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Ask Dr. Helen: Is Sleeping Apart Healthy for Marriage?

Whether a relationship suffers from separate beds depends on why the couple uses them.

by
Helen Smith

Bio

September 23, 2008 - 12:00 am
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These reasons are reflective in some of the responses I got on my blog when I asked readers what they thought of sleeping alone:

  • “I read an article today that said that men (although they claim otherwise the day after) sleep better alone rather than with another person.”
  • “Personally I don’t think sleeping together is all that important; seeing eye to eye in a relationship and not being bored with each other is probably a lot more important.”
  • “Snoring is remediable. The sense of rejection and isolation that comes from sleeping alone (if you’re married) isn’t. Take it from one who’s learned the hard way. The statistics noted largely reflect the aging of the population.”
  • “As ‘Boomers’ my wife and I slept together for 30 years. Last year age began to have its effects and we now sleep in separate bedrooms, except when on trips or the ‘kids’ and grandkids are visiting. The statistics are evidence of an aging population.”
  • “I have problems sleeping with somebody in bed with me. It’s not intimacy or sexuality or any problem like that. I just get woken up really easily by physical contact. Also, I produce a lot of body heat, and when someone is sleeping up against me I start sweating, which (again) wakes me up.”
  • “My wife and I sleep in separate beds, in separate rooms. We just couldn’t get comfortable. After we move to a new, larger apartment instead of this badly converted upstairs of a house, we’ll try to put two twin beds in one room. But the marriage itself is lacking, more of a business arrangement, really, so I don’t mind being separate.”

So, I will turn the question over to PJM readers. If married or in a couple, do you sleep alone? If so, why? Do you think this is healthy for couples or do you think it leads to a lack of intimacy? For the rest of you, how would you feel if your partner wanted to sleep alone?

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If you have a question you would like answered, please leave it below or email me at askdrhelen@hotmail.com. Your questions may be edited for length and clarity. Please note that your first name only or no name at all will be used to identify your question — if you want me to use your name, tell me; otherwise you will be referred to by your first name or as “a reader,” etc.

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Helen Smith is a psychologist specializing in forensic issues in Knoxville, Tennessee, and blogs at Dr. Helen.
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