Should you and your partner sleep in separate beds?

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Not everyone gets on in bed quite as well as these two did.
Not everyone gets on in bed quite as well as these two did.

A couple’s sleeping needs are sometimes incompatible. In fact, research shows that one in six British couples sleep apart. If you share a bed with a partner who snores, hogs space or fidgets relentlessly, separate beds may seem like the most practical solution.

However, there are a variety of other options for couples who need to accommodate different night time requirements and still wish to retain intimacy. Here are some important factors to consider when determining whether or not you need to be a solo sleeper:

Size matters

Before deciding to make the leap into separate beds, why not consider upgrading? If you and your partner are struggling to achieve a peaceful night’s sleep, perhaps all you need is a little more space. After all, there’s nothing worse than being rudely awakened by an unwanted elbow pushing into your back.

While most double beds will seem spacious enough for two, it can still feel a little claustrophobic at times. Of course, the size of your bed will depend upon your height, weight and build, but generally speaking, the bigger the bed, the less disturbance you will have from your partner. In order to determine whether or not your bed is big enough for both of you, try lying side by side with your elbows out – if they touch, it’s likely you’re going to need more room. If you know that you love to stretch out and have your own space, why not upgrade to a king size or queen size bed?

Health requirements

It may be that one or even both of you suffer from a health condition that hinders your ability to get a good night’s rest. Luckily, there are now plenty of options for couples who have specific health needs without having to sleep apart. Double beds with built in massage systems, for example, can offer effective relief from a variety of medical ailments without compromising on comfort.

If you or your partner suffers from airway problems that cause snoring, sleeping apart is perhaps the most obvious answer if you want to avoid sleepless nights. However, instead of banishing your other half to the guest bedroom, why not experiment with different sleeping positions? For example, lying on your side can help to open up your airways and promote deep breathing. If this fails, you can always rely on a trusty pair of ear plugs!


Comfort can be highly subjective. While you may enjoy the ‘cocooned’ effect that a soft bed offers, your partner may feel that a firm bed ticks all the right boxes. Having single beds is a simple way to address differing comfort needs so that you can customise sleeping arrangements to suit individual preferences.

However, if you’d prefer to stay close and keep that loving touch, zipped mattresses and link beds can offer two different comfort levels and allow for individual control over how hard or soft the mattress is. This will enable you to achieve the best of both worlds – a sleeping position that offers maximum comfort while still being able to remain side by side.


Many couples find that contrasting lifestyle preferences can get in the way of having a peaceful night’s rest. Different schedules can lead to disturbed sleeping patterns, leaving you feeling fatigued and agitated in the morning and, in turn, this can cause tension in the relationship. It’s not uncommon for couples to have differing bedtime habits, but the good news is that there are numerous ways to solve these problems.

For a quick, convenient fix, eye masks and earplugs can be used. Alternatively, if you’re looking for a more long-term solution, investing in an adjustable double bed can effectively accommodate different lifestyle choices.
An electrical bed can be manouvered on either side, meaning that one person can be sat up reading a book while the other can be lying down. To browse a range of high quality adjustable beds, head to a reputable online furniture site, such as Adjustablebeds.co.uk.

This post is a PR collaboration.

Photo credit: Nationaal Archief, Den Haag, Rijksfotoarchief: Fotocollectie Algemeen Nederlands Fotopersbureau (ANEFO). Published under Creative Commons Agreement 3.0. For a link to the agreement and further information, please see my Disclosure page.

3 thoughts on “Should you and your partner sleep in separate beds?”

  1. While investigating a range of ‘compromise’ solutions may work for some couples, for others, sleeping separately is the only solution available to allow one or both couples to get enough sleep each night to function effectively during the day.

    And…. there’s nothing wrong with that. Sometimes sleeping separately (some nights or every night) is what works for couples – and they shouldn’t be judged unfairly for that. Unfortunately, the prevailing social response is that there’s something wrong with you (as a couple) if you’re heading to separate rooms at night.

    That unfounded and unfair judgement kind of upsets me. Being a separate sleeper from my husband – together for ten years, married for seven – we have grown together as a couple and enjoy a ‘normal’ relationship – all from the health-focussed locations of our own rooms.

    Sometimes, trying really hard just isn’t enough. Sometimes, you have to step outside of the norm and find a solution that works for YOU. Not for everyone else.

    My passion for separate sleeping led me to write a book ‘Sleeping Apart not Falling Apart: How to get a good night’s sleep and keep your relationship alive’, so all those couples who face the judgement of the majority of couples could feel confident that 1. they are not alone; 2. they have made a good decision for THEM; and 3. there is NOTHING wrong with them as a couple.

    In an enlightened age…. why is where you rest each night such an issue. It perplexes me so.

    Sleep well, one and all.

    1. Tom – I don’t wish to outdo you but I can beat that. I ended up sleeping in the local Travelodge a few months ago when I went out for the night and returned home unable to find my key. Despite my best efforts, I couldn’t wake my wife. I felt very stupid indeed.

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