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

The Mirror (London, England), September 11, 2009 | Go to article overview

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


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 UK 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...

"I don't understand why more couples don't try it"

Farrid says: "It was winter time when Tiziana and I began sleeping together. She likes to sleep with a thick quilt and a hotwater bottle which I found unbearable. So I can only remember the relief I felt when she suggested we sleep separately.

At last I could go to sleep with a thin cool duvet.

However, I can now honestly say that having our own bedrooms has enhanced our relationship. I don't understand why more couples don't try it.

Before I met Tiziana I lived with another woman for years and we always slept Iwe always slept together. But sleeping apart actually feels more natural.

Tiziana and I have lots in common and are a much more touchy-feely couple than most.

Often we will have a chat in her bedroom before I retire for the night.

Then although I have a TV in my bedroom - I usually watch the football on that - we love snuggling up together, watching TV on the sofa downstairs.

And sex isn't a problem at all. We simply enjoy it in whoever's bedroom we end up in before happily retreating to our own double beds to sleep.

But because we sleep separately we never have disturbed nights and always wake up refreshed.

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