Separate beds could be the key to a healthy marriage.

How to Be Married & Sleep in Separate Bedrooms

by Kathryn Rateliff Barr

Approximately 23 percent of partnered American adults don’t sleep together, according to the 2005 Sleep in America Poll from the National Sleep Foundation. The reasons poll participants listed for sleeping apart have nothing to do with marital fighting or dissolution. Couples often sleep apart because of different mattress and bedding preferences, preferences in noise and temperature, sleep issues such as snoring and apnea or restlessness, and different sleep schedules.

Bedroom Organization

Some couples say beds are too small for two to sleep comfortably, especially when sleeping with kids and pets. Set up two separate bedrooms where each of you has a bed adequate for the needs of the bedroom occupant. If you sleep with one or more kids at times, you could use a king size bed, while he might need less room. If you sleep alone, however, a smaller bed will do, allowing you to include exercise space, a sitting area or a desk for your computer or television.

Getting Sleep

If your spouse's snoring, restless leg or frequent trips to the bathroom keep you from sleeping, separate bedrooms could help you get more sleep. Michael J. Breus, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist who calls himself "The Sleep Doctor," says if your or your partner's health issues prevent one of you from getting sleep, separate bedrooms can help you wake up rested each day. He also recommends that you see a doctor about these issues. Getting sufficient sleep in separate bedrooms can help you cope better with marital challenges and look forward to your time together.

Lifestyle Differences

A separate bedroom can help you avoid conflict over your partner’s messy habits, his piles of books waiting to be read, his alarm or constant checking of email and texts during the night, suggests Christine Egan, editor-in-chief at, a healthy living website for women. Separate bedrooms allow you to order things the way you want them, such as bed firmness, types of bed clothing, and the ability to schedule your bedtime and waking hours. Egan suggests that you make time for intimacy at other times of the day to take advantage of the benefits offered by separate rooms.


Bruce Feiler, author of “The Council of Dads,” reports that many couples schedule intimacy to make sure they have time for each other, and that playing “your place or mine?” can be romantic and fun. Spice things up with games, private dinners and other romantic activities, and then retire to separate rooms, taking advantage of the pleasure you shared to help you sleep and wake refreshed.

About the Author

Rev. Kathryn Rateliff Barr has taught birth, parenting, vaccinations and alternative medicine classes since 1994. She is a pastoral family counselor and has parented birth, step, adopted and foster children. She holds bachelor's degrees in English and history from Centenary College of Louisiana. Studies include midwifery, naturopathy and other alternative therapies.

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