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Do you and your other half sleep in separate beds by choice or for practical reasons? Or does the practice of sleeping alone baffle you? Here, we explore why some couples don't share sleep, and if that's bad for their relationships.

Sleeping Separately In History

It's clear that sleeping together — not just with your spouse, but also with other family members including older children — was common throughout most of history. That doesn't mean people did it because they preferred to turn sleep into a communal experience, obviously. Instead, sharing your sleeping space keeps you warmer than you would be if you slept alone. This is pretty important if you don't have the luxury of a heated house during the cold months of the year. 

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Sleeping together also has another purpose, and that's safety in numbers. Prehistoric people would sleep together just like tribes people in today's world do, because sleeping in a tent or wooden, more open house leaves people vulnerable.

This is especially true for children. If you sleep together and something bad happens, the strongest people are there to defend those who are more vulnerable right away — from wild animals or hostile tribes, for example. 

Then, there is the fact that the poorer parts of society have just never had as much space available. If you live in one room with your whole family, everyone is going to sleep there too. It is as simple as that. What's interesting is that Royal and aristocratic families have a long history of having separate quarters though. You'll be able to see this if you visit any stately home in Europe, including some of the British Royal family's palaces. The same happened in Asian Royal and noble families.

If a guy has several wives and concubines, it is obvious that everyone has to have their own quarters. 

Now that many people have houses large enough to enable them to sleep separately, the practical considerations are largely removed. Modern houses are also generally heated in winter, and no wild animals are going to come and eat you at night. Those facts offer more choice.

Does Sleeping Together Harm Your Relationship And Your Sex Life?

Couples who sleep separately by preference say that this choice does not have a negative impact on either their relationship, or their sex life. There are plenty of other opportunities to bond or be physically intimate, and the lone sleepers I spoke to said that people should let go of the idea that intimacy can only happen in the bedroom after the lights go out

Reluctant lone sleepers have more varied opinions. Some say that sleeping apart does not affect the quality of their relationship in any way at all, while others say that it does. The ones who do miss sleeping together, but don't for practical reasons, say they'd like to talk to their partners in bed before they actually go to sleep.

Not sleeping together can cut conversation time short for couples who work long hours. 

Sleeping apart is just another thing modern couples can do, if they feel like it. Some psychologists warn against the practice, which can indeed be a sign of marital problems in some cases. If that does not apply to you, and you just value your nightly privacy or have come to terms with sleeping separately for practical reasons, that's perfectly fine. Your sleep, your choice.