which is associated with brain function, emotional wellbeing, and a stronger immune system, to name a few – prioritising sleep can create a greater connection between couples, reduce bickering and arguments, provide more ‘me time’ and improve communication.”

Dr Patel advises, “If losing intimacy is something you’re worried about, have a discussion with one another to find other moments and ways of making sure you’re keeping in touch with one another.”

She adds, “Maybe have a cup of tea together before going to your separate rooms to sleep, or make sure you spend a bit of time together first thing in the morning. It’s all about eking those moments out to ensure you’re still getting quality time together as well as sleep.”

 

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