Though it can feel outside the norm not to share a bed with your partner, it's far from uncommon. In fact, the Better Sleep Council reports that 63% of couples sleep most of the night separately, with women being more sensitive to their sleep environment than men.
While many say they enjoy sleeping in the same bed with their partner because of feelings of safety and comfort, others who opt not to sleep side-by-side say getting their shut eye separately actually helps their relationships and sleeping habits.
Snoring, unsurprisingly, is a large factor in why many couples choose not to share a bed at night.
Loren Eisenlohr, Marketing Director, West Michigan Woman, often tells people that her marriage was saved when she and her husband began sleeping in separate beds when she was 30 weeks pregnant with their second child.
"I was uncomfortable in general and his sudden movements throughout the night were not helping," she explained. "We weren't necessarily on the rocks, but broken sleep will ruin everything. With two kids, we rarely have any 'me' time, so that period when we're alone before bed and in the morning is used to recharge as individuals."
But don't get it twisted. Sleeping separately doesn't mean their alone time together has disappeared.
"Our 'we' time hasn't been forgotten and intimacy hasn't waned," Eisenlohr said, noting they've actually become more intentional about spending time together as a couple.
According to Eisenlohr, it makes sense they continue to sleep in different beds. She's a night owl and light sleeper, while her husband is a deep sleeper who goes to bed early and "snores and wiggles around a lot."
"Due to the many differences in our sleep patterns and habits, we were often barking at each other throughout the night and waking up angry because of broken sleep. It's just not worth it," Eisenlohr said. "When I moved into the guest room, it felt glorious to do sleep my way and wake feeling fully rested. Why wouldn't I do that every night? My husband feels the same way."
Now, when the couple meets at the coffee pot in the morning, they're happy to see each other and both feel their best.
"It's easy to get caught up in what society says you're 'supposed' to do in a married relationship, but who made those 'rules' and how could they possibly be applicable to every couple?"
Ultimately, Eisenlohr says she and her husband have to do what works for them as individuals and as a couple.
"Marriage is hard and sleep is so important ... there's no need to complicate things with arbitrary societal norms."
Written by Sarah Suydam, Managing Editor for West Michigan Woman.
This article originally appeared in the Feb/Mar '22 issue of West Michigan Woman.