Intimacy can be complicated, especially when it comes to figuring out the best sleeping arrangement for you. As you may know from a lifetime of experience, getting quality sleep is crucial to feeling good and functioning throughout the day. But for some, that might mean sleeping in your own bed at night. So, is it normal to prefer sleeping in separate beds?
If you're in a serious relationship and live with your partner, you might be wondering what the rules are when it comes to sharing a bed at night. First of all, there are no rules. While where you sleep and who you sleep with is an incredibly personal choice, it's understandable to question whether you can still have a healthy, normal relationship, even if you and your partner don't cozy up for your beauty rest.
According to Tammy Nelson, PhD, a certified sex and couples therapist and author of Getting the Sex You Want, sleeping in separate beds can be really beneficial for some couples. She says that "when one partner snores or is restless, the space to sleep in peace can add more time to get some real shut-eye which decreases stress throughout the day." And who doesn't need a little stress relief, am I right?
But while sleeping in a different bed than your boyfriend or girlfriend may decrease your cortisol levels, you might feel anxious thinking about how the nightly separation could be impacting your intimacy. So, when is a need for space in a relationship a cause for concern?
Shaelyn T. Pham, PhD, psychologist at Psychological Services & Holistic Health, Inc. and bestselling author of Love Match, tells Elite Daily that "sleeping in separate beds does not mean your relationship is doomed." Well, that's a relief — right? She notes that, "there are many forms of intimacy that couples can share with each other; physical closeness in bed is not the only one." According to Pham, needing a little room to breath in your relationship is "natural and encouraged, as long as both partners are in agreement with their needs for physical space."
Sleeping in a different bed (or different room) than your bae does not imply that you have an unhealthy physical relationship or a bad sex life. However, Nelson says that "getting into a rut can be a hazard for anyone in a relationship. Be aware of your habits and don’t neglect your partner or their needs." Healthy relationships weigh on much more than where and how you catch your Zs. According to Nelson, they require "a balance of time, attention, affection, and sex," so you and your partner should prioritize those four things in a way that works for you.
If shut-eye snuggles isn't working for you, no sweat! However, a lack of overall physical touch might be a cause for concern. Nelson notes that "if there is no physical touch in your partnership during the day and you sleep in separate beds at night, then it may start to feel like you're basically just roommates."
There are endless reasons why you might want to sleep in your own bed or have your own room. Needing some space and prioritizing valuable sleep is nothing to be ashamed of. However, just because it's something you want, doesn't mean that your partner necessarily feels the same way. It's possible that your need for space at night will make them feel like they're doing something wrong or that you don't want to be around them. Remember to be gentle and sensitive when broaching the subject and be sure to let your SO know that you love them and still have the hots for them. Prepare to be receptive to their ideas and concerns about the situation as well. If there's one thing I know about relationships, it's that they're a constant work in progress!
Maybe you can try sleeping separately a few nights a week to see how it goes. Maybe you set aside some time before bed each night to cuddle up on the couch and watch a couple episodes of your favorite show together before retreating to your separate rooms. Or maybe you get it on in one of your beds before parting ways for the night. Remember, there are no rules!
Each relationship is different and will require its own set of parameters to thrive, and that's totally OK! Don't worry too much about what's "normal" or what you think other couples might be doing. How you sleep is your business, and you and your person should do what works for you. If solo sleep is the name of the game in your relationship, and you've got room in your home to pull it off, I say go for it!