Sleeping Apart Brings Us Closer Together; EXCLUSIVE: Separate Beds Could Be the Secret to a Happy Marriage, According to a New Study. Tiziana Parris-Miah and Husband Farrid Say Heading to Different Rooms Every Night Is What Keeps Them Together by Alison Smith-Squire

Article excerpt

Byline: Alison Smith-Squire

Once upon a time single beds were a classic sign that your relationship had hit the rocks.

But this week a controversial study found that couples who sleep apart could be healthier than those who sleep together.

Dr Neil Stanley, a professor at the University of Surrey, argues that a good night's sleep is more important than getting close to a loved one and we should all be thinking about heading for the spare room.

Dr Stanley, who sleeps apart from his wife, points out that historically this was how it was meant to be. We only began to share a bed in the Victorian era because of shortage of space.

He says: "We all know what it's like to have a cuddle and then say 'I'm going to sleep now' and go to the opposite side of the bed. So why not just toddle off down the landing."

In fact, recent research reveals that as many as one in five couples already sleep in separate beds.

And the longer the couple has been together the more common it is - an astonishing 40% of those in their 70s choose to sleep apart.

The main reasons given are partners who snore, toss and turn all night, or talk in their sleep.

Plus many couples who both work in stressful careers are making a good night's rest their top priority.

Before you ditch the double, however, relationship expert Dr Sheri Jacobsen, of Harley Therapy, cautions: "While physically you might get more sleep if you don't share a bed with your partner, what this doesn't take into account is the psychological aspects.

"Sleeping separately might work for the very strongest relationships, but the feeling of closeness and intimacy couples gain from sleeping together cannot be underestimated.

"My worry is that for some couples separate beds might push them apart, not bring them closer together. Certainly it could spell disaster if your relationship is already rocky."

So would your relationship with your other half flourish if you slept in separate beds - or even entirely separate bedrooms? Nursing assistant Tiziana Parris-Miah, 50, has been with husband Farrid, 49, a printer, for seven years and married to him for five.

A divorcee, she has two grown-up children from her first marriage.

The couple live in South London and sleep in separate rooms...

" People think we don't have sex, but it adds a frisson "

Tiziana says: I was married for 18 years to a husband I slept with every night - and I can definitely say that if you want a really happy relationship you should sleep in separate beds. In fact, I think many couples would be much happier if, like us, they actually slept in different bedrooms. But then it still seems to be a taboo to admit that you and your partner don't sleep together and are quite contented.

Throughout my first marriage I often thought about sleeping separately.

I am a very light sleeper, I'm woken by any little noise, and when my husband wasn't in bed with me I would relish stretching out in the double bed.

Unsurprisingly when we got of the bonuses divorced I found one of living alone was sleeping on my own.

Still, when I met Farrid and he moved in to my three-bedroom house, naturally he moved into my bed too as that's what couples in love do. But after a few nights it was clear that this wasn't going to work.

Suddenly I felt squeezed into my half of the bed, and poor Farrid had only to snuffle and I'd wake up. …