Couples are opting not to share a bed; Suncoast experts say they may be onto something

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Posted: Tuesday, January 28, 2014 5:02 pm | Updated: 6:00 pm, Tue Jan 28, 2014.

SARASOTA, Fla. - If sleeping separately helps you catch some Z's, you may be onto something. Because according to experts here on the Suncoast, you are not alone, even if you are when you're in bed.

Matthew Edlund, M.D., of the Center for Circadian Medicine in Sarasota is a sleep expert. "People sleep much better in general when they're sleeping alone because they don't bang into each other and move against each other and make lots of noises."

Dr. Edlund explained that sleep is like food: you need it to live. "If you take any animal and you sleep deprive it enough it dies, and humans, if you don't get enough sleep, you have more cardiac disease, you have more depression, you have lower performance."

There are other concerns, says Dean Sutherland. M.D., of Negroski, Sutherland & Hanes Neurology. "It can cause something that's called cognitive slowing, where people don't quite fire on all cylinders in terms of brain function during the day time."

He adds, "It's perfectly healthy for couples to sleep in separate beds, especially if one partner has a sleep disorder to begin with." And, he said "Some people thrash, or kick, or tell stories in the middle of the night, and if that disrupts their partners sleep, then its perfectly fine for the partner to move to a different bed. And, sometimes even in a different room."

Sharing a bed could pose a danger if your partner has REM Behavioural Disorder, a condition affecting some with Parkinson's Disease or other dementia's

Dr. Sutherland explained. "They actually are very wild at night, they can yell and scream, but also can kick, punch and throw a partner out of bed."

Just make sleep as much fun as you can said Dr. Edlund. "Beds are for two purposes, sleep and sex, and once the sex is over, sleep in a way that's comfortable for both of you. It's perfectly healthy for couples to sleep in separate beds, especially if one partner has a sleep disorder to begin with."

Couples may also opt out of sleeping together because busy work schedules may not be in sink. But sleeping separately is not a new fad, those of a certain age may remember Lucy and Ricky? They were ahead of the curve.

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Welcome to the discussion.


  • Jennifer Adams posted at 7:29 am on Wed, Jan 29, 2014.

    Jennifer Adams Posts: 1

    Sleeping together or separately is definitely an individual decision based on sleep needs, behaviours and patterns. Sleeping separately doesn't have to spell the end of a relationship and I agree that maintaining intimacy is important - critical actually. My interest in how couples approach and manage sleep turned into a book I wrote to help couples consider how they might both get enough sleep and keep their relationship on track. Titled 'Sleeping Apart not Falling Apart: How to get a good night's sleep and keep your relationship alive' - the book was published in Australia and released in April this year. I hope to normalise sleeping separately, so couples that have no choice, don't feel their relationship is unfairly judged as a failure. After nine years of sleeping separately from my husband - I know it can work.

  • Layni posted at 6:12 pm on Tue, Jan 28, 2014.

    Layni Posts: 2

    The first couple to share a bed on TV was not Lucy & Ricky. It was Mary Kay and Johnny - the first sitcom, before I Love Lucy - aired in November 1947. They had a single bed to share! More weird than that was The Brady Bunch - with 6 children and the bathroom showed did not have a toilet!


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