Reporting Rhiannon Ally
MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Would you get a better night’s sleep if you slept next to someone or slept alone?
Some surveys show more couples are now sleeping in separate beds.
So are they on to something? Do you get a better night’s sleep that way? Can you have a better relationship that way?
The idea of separate beds was television reality on the old “I Love Lucy” show but it’s also real life for some people.
Realtor Michelle Schocker found a home for sale with two separate master bedrooms and two master baths.
“This was designed for two people who want their own space and still be together,” said Schocker.
So why do some folks want to sleep separately?
There are a lot of reasons that can drive couples to separate bedrooms; everything from stealing covers, to different work shifts, to different temperature preferences, to wanting the TV on or off.
But sleep experts say there is evidence that people are actually programmed to want to sleep with someone else.
“I think psychologically we benefit from closeness with another human being at night,” said Dr. Wendy Troxel with the Rand Corporation. “When you think about sleep, it’s a really vulnerable state to be in.”
Sleep expert Dr. Daniel Buysse agrees.
“Probably with the course of our evolution, we were really designed to sleep together with other people,” said Dr. Buysse.
Buysse and Troxel are now studying how “in sync” couples are as they sleep.
Participants in their study wear devices that look like wristwatches, but they actually measure whether one person waking, wakes the other. The goal is to know if harmonious sleep patterns mean harmonious relationships.
Sometimes simple changes can get couple back into the same bed.
“Getting a larger bed makes a big difference,” said Dr. Troxel.
Other times, it’s more complex. While treatment can help with snoring or sleep apnea, sleeping in separate spaces sometimes works better for people with problems such as insomnia.
“I’ve seen a lot of patients who need to sleep apart just because that’s the only way they can get quality sleep,” said Dr. Buysse.
“It’s not a one size fits all approach,” said Dr. Troxel.
However, both experts say that if a couple does decide to sleep apart, it’s still important to spend some time together not only for intimacy, but also just for physical closeness.