Wondering what it means if you have difficulty sharing a bed with someone you love?
There are loads of pundits who are happy to diagnose the state of your relationship based on how closely entwined you are during sleep. Never mind snoring, different waking times or one’s-hot-one’s-cold...one set of commenters says that if you sleep face to face very close together, that proves you’re really in love. Another interpreter says that back to back with a gap signifies a healthier relationship because you have a balance of independence and intimacy. Another asserts that “more than an inch gap” between butts means trouble.
Sheesh. What some people really want to know is, what does it mean when you not only don’t spoon all night, but if you had your druthers you’d rather not share a bed at all? It’s a secret yearning that many people (about 15% to 25%, according to different studies) disguise from their partners. And from others, too. It might be due to fear of social scrutiny—from worrywart in-laws who’d assume separate beds mean a separation’s in the offing, or from friends who’re often sure they know more about your relationship than you do. Or it might be simple concern about hurting your partner’s feelings.
Depends on the meaning of meaning
What if you’re happily coupled but struggling to get enough sleep? Or you took the guest bed one night when your mate had a cold and slept fabulously for the first time in ages? It’s a shame to feel shame about it. All it really means is, some couples can share beds comfortably and happily with good sleep for both individuals, and others can’t. That’s it.
Here’s the healthiest approach: ignore others’ assumptions about the health of your relationship and examine your own. If you sleep together soundly without temperature frustrations or distress over a partner’s snoring or restlessness, you have a bed and mattress that support your individual sleeping styles, and you both wake up well rested— you’re golden. And you’re also benefiting from extra bonding that is a very positive factor in a satisfying relationship.
All’s well in Snuggleville, and you can stop reading now.
Stuff the stigma
Stop worrying. Extra closeness can be created in loads of ways, as any lovebird or couples therapist will tell you. Successful relationships with satisfying intimacy are about openness, love and good communication as much as about literally sleeping together all night. It’s wonderful if it works for you, but if it doesn’t, there’s no need to feel badly. (And you’re not alone—many tuned-in home builders today offer an option of two connected master suites.)
Contented separate sleepers often point out that well-rested people are much more likely to be affectionate, sexually intimate, and ready to connect. As people get older and sleep more lightly, for some, separate sleeping actually helps keep those sparks alive. Whatever your age and however you sleep best, getting enough rest is a relationship priority.
Another couple-friendly option
If you think you might benefit from sleeping more independently but don’t want separate beds or rooms, consider an adjustable bed (also called an adjustable base or foundation) with side-by-side natural latex mattresses. These flex and perform perfectly on adjustable bases. Split-Queen mattresses are available and two Twin Longs make a King. A California King base can also be topped with half-size mattresses.
An adjustable base allows autonomy-for-two within one bed. You can raise the head or foot on your side to the position you find most comfortable for reading or sleep—and still enjoy easy connection and closeness with your partner. (Hint: It lowers flat at the touch of a remote. And if you still care what a nosey parker might think, your secret’s safe—when the bed is made it looks like any other.)
Wherever or however you sleep, what matters is to sleep well—both of you!