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The YEI team asked our readers what they thought of couples sleeping in separate beds and the replies were very interesting and thought provoking.


Research * indicates that more people sleep in separate beds than we think. But there is a reluctance on the part of many to admit their preference. 

According to researchers, different sleeping quarters are actually pretty common for couples and do not necessarily signal a relationship on the rocks. But the question we ask is why would some want to sleep apart?

Robert Adams, a professor in respiratory and sleep medicine at Flinders University’s College of Medicine and Public Health, says previously unpublished data from research undertaken on behalf of the Sleep Health Foundation in 2019 found that 17% of 2,040 Australian adults who were married or living with their partner slept alone. This can happen for a range of reasons – such as snoring, incompatible body clocks, restless children, sleep disorders like insomnia, or physical illness.

Adams also found that 22% of cohabiting individuals would prefer to sleep alone, but didn’t. Preferences varied by age, with people aged over 55 years (27%) more likely to prefer sleeping alone than those aged 18-34 years (16%).

In order to deal with a partner’s undesirable bedtime behaviours, 11% had resorted to using ear plugs or eye masks, and 13% had changed their sleep schedule – going to bed earlier or later, or staggering their sleep times.

According to a study published in 1994 ** “When sleep is measured objectively, people actually sleep worse with a partner. In fact, if you sleep with someone who snores, you can blame them for up to 50 percent of your sleep disruptions.

But when you ask those disrupted sleepers “Do you prefer to sleep with your partner or do you prefer to sleep alone?”, most say that they prefer to sleep with their partner. This suggests that our social brain is prioritizing our need for closeness and security at night — even when it comes at a cost to our sleep.” 


Woman covering her ears because man is snoring


But enough of the science! What do South African Seniors say about this topic?***


Patricia W said “Never slept in a separate bed or room unless one of us was in hospital, l got married to be WITH my husband, not APART from him”

Angelina N commented “We are married nearly 50 years and have always slept together, first on double beds then on queen beds. But if one of us has a particularly restless night, now that we are in our seventies, that one will quietly slip off into the other bedroom…works for us 🤩

Sadia G “No separate beds is not for us, we make up our double bed together, chill together, sick snoring, twisting and turning breakfast in bed more importantly I refuse to make up 2x beds but yes if couples prefer separate beds that Ok it all up to them🥰

While on the other end of the spectrum Val T commented “My husband & I have had separate bedrooms for about 6 years. I am 73 & my husband is 81. I am a very light sleeper & he is a heavy snorer. When we are on holiday we are in the same bedroom & bed. We will be married for 52 years in June & we are very happy together.”

and Linda K said “Been separate for 20 yrs. Only on holiday if there’s one double bed we’re together. He suffers from Sleep Apnea. 🤿😜” 

Despite what each side said, we echo what Reina O, said 

“Couples must do what works for them, not what other people think.”


So there you have it! The answer to what S.A seniors think of sleeping in separate beds! 


To YEI readers: 

  • What is your view on this topic? 
  • Do you believe that sleeping in separate beds strengthens or weakens a relationship?
  • We would love to hear from you.

*Is sleeping in separate beds bad for your relationship? A sleep scientist answers | (
**The influence of bed partners on movement during sleep – PubMed (
***YEI Facebook page question: New research indicates that some couples are happier within their relationships when they sleep apart in separate beds or even separate rooms. What do you think?
Aging and Sleep: How Does Growing Old Affect Sleep? | Sleep Foundation
Together apart: why sleeping in separate beds is not always the beginning of the end | Life and style | The Guardian


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