Reading: Take a Sleepcation from Your Spouse

Health

Take a Sleepcation from Your Spouse

Separate bedrooms let you have a divide-and-conquer approach to sleep

By Catherine LeFebvre

Man and woman in separate beds in the 1950s
Photo from 1950 Simmons BeautyRest ad

I love my husband. No really, I do. But wow is he a giant who takes up most of the bed. Who also snores like a beast. And lets the dog sleep with us. And lately — and I have no idea how this happens — I wake up and find the top sheet coiled up into one long strip and wrapped around my neck. I’m starting to worry that he’s trying to kill me.

Homicidal tendencies aside, I know he’s not the only one to blame for our bad sleep. I like to go to bed early and have been described as a “militant cuddler” on more than one occasion. He’s a night owl who gets too hot to touch anything, let alone a human, while sleeping.

The Better Sleep Council reports that, on average, one in three Americans believes their partner has a negative effect on their sleep, so clearly we’re not alone in our sleep saga. It seems like sleeping together night after night isn’t the blissful dream most couples want it to be.

“I do think it’s kind of strange that we have evolved to sleep together,” says Dr. W. Chris Winter, author of The Sleep Solution: Why Your Sleep is Broken and How to Fix It. “I don’t necessarily feel the urge to do other things together, like, ‘let’s sit in the same chair, honey, and eat from the same plate.’ Even our bathrooms have two different sinks.”

To get a little more rest, Dr. Winter recommends taking a “sleepcation” from your spouse. You pick a night or two a week that you decide to sleep apart. That way you can both get a good night’s sleep, and you remove any guilt that might come with storming off to the couch because you’ve been awakened at 3 am.

“It’s a sensitive topic,” Dr. Winter says. “I work in the South, so I get a lot of uncomfortable looks when I bring it up. I almost feel like they look at you like, ‘why? so YOU can sleep with her?’”

The idea is a little shocking at first. Before talking to Dr. Winter, I believed that sleeping together had a direct correlation to the amount a couple loves each other. Can you really sleep apart and still remain close?

Dr. Winter insists taking a sleepcation doesn’t mean you don’t love your partner, or don’t want to be with them. It’s just that people need to sleep and do what’s right for their shut-eye. And what’s right isn’t necessarily to have some giant guy breathing over you. I feel so seen.  

“Maybe Tuesdays and Thursdays you sleep apart. Then every night you’re not deciding how much you love each other — it’s just a built-in thing,” says Dr. Winter. “And it’s also kinda fun on Wednesday night when you get back together again.”

So it turns out Lucy and Ricky had the right idea.

For other help with sleep Join Nest with Covey or Rule the Roost for immediate access to our private chat room in our CoveyConnect app called, “Up at 3 AM”.  For other Covey articles on sleep see: “It’s 3 AM. Why are You Waking Up?”, “4 Weird Sleep Tricks that Work“, “My Sleep Rules” and “The One Beauty Treatment Every Woman Over 40 Needs.”


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