You could think that a married couple sleeping in separate beds might seem like a strange thing but sometimes two beds may be better than one. Traditionalists dictate that once married, you and your husband are supposed to share the matrimonial bed so that you can keep up regular intimacy and make many babies. That\u2019s what getting married is all about, isn\u2019t it?\r\n\r\nCulturally, the idea of sleeping separately is an uncomfortable one. It gives rise to the impression that romance has died and that the marriage has ended.\u00a0 In fact, there\u2019s a term coined to describe this sort of sleeping arrangement. It is called \u201csleep divorce\u201d \u2500 a case of sleeping in a different bed or different bedroom from your husband according to your own schedule and in the environment that suits your individual needs best.\r\n\r\nIf you\u2019re constantly tired from lack of sleep or irritated by your partner\u2019s sleeping habits, a sleep divorce could be the single best thing you both can do for your marriage.\r\nQuality Sleep is Crucial for Health\r\nThere is no argument that sleep is very important to the optimal functioning of the human body. Not getting enough sleep can lead to tiredness, decreased immune function,\u00a0chronic pain, a range of physical ailments not to mention mental health complications such as irritability,\u00a0crankiness, inability to think clearly, jitteriness, depression and\u00a0anxiety.\u00a0 So says Psychology Today.\r\n\r\nFactor in the usual spousal conflicts such as money and in-law issues into lack of sleep and you\u2019ve got yourself a ticking timebomb: rising inflammation in the body that could predispose diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and other chronic conditions. On top of that, Time.com which published a study says lack of sleep is linked to bigger and angrier fights. If both spouses got less than seven hours of sleep the previous two nights, their discussions were more likely to become hostile, making inflammation even worse. Couples who used unhealthy tactics in their disagreements saw about a 10% increase in inflammation in their bodies for each hour of sleep loss.\r\n\r\nPart of the problem, says senior author Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, director of the Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research, is that sleep problems and marital issues often build on each other. \u201cIf one person is restless, or has chronic problems, that can impact the other\u2019s sleep. If these problems persist over time, you can get this nasty reverberation within the couple.\u201d\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nAccording to a July 2018 study of 2,000 respondents from all over the UK by online pharmacy Chemist4U, 11% of couples choose to sleep separately every night, with 26% doing some nights. Of those surveyed 32% admitted preferring the solo arrangement and 40% of women said they preferred to sleep separately.\r\n\r\nIt is the same in the US. Also in 2018, a nationwide survey of 3,000 Americans held by Mattress Clarity, a sleep product review website reported that 30.9% of Americans would like to sleep separately from their significant other. Furthermore, 10% of those surveyed saw a previous relationship end over sleep issues. Another surprise \u2500 40% of men compared to 38%\u00a0of women want their own bed space. Here are the reasons why.\r\n1. Different Sleeping Time Schedules\r\n\r\n\r\nSome spouses are night owls. They like to watch TV, read or scroll through their phones watching Netflix or updating their Facebook into the wee hours until they fall asleep. The bedroom lights or reading lights, and lights and noises from the phone or TV could really intrude into the sleep of the other spouse who may be trying to get a good night\u2019s rest in order to be fresh for an important presentation at work the next day, or simply just trying to get a good night\u2019s rest.\r\n\r\nAnd then there are the alarms set for different times for each spouse. Some people work shifts, some part time. Syncing waking hours may be near impossible.\r\n2. Movement & Sleeping Habits\r\nMovement caused by tossing and turning in bed can wake the other up. Of course you and your husband could choose a good sturdy mattress that doesn\u2019t allow for motion transfer but this option only works if bed spring movement is the only issue.\r\n\r\nThere could be other bothersome sleep habits like teeth grinding in the middle of the night which could wake the other partner up, or feet grating (lying in bed and digging the heels into the bedsheet in a paddling motion) before one partner can fall asleep. Some spouses don\u2019t mind this habit but some others could get totally irritated, putting paid to whatever romantic intentions they might have had for sleeping together in the first place.\r\n\r\nYet one more set of annoyances, especially in our Malaysian environment of humid weather and small abodes, is body heat and sweat coming off the other or worse, kicking each other in the middle of the night.\r\n3. Snoring\r\n\r\n\r\nProbably one of the hugest sleep disruptors that come from sleeping together is snoring.\u00a0 A 1999 Mayo Clinic study found that on average, those who sleep with a snoring partner lose an hour of sleep per night. Think of the sleep loss long term.\r\n\r\nSnoring is earsplitting to say the least. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the\u00a0loudest snore\u00a0recorded measured approximately 111.6 decibels (db). A vacuum cleaner is 70 db, a chainsaw is about 100 db and a jet take-off at 300m away is about 118 db.\r\n\r\nOf course changing sleep positions so that the snoring is not directed straight into your ear or using various anti-snoring products can help with this disturbance, but many times, sleeping in the next room may be the only option.\r\n4. Cover\/Blanket Pulling\r\nCover or blanket pulling, says Psychology Today is also consistently given as a reason why couples sleep apart. One spouse may suddenly find himself or herself freezing in the middle of the night because the other has hogged the comforter or completely kicked off the blankets. Of course, you could always go for separate sets of bedding to prevent this. One of the reasons cover pulling is such a nighttime nuisance is that individuals have their own preferences for individual sleep temperature. Some like the windows open for fresh night air, some like them shut, others like the air con on while some others can\u2019t stand the aircon. And then there is the aircon temperature to contend with as well: Too hot, too cold, what\u2019s just nice for all the Goldilocks in the room? Suffice to say \u2500 sometimes, sharing just doesn\u2019t work because you can\u2019t please everybody.\r\n5. Co-Sleeping with Children\r\n\r\n\r\nThrow kids into the mix and the situation gets messier. There\u2019s the round-the-clock breast or bottlefeeding schedule for mum while older kids may be co-sleeping in parent\u2019s beds.\r\nA Well Rested Relationship is a Healthy Relationship\r\nIn the end, good sense will dictate that achieving a well-rested relationship is of the highest priority. As a mother, you are already running around wearing so many hats and wearing yourself thin. Not feeling frazzled and exhausted all the time impacts your interactions and relationships with everyone around, not just with your husband. You make a better parent too to your children and a lovelier in-law to your extended family if you are living together.\r\nSleep Better to Heighten Romance\u00a0\r\n\r\n\r\nAnd don\u2019t worry about your love life. Sleep and sex are not intertwined meaning you don\u2019t need to sleep in the same bed at bedtime to enjoy intimacy. There are other hours in the day or evening apart from bedtime and there is the other room too. For those whose marriage has become dull and predictable, this is where sex can become more spontaneous and exciting.\r\n\r\nIn fact, argues Peter Saddington, a UK sex and relationship counselor, for some people, sleeping separately can even prove to be positive for your sex life. \u201cSleeping in the same bed can become mundane,\u201d he says. \u201cYou see your partner not always necessarily looking their best \u2013 sweaty, dishevelled \u2013 but if you\u2019re just there for sex you can put more effort in and present yourself when you\u2019re feeling at your best. For some people it can even heighten excitement.\u201d\r\n\r\nIn the end it is up to you. If you are constantly sleep-deprived and your health is being compromised, give sleep divorce a try. You can do it for a few weeks and if it doesn\u2019t work, you can always go back. If you see improvement, then that\u2019s all the proof you need to keep going. And remember, it isn\u2019t a rejection of your partner but an attempt to become closer by respecting each other\u2019s personal space.\r\n\r\nFor more relationship and health-related advice, go to Motherhood.com.my.