Sleep Deprivation: Why More Couples Are Spending The Night Apart

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Do couples who sleep together stay together? Not necessarily. While it's nice to imagine you and your spouse will happily sleep together for as long as you both shall live, it might just be that: a fairy tale.

A 2011 poll by the National Sleep Foundation found 11 per cent of married or partnered couples don't share their bed with their significant other. What's more, a 2008 report from the National Association of Homebuilders in Britain suggested 60 per cent of new houses would have his-and-her's master bedrooms by 2015.

Are we falling out of love? Not necessarily -- rather, it seems that many of us are just incompatible sleepers. According to The Times in London, half of us are woken up six times a night a by our partner snoring, moving, hogging the pillows or stealing the sheets. That's a lot of lost sleep. Sleep deprivation is a serious problem -- it's no wonder, then, that many of us retreat to the couch or guest room in order to get some shut-eye. Plus, "We already live in a culture where we’re sleep deprived," psychiatrist Scott Haltzman told the Vancouver Sun. "Some people value sleep more than spooning."

When you consider the dangers of sleep deprivation, it seems sleeping apart can be a life-saver. But will it kill your marriage? "Sleeping apart can contribute to the disconnect that plagues many relationships," marriage expert and psychotherapist Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. told Shine. "It just makes it easier to avoid each other, when what's really needed is connection and contact. There are solutions to snoring and restlessness -- a memory foam mattress will stop restlessness from being felt by a partner and snoring can be helped in a number of ways."

Others disagree. “Historically, we were never meant to sleep in the same bed; it’s an offshoot of romantic love,” says sleep expert Dr. Neil Stanley of the University of Surrey. “Sharing a bed with someone who snores or fights for the duvet disturbs your sleep and there is no shame in having separate beds."

At the end of the day, there's no right or wrong answer -- you need to find one what works for you. Your first step should be identifying your sleep issues -- for instance, if your partner's snoring is keeping you awake, talk to your doctor about sleep solutions first. But if sleeping apart is the only thing that will keep you sane, do it -- just make sure you still carve out some cuddling and romance time with your partner at least a few times a week.

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