I think that sounds kind of lonely. But apparently it works for some people – a lot of people. A New York Times article recently delved into the prevalence of the practice:
Nearly one in four American couples sleep in separate bedrooms or beds, the National Sleep Foundation reported in a 2005 survey. Recent studies in England and Japan have found similar results. And the National Association of Home Builders says it expects 60 percent of custom homes to have dual master bedrooms by 2015.
(Nerd note: to satisfy my own statistical curiosity, I want to know precisely what types relationships constitute a couple and how they were found.) Regardless, that seems like a high proportion. The article goes on to explore different reasons why this occurs. They bring up issues of children sleeping in the bed, technology disrupting late nights or early mornings, and other annoyances:
Separate sleepers cite a bevy of reasons for their habit, including apnea, restless leg syndrome, his insistence on watching “SportsCenter,” her need to get up early for yoga. As Barbara Tober, the former chairwoman of the Museum of Arts and Design, told The New York Times recently, “Not that we don’t love each other, but at a certain point you just want your own room.”
To me, this brings up an interesting aspect of modern relationships. Could sleeping together be an antiquated part of relationships that is on its way out? Perhaps trends like getting married later in life are contributing to a people being older and more established when they find a partner, making the idea of just dealing with someone else’s idiosyncrasies unpalatable. Originally, I imagine sleeping together was pretty important because that’s where sex happened (thus the whole sleeping together euphemism I suppose), but it’s hard to say whether or not that still holds. The NYT does later cite a psychiatry professor at University of Minnesota who claims that sex happens more frequently when couples share a bed (not a revolutionary discovery, methinks).
This discussion also makes me curious as to the number of couples who actually both want to sleep in separate beds. I imagine that rarely are both parties completely thrilled about the arrangement. I just imagine that suggestion coming from one person who has specific needs and the other person is just letting it go.
What do you think? Do you think the ideo of sleeping in the same bed is an antiquated idealistic notion? Or do you think these couples are selfishly choosing their own space over the health of their relationships?