In search of a good night's sleep, couples often choose separate - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

In search of a good night's sleep, couples often choose separate beds


 A good night's sleep is something we all dream of, but not everyone gets. That's why some couples are choosing to sleep separately.

According to a poll from the National Sleep Foundation, about one in five couples do not sleep together for reasons like comfort, shift work or sleep disorders.  

Shift work was what lead to Steve and Debbie Flynn, married for 30-plus years, sleeping in separate bedrooms for the past 14 years.  

"I was working a different shift, so I didn't get home until 3:30 - 4:00 a.m. and then slept 'til noon," said Steve.  

"It's not that we don't love each other," Debbie added.  "It just seemed like it was natural, easier to do.  The dogs slept with me.  He'd be able to go to bed, not have to worry about anything."

Sleep industry experts are now taking note that the Flynns aren't the only ones doing this.  

"You're putting the priority on being able to sleep  well over trying to fit to whatever the societal norm might be," said Ryan Poppie, president of Beloit Mattress Company.  The sleeping separately trend can keep his staff busy with special orders, but overall he says it's a good thing for his bottom line.  

"He wants his bed.  She wants her bed, so you're selling two beds instead of one," said Poppie.  

Doctors typically see couples choosing separate sleeping arrangements because of sleep disorders.  "A lot of these problems we're talking about - sleep apnea, snoring, and restless leg syndrome or periodic limb movement disorder are treatable conditions," said Dr. Mark Lanser at SSM Health St. Mary's Hospital.  He says he doesn't recommend couples sleeping separately in that case and would rather treat the root of the problem.  

"Even though you're in the other bedroom, you're still not getting a good night's sleep so I'd say let's just solve the problem here," said Dr. Lanser.  "Then there's the guilt of going and leaving your bed partner/spouse and sleeping in another room.  There's a loss of intimacy, the conversational value of being in bed, talking in the morning or in the evening before you go to bed, and working things out through the day."

Steve and Debbie say they make it work by spending afternoons together.  "Basically when we get home from work we talk," said Debbie.  "If there's any romance going on we just do it before I go to bed!"

For now they say the separate beds and rooms work for them.  "We may never go back to the same bed," said Debbie.  

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