“I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I'm awake"
August 1, 2019 6:02 AM   Subscribe

Is it time for a sleep divorce? “While there are benefits to sleeping together, one partner’s troublesome sleeping or annoying bed habits can affect the other and increase production of the stress hormone cortisol, thus causing issues that impact the couple as a whole”

"A 2012 survey by the Better Sleep Council showed that one in four couples sleeps separately for a better night’s sleep. Yet 46 percent of 2,000 Americans polled last year by the marketing research company OnePoll on behalf of the bedding retailer Slumber Cloud said they wished they could sleep apart from their partner."
posted by mecran01 (92 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
 
I can attest that sleeping next to someone with RLS can be pretty stressful, especially if you sometimes have insomnia. A wider bed seems to help quite a lot, though.
posted by pipeski at 6:09 AM on August 1, 2019 [4 favorites]


California king or gtfo (of my bed)
posted by Reyturner at 6:16 AM on August 1, 2019 [14 favorites]


This article could not be more timely. I've been using a dental appliance the last couple of months because I snore and my wife insists we sleep together. I hate it : I wake up in pain every morning, and sometimes once or twice in the night too.

If you've successfully convinced your wife to sleep apart from you, how did you do it?
posted by meaty shoe puppet at 6:28 AM on August 1, 2019 [2 favorites]


I'm newly coupled after mostly not being for a long time. It was certainly an adjustment but a California king helped a lot! I like to think I'm a very supportive partner except I don't go over and sleep on her extremely saggy queen much because we both end up inevitably sucked into the vortex middle.

Still, sleeping alone is great! I sleep like a total weirdo too so hisssssss, no one should see my shame. (Mask, ear plugs, mouth guard, blankets pulled over my head so I resemble a babushka only the little scarf is all the way around her face except her mouth.)
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 6:45 AM on August 1, 2019 [10 favorites]


It could be worse: you could be married to the kind of psychopath who doesn't think you need consistent sides of the bed.
posted by Etrigan at 6:50 AM on August 1, 2019 [41 favorites]


I'm always the one who is not sleeping enough because the other one e.g. has incompatible habits or has to get up ungodly early while I don't have to. I'll start out in our/their bed and then move to a different one the first time I wake up. If I'm taking melatonin, that's when I take it. Occasionally I've gotten static for this but I just point out that lack of sleep is a serious health issue. I spent a few months feeling like absolute crap every day because my partner made a lot of noise and got up very early, and I was having these terrible nights just for the chance of maybe waking up next to them. When we go on vacation and sleep in the same bed in a hotel, it all comes back.
posted by BibiRose at 6:55 AM on August 1, 2019 [2 favorites]


I don’t understand the love for the California King: it’s 4 inches narrower than a traditional King (72”Wx84”L, compared to 76”Wx80”L). I understand preferring the CA King if it’s a height thing, but if you need more room in a bed with a partner, traditional King is the mattress size best suited to that.

Having said that, moving from a Queen mattress to a traditional King-sized one was one of the best adjustments that my wife and I made, a couple of years into our marriage. (And if you’re one of two adults sharing a Queen mattress, you each have less room than if you had your own Twin mattresses!)
posted by LooseFilter at 6:57 AM on August 1, 2019 [11 favorites]


Something I said to my husband last week: "We have a three bedroom house. Have you ever thought about what it would be like to have...three bedrooms?"

I'm a light sleeper who occasionally struggles with insomnia. My husband is a heavy, active sleeper who has a tendency towards snoring (he doesn't do it ALL the time, but when he does it brings the damn house down). I dream about separate bedrooms, but... when I was in college I dated this abusive jackwagon who had untreated sleep apnea, snored like a freight train and also was a fairly large human but he INSISTED I share his college dorm twin bed every single night, or I didn't really love him. I spent a solid year in a fog of sleep deprivation (which it now occurs to me was perhaps on purpose because it made me so much easier to control). But now I've got this ingrained thing where if I suggest I don't share a bed with my mate, he will think I don't love him. Even though my husband is not abusive and very understanding about my sleep issues. And on our recent family vacation we spent many nights not sharing a bed because we kept winding up in locations with Full sized beds (NO. THIS IS NOT A BED SIZE THAT TWO ADULTS SHOULD BE SHARING. NO NO NO I REFUSE.) and having to blow up the extra blow up bed that I'm very very glad we brought along so that we could both have some space.
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:59 AM on August 1, 2019 [11 favorites]


If it's about the snoring, get a CPAP. I hate sleeping alone and the CPAP machine saved our ability to co-sleep.
posted by whuppy at 7:17 AM on August 1, 2019 [4 favorites]


The wife and I agree that sometimes sleeping apart is great! The usual part it climb into one of the bed's together in the early hours for that all important half awake cuddling, after a good night's sleep. It's not every night, but if one of use wants a bed to themselves, it's a relief knowing either of us is supported in that decision.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:18 AM on August 1, 2019 [4 favorites]


Suffering from insomnia, running on a sleep shortage and trying to get to sleep next to someone snoring is a truly horrible experience. Its the most strain I have ever felt on a relationship and the other person can be utterly oblivious to it. Its possible to hate in the moment when you think they have stopped but then the next one starts.
posted by biffa at 7:18 AM on August 1, 2019 [6 favorites]


If I ever get into another serious romantic relationship (doubtful, but who knows) they need to be okay with separate bedrooms. This is non-negotiable.
posted by Automocar at 7:19 AM on August 1, 2019 [9 favorites]


I love the Lucy and Ricky picture. Perhaps making a good case for separate beds would include matching pajamas.
I kinda remember Ricky & Lucy in separate beds, but I really remember Rob & Laura in separate beds, and even the 10-year old me thought it was weird.

We always start out in the same bed, but my wife often tries a different bed (or 2) if she's having trouble sleeping. (I call it 'sleeping around') Sometimes I do, too.
Considering a King.
posted by MtDewd at 7:23 AM on August 1, 2019 [2 favorites]


I think if you're with someone, you care about them, and they need a separate bed to sleep in, you need to not be a jerk and let them sleep separately. You may just have to work harder to get cuddling in, but not that much harder.

I occasionally get a weird sleep thing where I must change rooms to actually go to sleep. So my criteria for couches is "can I sleep on this in the middle of the night if I have to." Had nothing to do with my partner, it was just me.
posted by emjaybee at 7:24 AM on August 1, 2019 [8 favorites]


the kind of psychopath who doesn't think you need consistent sides of the bed.

Is it really so wrong to refuse to have a side of the bed that is permanently "mine"?

Ownership is an illusion. The meaning of life is change. The nature of our universe is chaos. I just want to honor these truths in my everyday life, you domestic fascists.
posted by MiraK at 7:34 AM on August 1, 2019 [25 favorites]


I have a fun thing where I'm an insomniac, so I would generally toss and turn and read and maybe throw a podcast on or something, but when I have someone over I'm super hyper aware of how much I might be disturbing the poor person in bed with me so I wind up lying dead still staring at the ceiling or wall and it makes my insomnia even worse. Consistently sleeping alone was the first thing I realized I liked when I lived truly alone for the first time in my life.
posted by nevercalm at 7:43 AM on August 1, 2019 [6 favorites]


the kind of psychopath who doesn't think you need consistent sides of the bed.

Id be very curious to know if these folks also sat in different seats at meal times in their homes growing up. The pull of habit is strong.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 7:47 AM on August 1, 2019 [1 favorite]


Considering a King.

Just commenting to encourage you to get one! As I mentioned, that's been one of the best gifts we've given ourselves as a couple.

(That, and my wonderful CPAP machine that helps me to have the best, quietest sleep I've had since I was a child.)

(FWIW, I highly recommend this specific mattress.)
posted by LooseFilter at 7:47 AM on August 1, 2019 [4 favorites]


It could be worse: you could be married to the kind of psychopath who doesn't think you need consistent sides of the bed.

Let's see...(spins the big wheel)... tonight... I will sleep across the foot of the bed. You will sleep under the bed. Can't argue with the wheel, Cherie.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 7:54 AM on August 1, 2019 [23 favorites]


The figures come from “bedding retailer Slumber Cloud” and the Better Sleep Council, which says it is comprised of “bedding leaders and sleep experts who represent a cross-section of the sleep products industry“. I think these people are trying to sell you beds.

That said, I loooove sleeping alone. I woke up this morning with the baby on my right, the 5-year-old on my left, my husband on my far left and a cat at my feet. I love them all dearly but oh for the chance to stretch out diagonally across all the available sleep surface and snooze in blissful solitude.
posted by Catseye at 7:54 AM on August 1, 2019 [1 favorite]


A memory foam mattress has made a huge positive difference to my ability to share a bed with my husband. When I can't feel him rolling around on his side, I sleep so much better. Before that, I used to take the couch sometimes, but then I was at the mercy of my very rude cats, so my quality of sleep wasn't much better.
posted by merriment at 7:56 AM on August 1, 2019 [2 favorites]


Is it really so wrong to refuse to have a side of the bed that is permanently "mine"?

As long as you accept that your partner has a side of the bed that is permanently theirs and you do not attempt to alter that or interfere with that, perverted nihilism like you describe is strictly between you and the Lord.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 7:56 AM on August 1, 2019 [25 favorites]


Huh, despite the fact that I am a light sleeper (with a fun! collection of parasomnias) and my partner is a snorer, I pretty much hate sleeping alone. We have a queen and it's plenty large enough. We spoon pretty much all night. We solve temperature differences with layers of lightweight, drapey covers so that I can pull them up around my shoulders on my side and leave his side of the sheet/blankets puddled around his feet.
posted by desuetude at 7:58 AM on August 1, 2019 [2 favorites]


I love sleeping alone. I've never married, but I've had long term relationships where sleeping together was a regular thing. Nope. My partner and I sleep together on vacation, but we have separate residences currently and I do not encourage sleepovers. Even with a king bed.

Someday we'll likely move in together - we will likely have separate bedrooms at a minimum. My hope is we'll get a duplex and we'll each take a side.

We nap together often, and that's nice. But for "I've got to get up and have a brain in the morning" sleep, I sleep alone.
posted by jzb at 8:04 AM on August 1, 2019 [6 favorites]


We don’t sleep apart but we do have separate duvets, which my partner calls anti-cuddling duvets (he’s not a fan). I first encountered these in a hotel in Germany and I was an instant convert. FINALLY I could go the whole night without having my cover stolen by the duvet thief that sleeps next to me.
posted by antinomia at 8:12 AM on August 1, 2019 [7 favorites]


The key to a happy marriage, sleep-wise, by grumpybear69:

1. As noted by many, a California King is ideal, a queen is minimum.
2. The mattress should be really good at reducing or eliminating Sleep Motion Transfer (e.g. not bouncy) - AmeriSleep makes a great foam mattress for this purpose.
3. Separate blankets can help a lot.
4. Sometimes one of the two of you may need to sleep on the couch or a guest bed, and that's OK.
5. Always return for snuggles in the morning. (ARSIM)
posted by grumpybear69 at 8:15 AM on August 1, 2019 [2 favorites]


Some of the comments here are making me involuntarily shudder (spooning all night? no get the fuck off me and back to your side of the bed or preferably another state. Being surrounded on ALL sides by sleeping humans and animals? I would literally scream) and making me realize that I treat sleep as a health thing. Like yeah cuddle and take naps together, whatever, but when it's time for Serious Sleep I need you to vacate the premises immediately, thanks
posted by Automocar at 8:24 AM on August 1, 2019 [14 favorites]


We don’t sleep apart but we do have separate duvets, which my partner calls anti-cuddling duvets (he’s not a fan).

When I was pregnant, I started using a body pillow to sleep, and 8 years later that pillow is still the third member of my marriage. My husband resents it but at the same time the instant I am out of bed, he starts using it, because it is the ultimate in comfortable side-sleeping.
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:24 AM on August 1, 2019 [11 favorites]


Being surrounded on ALL sides by sleeping humans and animals? I would literally scream

I tried, it wakes them all up.
posted by Catseye at 8:27 AM on August 1, 2019 [39 favorites]


spooning all night? no get the fuck off me and back to your side of the bed or preferably another state. Being surrounded on ALL sides by sleeping humans and animals? I would literally scream

My people! So so so so many of my parent [let's be real] mother friends co-slept with one or multiple children for yeaarrsss and I have to confess the very thought fills me with a hindbrain-located visceral horror and urge to run far and fast to get away from it. I know it's a survival strategy for a lot of parents of unsleeping babies and I am forever grateful that my kid agrees with me on the sleeping-while-touching issue because being confronted with the choice between sleeping at all but covered in baby or just never sleeping would have utterly destroyed my mental health.
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:31 AM on August 1, 2019 [10 favorites]


I see CPAP was mentioned...a reminder that snoring is a medical condition that can adversely affect your health. If it's waking up your partner or you...get checked out!
posted by agregoli at 8:32 AM on August 1, 2019 [3 favorites]


8 years later that pillow is still the third member of my marriage

When I was pregnant, we had one of those in the bed, and after me and the kid came home from the hospital, my husband turned to me with big eyes and said, "This means the body pillow can go into the closet, right?"

Joke's on him, though. Having now tasted the joys of side-sleep with support, I have replaced that single body pillow with the pillow I hold between my arms, the pillow I put between my knees, and additional affiliate pillows as required by exigency, plus the down comforter I need to fall asleep with every season of the year, though I did not use while pregnant because I had hormone-related heat regulation issues and also had to get up 3,000 times a night to pee, and when you are carrying a 35 pound bowling ball the size of half your torso PLUS all your joints have gone wonky because your body is PREPARING FOR BIRTH, you need as little on top of you as possible.

Also, I wear headphones and an eyemask and sleep with the phone charging in the bed.

:D
posted by joyceanmachine at 8:38 AM on August 1, 2019 [3 favorites]


Let's see...(spins the big wheel)... tonight... I will sleep across the foot of the bed. You will sleep under the bed. Can't argue with the wheel, Cherie.


Ah, I see you've shared a bed with my six-year-old, whose anxiety is calmed by co-sleeping with mom & dad, but whose sleep behaviors are actively hostile to human life.
posted by Mayor West at 8:53 AM on August 1, 2019 [15 favorites]


My grandparents had two extra-long twin beds, each made-up individually with their own preferred sheets and blankets, and then pushed together. Still seems the best model I've seen.
posted by PhineasGage at 8:57 AM on August 1, 2019 [4 favorites]


It could be worse: you could be married to the kind of psychopath who doesn't think you need consistent sides of the bed.

I'm consistent day to day, but every couple of years I like to switch sides. I'm not sure what kind of mental illness that indicates.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:03 AM on August 1, 2019 [2 favorites]


I thought about writing anew my feelings on this matter but then I realized it'd just be easier to quote my tweets from yesterday on the subject:

My wife and I sleep in separate beds, always have. On the rare occasion we sleep together the "waking up five+ times through the night because the other person moved or coughed or got up or rolled over" situation is ... less than ideal. Separate beds means better sleep.

[of course I recognize that we may not be the ideal reference because we technically don't even live together so what do we know, but still, I endorse this two-beds lifestyle choice.]
posted by komara at 9:05 AM on August 1, 2019


I think this is something where a guest room pays dividends. I would vastly prefer to sleep with my spouse, but in the event one of us is sick, coughing or is especially restless, one of us will temporarily decamp to the guest room.

That said, I have to be careful - if I'm restless and I head downstairs in the middle of the night for a snack or to laptop it on the couch, even if I'm very, very quiet, the dog will wake up my wife to go downstairs because it's clearly time to get up.
posted by eschatfische at 9:15 AM on August 1, 2019 [3 favorites]


Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about how many of the things we experience as moral or social obligations are really just tough choices our (grand)parents needed to make to make ends meet, and which we’ve made an unconscious choice to rationalize rather than challenge.

This is such a great example of that phenomenon. Having your own private room, with your own personal sleeping space, is just basic human dignity. Making nighttime interactions with your partners genuinely voluntary is (IME) incredibly beneficial to the health and comfort of romantic relationships, not to mention just common sense about consent.

The idea that this is something you’re “supposed” to give up as part of the “compromise” of living with another person — the idea that one would need to explain and justify doing anything else — is comically absurd. We only talk to each other this way because sharing rooms was invented to save money, but we’re supposed to be the richest people in the world, so we’ve indoctrinated each other to believe this is what we want. Or “should” want.
posted by emmalemma at 9:34 AM on August 1, 2019 [20 favorites]


I suspect that those of us who'd like to cuddle all night during sleep are also the heavier sleepers.

E.G. I'd prefer to cuddle while falling asleep. There have been times that my wife has gotten up in the middle of the night and accidentally walked into my foot hanging off the bed and I've slept through it. She's called my name when I talk in my sleep unsure if I was awake or not and I sleep through it. Heck, there was one time we had something at the foot of the bed that she didn't think she could navigate in the dark, so she just crawled over me in the middle of the night to get to the bathroom and crawled over me to get back. And yes, I slept right through it.

She however is an pretty light sleeper, so while we share a bed, we've never shared a blanket. Admittedly I'm a horrible blanket hog, and can "burrito" myself up. Which when combined with being difficult to wake reportedly really sucked some times for those sleeping with me. Snuggle time is only before or after sleep, le sigh.

Similarly, if she's sick and coughing, I'll sleep through it. If I'm coughing, I'll sleep upstairs on the couch (covered in cats) so she can sleep. She wouldn't be able to sleep through the cats sometimes having turf wars on her.

In theory, we have defined sides of the bed, but depending upon the room, the side might change; my side is whichever side is closest to the door.
posted by nobeagle at 9:48 AM on August 1, 2019 [1 favorite]


I like to share a bed with my husband. It's cold without him. I have heard this from others as well. #notallmen of course, but many men are furnace people and many women are not.

At this time of year, though, when it is hotter at night, it's less appealing. Sweaty furnace people are sticky.
posted by elizilla at 9:52 AM on August 1, 2019 [5 favorites]


I also do not understand this love for the CalKing, unless one of you is well over 6 feet tall and sleeps with at least one leg extended. My husband is 6'2" and has sacrificed a tucked-in topsheet to give himself more toespace, but we both sleep with body pillows AND only recently have the dogs mostly eschewed our bed (for their own twin mattress on the floor at the foot of the human bed) so that 4" across is valuable territory. We use a dual set of topsheets and blankets; the sheets overlap in the middle so we could reach each other if it wasn't for all the dogs and body pillows. I do not want another body touching me while I'm trying to sleep; even the dogs are trained to sleep flumped on a pillow that lives next to my legspace rather than on my legs.

We do have a guest bedroom that is kept prepared for overflow (including being stocked for various special illness accommodations: humidifier, wedge pillow, fan, space heater, television, white noise machine, an array of pillows and blankets in varying weights and densities, cold medicine, water pitcher, etc), and I always go there if I'm sick enough to be snoring or coughing or thrashing around a lot.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:55 AM on August 1, 2019


On Monday, I tried to sleep back in bed with my boyfriend after sleeping separately for a year and a half. I lasted two hours. In the year I’ve been in another bed, the cat has claimed my side of the bed and basically pushed me out of bed to get his spot back. I happily went back to the other bed and was instantly asleep and able to sprawl as much as I wanted.
posted by ilovewinter at 10:01 AM on August 1, 2019 [1 favorite]


In the last 20 years I have shared everything from a twin bed (ah to be young again) to a king with my 6 foot three husband. The ultimate in comfort and good sleep for everyone is a cal king bed, no motion transfer mattress, earplugs and individual duvet‘s European style. I also sleep with a body pillow. No kids, no dog. If the kids need me, I go to their bed until they are asleep and get back to my own bed.
posted by gryphonlover at 10:02 AM on August 1, 2019 [2 favorites]


every couple of years I like to switch sides. I'm not sure what kind of mental illness that indicates

No mental illness at all.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 10:06 AM on August 1, 2019 [1 favorite]


Things that have amused me today, #1 a thing I agree with wholeheartedly:
Ownership is an illusion. The meaning of life is change. The nature of our universe is chaos. I just want to honor these truths in my everyday life, you domestic fascists.

#2 OH GOD THE WHEEL IS BACK
Let's see...(spins the big wheel)... tonight... I will sleep across the foot of the bed. You will sleep under the bed. Can't argue with the wheel, Cherie.

I really just need to go to bed sober and on time. I am an adult yet unlimited freedom has not done well by me.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 10:13 AM on August 1, 2019 [1 favorite]


I remember my absolute joy at finding out Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter had separate HOUSES next to each other.

I was in my early 20s I think and had not realIzed it was possible to both be in a long term relationship AND not sleep in even the same house.

I can’t even share a hotel room with a friend. Hearing people breathe weirds me out.

#teamseparatesleepFTW
posted by sio42 at 10:16 AM on August 1, 2019 [7 favorites]


i have definitely said this here before but separate beds in the same room isn't even enough, i demand separate wings in the palace. DO NOT breathe loudly near me when i am sleeping. no horrible slorpy mouth noises. no movement. leave my home at once.

i thank the last guy i dated 10 years ago a lot for having been the last guy i dated because so many of his behaviors personify the reason he will forever be the last guy i will ever date, and one of them was insisting that his desire to be a cuddly octopus sleeper was more important than my actual physical human body's need to ACTUALLY GET SLEEP.

anyway i am 5'3" and a queen bed isn't even enough room for me alone because that thing about not having anyone touch me when i'm sleeping? also applies to my own limbs.
posted by poffin boffin at 10:23 AM on August 1, 2019 [11 favorites]


corporeal forms were a mistake
posted by poffin boffin at 10:24 AM on August 1, 2019 [51 favorites]


I have never been able to sleep with anyone else in the bed. And my partner is a wonderful person who I love with all my heart, but she also has sleep apnea and even with a CPAP a snore that is about chainsaw level loud.
posted by sotonohito at 10:32 AM on August 1, 2019


My hope is we'll get a duplex and we'll each take a side.

Oh this is the dream, for sure. Separate kitchens, bathrooms, personal workspaces, but also they are right there when you need each other. Bliss.
posted by emjaybee at 10:32 AM on August 1, 2019 [3 favorites]


Where are you finding these men that actually give a shit about their snoring and the effect on their partners sleep and take the initiative to seek out CPAP info?
posted by fluttering hellfire at 10:35 AM on August 1, 2019 [2 favorites]


I read a while ago that the norm of married couples sleeping together normally is fairly recent; a few hundred years ago, it was the norm for couples to have separate beds, but visit each other as need be. Then the industrial revolution and its attendant urbanisation happened, a lot of people had to make do with smaller living quarters, with couples (and sometimes their children) all sleeping in one bed. Children got their own rooms eventually (or a shared room with bunks), but the idea of one shared marital bed as everyday sleeping arrangement became unexceptionally normal. The discomforts of sharing a bed every night became sublimated into jokes about snoring spouses and nocturnal competition for the shared duvet.
posted by acb at 10:38 AM on August 1, 2019 [2 favorites]


also according to my last gf, sometimes in my sleep i make noises like "it's jurassic park but the bad dinosaur wins" which is a sound that has woken me up in the past, confused about why there is a hungry t-rex in my bedroom, so that checks out.
posted by poffin boffin at 10:59 AM on August 1, 2019 [6 favorites]


I read a while ago that the norm of married couples sleeping together normally is fairly recent; a few hundred years ago, it was the norm for couples to have separate beds, but visit each other as need be.

I mean I tend to doubt this was the case for 99% of humanity because peasants didn't have country manor houses, they had 1-room shacks.
posted by Automocar at 11:15 AM on August 1, 2019 [10 favorites]


I have a lofted, twin-size bed because a) I am an ADULT and can therefore make the choices that please me best and also have Star Wars sheets and b) I do not desire to ever share the bed with a single other being and have decided to make that immediately clear to all observers. Thus, I have a built myself a tangled nest/fort five feet off the ground that no others may enter. (I am person who sleeps in a tight burrito-ball and thus space to stretch out in the bed is wasted and may invite intrusion.)

It is the best decision I've ever made.
posted by darchildre at 11:23 AM on August 1, 2019 [11 favorites]


if you ever get a cat you should install bed-edge-to-ceiling anticat netting so it can hang there like a furious gecko and hiss with disapprobation while you sleep free from little poop feet on your pillow
posted by poffin boffin at 11:29 AM on August 1, 2019 [21 favorites]


I have a lofted, twin-size bed because a) I am an ADULT and can therefore make the choices that please me best and also have Star Wars sheets

Not lofted, but my bed in the NYC pied-à-terre is a twin, and yes, there are star-wars sheets.
posted by mikelieman at 11:29 AM on August 1, 2019 [2 favorites]


I read a while ago that the norm of married couples sleeping together normally is fairly recent; a few hundred years ago, it was the norm for couples to have separate beds, but visit each other as need be.

I mean I tend to doubt this was the case for 99% of humanity because peasants didn't have country manor houses, they had 1-room shacks.


Yes, true. I work in the realm of fancy historic homes and that was definitely a thing in the past. I can also confirm that as recently as TODAY there are many wealthy couples in large homes who just have two separate bedrooms (and bathrooms), fully furnished and decorated in each spouse's preferred way. And it seems totally awesome.

For me personally, I love sleeping with my spouse, but I also miss having a bedroom that looks and feels the same way "my room" felt when I was a kid growing up. Like a refuge, a space that looks exactly the way you want it to look, that is just for you. That's something I miss from my pre-married days, and if we only earn (lol, "earn") a few million dollars more, we can make that adjustment to our floor plan and I can decorate my new bedroom with the loud wallpaper and pink dressing table of my dreams!
posted by witchen at 11:40 AM on August 1, 2019 [4 favorites]


Also, if that's the stuff of dreams, this "family bed" is the stuff of nightmares. God help them if anyone gets indigestion in the middle of the night. Not to mention the other obvious damage that this would do to a marriage (how do they have so many children??).
posted by witchen at 11:41 AM on August 1, 2019 [9 favorites]


We currently have a Queen sized bed, and would like a King. But we have a narrow stairwell...getting the Queen up there was a real hassle. We haven't really started researching it yet but I know there are King box springs that are split in two, and the mattress should be bendy enough for us to get around the corners.

We're also thinking about maybe investigating those come-in-a-small-box-and-grow-to-size-when-opened mattresses that one gets through the internet, but we really like firm mattresses. Does anyone have a Casper-type mattress? Are they firm or smushy?
posted by Gray Duck at 11:51 AM on August 1, 2019


I am perfectly happy to share a bed or have separate rooms - I sleep like the dead, we have a king bed, he could be doing yoga over there for all I'd know once I'm out - but I don't think the cats would stand for it.

(I do have my own room and that's not negotiable, but it's for my waking hours, not my sleeping ones.)
posted by Stacey at 12:24 PM on August 1, 2019


Metafilter: but then I was at the mercy of my very rude cats
posted by wires at 12:40 PM on August 1, 2019 [2 favorites]


I share my bed once a week when my boyfriend sleeps over and that is more than enough. He would be happy to snuggle all night long but I am firmly in the camp of 'no touching while sleeping'. If I ever cohabitate again (unlikely) there will definitely be separate bedrooms.
posted by twilightlost at 12:52 PM on August 1, 2019 [1 favorite]


corporeal forms were a mistake

Good news! To the extent you have something that could reasonably be described as a corporeal form, it's about 1/8th of a processor node! You share it with four other versions of yourself and an enhanced architeuthis.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 1:02 PM on August 1, 2019 [4 favorites]


Giving up the top sheet and buying separate duvets has been one of the best decisions my husband and I ever made. When we wake up in the morning his duvet is still all neat and aligned with his side of the bed, and mine is all crumpled up and turned sideways. I have no idea how we managed to sleep under the same covers for 12 years.
posted by GoldenEel at 1:04 PM on August 1, 2019 [2 favorites]


I tried the two-duvet setup for some time after years of arguments about who has more than their fair share of the duvet, but it turns out my husband just steals both of them in the middle of the night while simultaneously insisting he hasn't.

Everything is THE WORST EVER when you are woken up in the middle of the night and have to fight for resources.
posted by joan_holloway at 1:18 PM on August 1, 2019 [4 favorites]


Although I did co-sleep a bit with the kid, and though for many of the 43 years I've been married we shared a queen sized bed, one of the happiest events of my life was when i persuaded spouse twelve years ago that we needed separate twin beds. He's one of those people who wants to sleep with a spouse (in fact, now that we're old he wants to take naps at the same time too), and yet he's also someone with a hair-trigger perception of noise who gets infuriated by being awakened by it when he's stressed. The other day I laid a pair of glasses down on the night table and watched him seize up in fury. And yet he wants to talk to me when I have just awakened, which will get him assassinated some day.

Oh, lord, the discussion of snoring reminded me of early days in our marriage, when he still had the extra tooth in his crowded mouth, which meant that his habit of tooth-grinding made a nightmarish sound that had to be experienced to be believed.

Also people who want to cuddle in bed should get a dog or a cat, preferably one that, unlike the dear departed Dede, does not snarl and attempt to bite when disturbed.
posted by Peach at 1:37 PM on August 1, 2019 [3 favorites]


Are we not going to talk about farting? OK then. (I prefer separate fart-spaces, but it doesn't seem to be a worry of mine any longer.)

And I also will not share hotel rooms with friends. There are plenty of rooms, this entire building is filled with them, please get your own.
posted by maxwelton at 2:22 PM on August 1, 2019 [3 favorites]


Gray Duck, I have a Casper king mattress. I find it to be a very comfortable medium between firm and soft — it is soft enough to conform to your body, but firm enough to give support once it’s conformed.

A king mattress is the same size as two twins put together. You could literally shove two twin beds together, if getting a whole king mattress into the room is a no-go.

I shared a full-size futon mattress with my husband for years. Getting a king bed was the best idea ever. Each adult gets a whole twin bed’s worth of space. I can’t go back to cramming myself in a space roughly equivalent to a baby’s crib.
posted by snowmentality at 3:17 PM on August 1, 2019 [1 favorite]


I have a small house with no guest bedroom, so hubby and I share a queen bed. I do prefer to sleep together, but that may be due to a lifetime of sleeping poorly...Im just used to it?

He snores and has night terrors and burritos the covers. I snore and have 'sleep fighting' an actual parasomnia. Couldnt say how many times Ive kicked and punched him in my sleep. Sorry honey.

We got a Leesa foam bed and its awesome. The reduced bounce is amazing. But to be honest I have to blame our poor sleep on booze more than each other...

Weirdly I'm amazing at napping. The cats help.
posted by supermedusa at 4:35 PM on August 1, 2019


I'm glad folks here mentioned sleep apnea and CPAP machines. I'm surprised the linked article didn't.
posted by doctornemo at 4:56 PM on August 1, 2019


I'm biased, because I used to snore and also stop breathing while sleeping. So I had some tests, got diagnosed with apnea, got a CPAP machine, and... I sleep much better. My wife's happier, too.

It's at the point now where an airplane's overhead fan causes me to fall asleep. Like one of BF Skinner's pigeons, my face knows that air pressure on the nose area means unconsciousness.

The cats, though... they are curious about the hose. One time I took the machine in for some work. The tech glanced at the CPAP's hose and asked me how many cats we had. I asked how she knew, and she held up the plastic tube to a light. Many, many time holes appeared, the precise shape of cat claws and teeth.
posted by doctornemo at 4:59 PM on August 1, 2019 [2 favorites]


I like to share a bed with my husband. It's cold without him. I have heard this from others as well. #notallmen of course, but many men are furnace people and many women are not.

My husband is a Furnace Person and he is an inveterate snuggler. The only way we survive the ten days of summer San Francisco gets per year: A light linen duvet and an ice pack wrapped in a towel for my feet.

I had not realized how much sleeping next to one person for 21 years had shaped my own sleep habits until I spent a month traveling and sleeping alone and I kept waking up to a bed where literally half of it was still pristine. I've lost the ability to sprawl heedlessly across an acre of percale.

(My husband tells me he spent the month reconstructing my form with pillows because he can't sleep without something to snuggle. I adore that he's quite frank about needing physical reassurance and comfort.)
posted by sobell at 6:55 PM on August 1, 2019 [3 favorites]


Upthread: separate kitchens?! Learning to cook with grumpybearbride - literally at the same time, on the same stove, on different parts of the same meal - has been one of life's great joys.
posted by grumpybear69 at 7:00 PM on August 1, 2019


We love the CalKing, not because we need it for height, but because the extra space at the foot gives the three cats another location option than over my neck.
posted by korej at 7:12 PM on August 1, 2019


My wife and I have slept separately for over a decade now. It's been a lifesaver because I sleep like a stone for relatively short periods of time - starting late. My wife goes to bed early - needs lots of sleep, but wakes up on and off in the night and is a light, light sleeper which means me coming to bed, wakes her the f up - and that's no fun.

Plus, I'm a furnace and feel like I'm burning up under a sheet and cuddling with her makes me feel all sweaty and ugh. nope. thank you.
posted by drewbage1847 at 9:40 PM on August 1, 2019 [2 favorites]


Apparently this is a thing in Germany. I sometimes watch the "Kelly does her thing" Youtube channel where she explains the differences she finds between German and US culture.

Her bed in Germany is, basically, two soft double beds together in one bed frame with separate sheets and blankets.

So you are together, yet separated. I thought it was so weird until I realized it makes perfect sense.
posted by eye of newt at 11:00 PM on August 1, 2019


The mister is recovering from rotator cuff surgery and so has been sleeping in the living room in a recliner we rented from the medical equipment store for the past three weeks. I love having the bed to myself, but the kitty, who usually sleeps in between us, is bereft. Three more glorious weeks...
posted by carmicha at 12:23 AM on August 2, 2019


boyfriend & I have separate queen beds in the same room because he's a thrasher & I'm a waker-upper; don't know if I could ever go back to sharing a bed all night now
posted by taquito sunrise at 2:55 AM on August 2, 2019 [1 favorite]


"Upthread: separate kitchens?! Learning to cook with grumpybearbride - literally at the same time, on the same stove, on different parts of the same meal - has been one of life's great joys."

My wife and I usually cook big on the weekend to make dinner for the whole week so that neither of us have to come home after work and deal with it then. We typically swap out weeks - we cook at her place and eat there all week, and she has to deal with the dishes and dishwasher and pots and pans and all that. Then the next week it's at my place and is my problem. Regardless of the setting we usually cook together and always eat dinner together.

That's a bit of an oversimplification but you get the idea.
posted by komara at 7:13 AM on August 2, 2019


Hello is this a safe place to speak about my sleep journey. Please feel free to tl;dr.

I have always been a deep and restful sleeper. I once slept through a car accident in which the actual car hit my actual house. Seven years ago I started a long-term relationship which has been good and beautiful in every possible way. I found that sleeping with someone else, with concrete regularity, turned me into a light and anxious and not-great sleeper. Mostly it smoothed out, though, over time. We bought a king-sized bed. Things were fine.

We got a cat. I felt strongly about feeding the cat wet food twice a day, as close as possible to his normal diet. You know, for his health. As a result, the cat began waking me up earlier and earlier each day. Jumping on me, screaming at me, at 6am, 5am, 4am, 3:30am. We kicked him out of the bedroom, something neither I nor my partner wanted but seemed the only choice. He just screamed at the bedroom door and, in my newly developed state as a light and anxious sleeper, woke me up just as easily. My partner slept through all of this, without exception. So, not knowing what else to do, we started feeding him dry food and he relented to waking me up at daybreak. This was not ideal for either of us, but I adjusted.

We got a dog. I've had dogs my whole life; my partner had never had a pet dog. We started out with crate training which he took to very successfully during the day, but in a week or two we'd started letting him sleep in bed with us. At first this seemed smart — he was a puppy and could wake me up to go outside to use the bathroom, plus it was a creature comfort and a love signal that my partner really needed and liked. But it did have a major downside. For at least 18 months I was unable to sleep through the night. He was restless, he pressed against me and moved around all night, he was hot, he scratched me, he reliably woke up and asked to go outside at least one and more often twice per night, on comfortable nights I'd have to go out into the yard to chase him back inside, I'd get so frustrated and full of adrenaline I couldn't return to sleep, I was so emotionally fragile and broken up that I couldn't establish the dog training habits I knew to do, etc. The first night I slept through the night, that morning I felt so good and so normal I broke down and cried.

18 months of disrupted sleep destroyed my life. I gained back 80 pounds I had lost. Chronic illnesses I had under control returned. I made reckless decisions. My career stagnated. I was emotionally wrung out all the time. I have very sparse memories of this entire time. I love my dog desperately, and did then, but I felt I had totally lost control of my life.

And now: he's no longer a puppy, he sleeps a lot better, the cat still wakes me up at daybreak but it's a big king-sized bed full of creatures I love and it's okay. I still sleep like crap. I still wake up during the night. I average over 5 but under 6 hours of sleep a night. I don't feel fuzz-brained and trembly all the time, but I never fully recovered. I feel like I've tried everything and I really don't want this to be the rest of my life, but I don't know what else to do (except a weighted blanket, which I've been avoiding because I'm such a hot and sweaty sleeper anyway and we live in FL — but that's next on the list if anybody has recommendations). If I'm able to, on the weekends, I close the bedroom door in the afternoon and nap for an hour or 90 minutes and it's the only time I feel like I fully get rested. It feels like somebody sneaks in and secretly removes the kryptonite that's stashed away somewhere in my house, I feel amazing. My partner works from home and needs our second bedroom as a home office, which is absolutely a better use of that space than a true second bedroom. There's just not another place to isolate. I sometimes fantasize about sleeping in the car in my own driveway.

I am tired!
posted by penduluum at 7:28 AM on August 2, 2019 [5 favorites]


Penduluum, that kind of sleep deprivation you describe is a key factor in post-partum depression. It really can absolutely ruin your life.

I just texted my spouse this article and already I feel bad about it. Why do I feel bad about it? Sleep disturbances/insomnia seem to be part of my perimenopause symptoms (either that or I am dealing unusually poorly with stress at work, which is a distinct possibility) and they are compounded when I feel like I can't do what I need to do in order to either get comfortable or just say fuck it I'm not going to be sleeping for the next two hours might as well read, because someone else is sleeping next to me. And that someone is often (ironically) exacerbating my sleep disturbances at the same time.

I've been on the couch the last three nights because he is sick and the house rule is that sick people get a bed to themselves. Our couch is pretty comfy as couches go, but it's in the living room, which is very much not a bedroom. I desire my own bedroom with my own bed. Our third bedroom right now is an office (absolutely CRAMMED with stuff from my husband's very stuff-intensive hobby) and I really want to propose that husband turn the master bedroom into his room, with his hobby stuff and our Queen sized bed, and I get a twin bed and move it and my dresser into the office so that nights where I'm not sleeping well for whatever reason, I can decamp and either read until my brain stops doing whatever weird thing it's doing, or sleep without someone snoring/trashing/talking/twitching next to me. And I inexplicably feel awful for even suggesting this, even though my health is definitely suffering right now.
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:44 AM on August 2, 2019 [4 favorites]


This is what sofabeds are for. They have gotten better over the years; still not as good as a real mattress but good enough with a mattress topper.
posted by joan_holloway at 8:29 AM on August 2, 2019


The way my parents solved this while still sharing a room was to get rid of their bed and get a giant custom mattress that they then put on the floor (on top of a mat). This thing is easily 1.5 times the size of a king. It meant they could each have individual full-size comforters and sleep completely separately. And it allowed me, who wanted to sleep with my parents for a reaaaaaally long time, to come sleep in between them and still none of us would need to touch. I've realized that my mom and I are exactly alike in this respect - we both hate being touched while sleeping. So the fact that my bedroom can really only comfortably accommodate a Queen and I have a toddler who periodically wants to leave his crib and come sleep with us is currently the bane of my existence.
posted by peacheater at 8:33 AM on August 2, 2019 [1 favorite]


And if you’re one of two adults sharing a Queen mattress, you each have less room than if you had your own Twin mattresses!)

We share a mere double. With two large cats who like to stretch out. Sometimes I wake up literally pressed against the wall. And yet, when I am away, I cannot sleep alone! Can't sleep with 'em, can't sleep without 'em.

If we ever manage to buy a bigger place I'd love a bigger bed though.
posted by stillnocturnal at 9:09 AM on August 2, 2019 [1 favorite]


I've done the math and you can strip the inner sides off two car beds and fit in a queen mattress. I can't remember exactly but you may have to remove the spoiler as well.

Perpetually-single me will take the whole thing, diagonally, thank you very much.
posted by bendy at 10:08 AM on August 2, 2019 [2 favorites]


I remember my absolute joy at finding out Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter had separate HOUSES next to each other.

As did Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. I believe they had a second-story bridge between theirs.

This is the kind of love I want.
posted by bendy at 10:17 AM on August 2, 2019 [1 favorite]


Seriously you guys, I'm loving all the pro-solo-sleeping up in these parts!

After a LTR with lots of poor sleep, I've sworn off sharing bedrooms for more than occasional sleepovers. If I'm going to be functional in life, I've got to sleep alone.

Serious/not serious question, uh, can we make this an IRL thing because I get a lot of side eye on the subject IRL!
posted by esoteric things at 11:26 PM on August 2, 2019


People who hate sleeping alone, I find you unfathomable. I love sleeping alone. I appreciate cuddles/sexytime, but sleeping with someone, on their schedule with their weird sleep habits and noises and flopping limbs, makes me so nervous I actually can't fall asleep, and then I get anxious about disrupting their sleep, and then I lay there trying to not move for hours because I know how nervous it makes me and then there you are and my heart isn't made of stone ok cosleepers I have this thing called empathy and I know how hard it is to sleep with someone else in the room and you can't sleep without me in the room well do you even understand anything about life because at least one of us needs to be conscious the next day to pay the bills and if we break up you're really sleeping alone forever and that's not what I mean dammit, I just don't know what to do.

What do you mean I can't have my Japanese punk rock to fall asleep to I need that. And no, turn off the ASMR, that stuff makes me cringe. Wait ok, you heard about a mattress on a podcast and you want to just order it? Well I mean, I'm not against a good mattress but can you check the prices first? No I know, you don't have to ask me for permission to do what you want in your house, but my house is a thing too, and I know you say my mattress is too hard, and yours makes my back hurt. Could we try more blankets? I have extra blankets if you want. They do not smell like babaganoush! I made it the one time! If I dry clean them it's half the cost of the new mattress anyway so what do you want me to do!

Ok I snore when I'm drunk but you do that light nasal thing when you're on your back, and you do that on the regs, and that's way more annoying. You wanna go? Ok, my Kindle backlight is annoying, but your hand on my chest makes my asthma flare up. And when was the last time I even SAW you read a book! A preference for paper is no excuse! Like paper then! Well I gave away all the books because I got the Kindle and the bookshelves were taking up space and it was my house before you moved in! Yeah I'm exhausted too, and it's from lack of sleep! I'm tired too, ok, not of you though. OK IT'S OF YOU ARE YOU HAPPY NOW. CAN I SLEEP WITHOUT YOU GROPING ME FOR ONE NIGHT OUT OF MY PATHETIC LIFE.

I am just going to be alone forever and it's your fault, cosleepers.
posted by saysthis at 4:57 AM on August 3, 2019 [2 favorites]


Well, thanks to this thread, I made a proposal to my spouse that we rearrange our rooms so that we each have our own combo bedroom/office (his being the Master with the Queen bed, mine being the current office, with a day bed that I can eff off to if I'm having terrible sleeping with him for whatever reason). He agreed and we're going to move forward with some minor renovations that will make this arrangement more practical and I'm so happy. And then, last night, as if to immediately demonstrate the wisdom of this decision, I had one of my recently-developed random middle of the night anxiety attacks and had to decamp to the couch. The couch is pretty comfy but the living room is right below the bedroom and our house has old super creaky hardwood floors, and as soon as I'd finally finally drifted off to sleep, he got up to pee and it sounded like a herd of elephants above my head and the panic kicked off anew and it took me another hour to get back to sleep.

So, I'm going to start TODAY trying to figure out what needs to be done to make the room switch asap. I'm exhausted.
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:38 AM on August 3, 2019 [5 favorites]


We converted the detached ancient garage into my "studio" which consists of a downstairs with carpeting and elliptical and my office and a futon for hanging out on, and then an upstairs loft which is my bedroom. Still not completely finished, but I'm surrounded by my books and my stuff, and it makes me so happy. He gets the master bedroom and gets to design it to his liking. It's nice. I would never go back. We did this ostensibly due to my insomnia, but it's heavenly to have my own space. I never slept well with any of my partners. I felt like a bad partner for wanting my own space for awhile, but it's made such a difference in my well-being.
posted by RedEmma at 12:54 PM on August 3, 2019 [1 favorite]


This thread sings to me.

My wife is a heavy sleeper, thrasher, goes to sleep with MSNBC blaring, and the fucking windows open with the fucking trucks going up and down the highway a half mile away (it's a very small town and there's no escaping the highway). I am a light sleeper, I need darkness/covers/silence. I spent decades in utter sleep deprivation. And then we moved back to my home town and after a year or so, I started spending more nights in the spare bedroom.

Now my wife has fully taken over the queen size bed in our main bedroom, decorated it in boy wizard/horror decor, and sleeps with the fucking restless chihuahua. I sleep in my fortress of solitude with its own equally nerdy decor with cats who mostly stay in one place when they crash. BLISS.
posted by Ber at 11:11 AM on August 8, 2019 [1 favorite]


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