Why We (Kind Of) Sleep In Separate Beds
Outfit Deets: Dress, A Pea In The Pod
Oh my gosh, ladyfriends. I’ve been waiting to write this post for months, and I’m excited to be able to share something so personal and intimate with you now that the timing is finally right!
I’m sure many of you are curious as to our current sleeping situation after reading the title of this post. Honestly, it’s not something I ever expected, but what we’ve have figured out as a couple in terms of sleep has helped us immensely.
Ryan and I, similar to many couples I’ve spoken with, have very different sleep styles. I grew up in a home where my parents looooooved to save on their electricity bills. So in the Summer, it was hot (set to around 75+), and in the winter, it was cold (set to 68, but I had a separate heater in my bedroom because my room was over the garage and it was always a few degrees colder).
Ryan, on the other hand, had the air conditioning blowing throughout his house and apartments growing up 24/7. Winter and Summer. He’s always hot, and I’m always cold. There are very few things we argue about, but the temperature of our home has always been one of them.
Our differing sleep preferences started to become an issue after a few years together. I’ve mentioned in prior blog posts that Ryan has narcolepsy, so sleep for him is a priority every single night. He simply can’t function without it. In an effort to make us both comfortable, we would settle around 68 degrees for our sleep-time temperature year-round.
The bed itself is a totally different situation. I’ve been a stomach sleeper my entire life (although now I’m a side sleeper during pregnancy!), and because of this I’ve always enjoyed a firmer mattress. Ryan, naturally, is the complete opposite and would rather sleep on a poufy cloud.
We went through three different king mattresses before we decided to build our now “superbed,” made of two queens pushed together.
I wrote about the different mattresses we experimented with in this post. They ranged from latex, to organic wool, to a combination of the two. There wasn’t one mattress we could agree on. I’m not saying every night was miserable—in fact we still sleep great together in the same bed when we’re traveling—but the number of nights we were uncomfortable started to outweigh the nights we slept well.
This became an issue for both Ryan and I. Although I don’t have a diagnosed sleep disorder, I’ve been what you would call a “long sleeper” my entire life. This simply means that I thrive on a greater amount of hours of sleep, usually between 8-10 per night. My family knew that if I didn’t sleep at least eight hours, I would be cranky the next day. This was a joke from middle school up until I married Ryan. (And then it became his problem, ha!)
So, what’s a couple to do?
We realized rather quickly after moving from our apartment to a house that we had the space to build this “superbed.” In order to do what we did, a large wall is necessary in your bedroom, and now we had the capacity to make this somewhat crazy vision a reality.
Of course we had concerns about what sleeping in separate beds (albeit next to each other) would do to our relationship. Was it good feng shui to have such a large bed in the room? Would we grow apart over time without the connection of being in the same bed? What would people say when they saw or heard about the bed?
We considered the above for a matter of minutes (literally) and realized we had nothing to lose by giving it a shot.
The ‘feng shui’ issue: As much as I believe in feng shui, sleep is more important. The purpose of feng shui in a bedroom is to create an enticing, exciting and calming environment all in one, and I believe we’ve done that (except for the fact that I lost the TV battle and our bed does face a large TV).
The’ growing apart’ issue: We know ourselves and our relationship. We love each other and spend plenty of time snuggling and cuddling, and knowing we were never cuddlers while we slept to begin with, there was nothing to be concerned about.
The ‘what other people may think’ issue: Ryan has always taught me not to care about what others think, especially in a circumstance that affects our health and happiness. And guess what? Every single couple who has either seen photos of our bed or has been over to our home tells us that we are about to start a sleep revolution for married couples. They are obsessed with the idea and many are contemplating following suit. Even the statistics state that sleep is sacrificed for couples sleeping in the same bed!
Once we got over all of the above, it was time to build our bed. It wasn’t very complicated—we found an interior designer who could help us build a custom bed frame and picked out our own mattresses.
Naturally, based on our prior preferences, I chose a firmer mattress and Ryan chose one a bit softer. You can actually do something similar nowadays with king mattresses—many manufacturers will allow you to adjust the layers within your side of the mattress (we did this with our first latex mattress from Green Sleep).
The temperature situation was a different story. As our relationship went on, our bedroom seemed to get colder and colder. A few months ago, it was set to 66 degrees at bedtime during the month of January.
I wanted Ryan to be comfortable, but I also couldn’t hold back from how uncomfortable I was. We were both bending, but it wasn’t far enough for either of us to be 100% happy. This all changed the minute I became pregnant, because we both realized it was no longer about us, but rather, life now revolved around this little bugger growing inside of me. And, to my luck, that meant I had to be a little more comfortable at bedtime to be able to get the sleep my body required during those trying
Back to 68 degrees we went, and we’ve stayed there ever since. In the winter months, I plan on getting an extra blanket to keep me warm. If the baby ends up sleeping with us in our room, we won’t be turning on the AC, so don’t worry:) That situation is an entirely different blog post for a future date, but I will share that we did hire a night nurse to help us out for the first 8-10 weeks.
Although I’m having difficulty sleeping while being pregnant, I will say that both Ryan and I love our new setup. Arianna Huffington wrote a book about sleep released last year, and I’ve seen several articles since then claiming that a good night’s rest is the new “it” thing in wellness.
Sleep is underrated, and I promise if you make it a priority, it will change your life and your health. We’ve gone to somewhat drastic measures to make this possible for us as a couple, but it certainly doesn’t mean that you can’t make this work within your own home. Start by creating a great bedtime routine and go from there.
Here are a few of my suggestions, which I always do my best to follow:
- Read before bed instead of watching TV.
- Turn your cellphone OFF (not on airplane mode) at least 20 minutes before bed.
- If your partner snores or makes noises in the night (Ryan is notorious for funny noises), get a sound machine. We love the Dohm.
- Rub lavender essential oil on your wrists and around your neck before bedtime.
- Have water and chap stick by your bedside table.
- Start a bedtime gratitude journal, one of my favorite tricks for going to bed with a super positive mindset.
- In addition to journaling, write down everything that may be on your mind. Big project to finish in the morning? Write it down. Don’t want to forget to bring your spin shoes to work for tomorrow’s class? Write it down. Anything on your to-do list that could keep you up should go on paper. If you do so, there’s a much lower risk of that restless mind we’ve all experienced.
And now, I’d love to hear from you: what do you think of our sleep situation? Are you one of those lucky couples who has no issue sleeping, or can you relate to our journey of trying to find a happy sleeping medium? I know many couples who spoon throughout the entire night, and part of me envies them. They sleep great next to each other (I wake up every time Ryan moves or twitches) and can legit cuddle for hours and hours. But, you have to do what’s best for you, and what’s best for your relationship!
By the way, loves, I'm not saying every couple who has difficulty sleeping together should adopt our solution. It can seem dramatic and over the top for most, and I totally get that! Before we did this, I would sleep in our guest room a few nights per month (especially during pregnancy!) to get a really great nights rest. My intention with the post is to help us get over the stigma that we always have to be in the same bed as our partners. It isn't totally realistic in today's world, and there's no shame in taking a little "you" time to catch up on zzzz's!
Tell me more in the comments! Can’t wait to hear from you.