Jennifer Adams works in corporate communications and change. She enjoys writing and is a founding member of the Brisbane Scribes. Jennifer's many conversations about her and her husband's decision to sleep separately led her to write the first version of A Sleep Divorce (Sleeping Apart not Falling Apart) to help people understand why sleep is so important and why sacrificing sleep to meet the social expectations of how and where couples sleep isn't worth it.
Jennifer's Separate Sleeping Story
My husband and I lasted a week in a bed together when he first moved into my house and we had to face the fact that as much as we loved each other, we just couldn't share a bed. Nearly twenty years later, we are still very happily married and very happily sleeping in our own bedrooms every night. And I know that there are thousands of couples out there in the same situation because I spoke to many of them as I wrote my book.
Unfortunately, not everyone feels confident to stand up and say "I sleep separately and it's OK" because they feel they will be judged negatively. As a dedicated and happy separate sleeper, I am on a long and dedicated crusade to start, and continue, two conversations.
The first is the conversation between you and your partner about what your needs are when it comes to sleep. Is your favourite person to sleep with yourself? And if so, how can you tell your partner this news while re-assuring them there is nothing wrong with your relationship?
The second is the conversation with you and the rest of the world that sleeping separately is OK. How can you let everyone know that there is nothing wrong with your relationship just because you want to sleep in your own bed every night, or even just some nights?
I love talking to people who are proud separate sleepers, or those who haven't mustered up the courage yet to share it with friends, family or the world. If you would like to share your stories, thoughts or concerns with me my email address is: email@example.com
Otherwise, enjoy the website, buy our book, and I hope you find either some inspiration or some comfort in reading about someone who shares your sleeping pursuits.
Dr. Neil Stanley is an independent freelance sleep expert, Director of Sleep Science at Sleepstation in the UK, and has been involved in sleep research for more than 42 years. He started his career at the Neurosciences Division of the R.A.F. Institute of Aviation Medicine and has contributed to the development of European guidelines for the accreditation of Sleep Medicine Centres, certification of professionals in sleep medicine, and standard procedures for adults in accredited sleep medicine centres in Europe. Neil's first book How to Sleep Well provides practical advice on how to improve sleep quality.
Neil's Separate Sleeping Story
As a sleep researcher, you would expect that I am obsessed with getting a good night’s sleep and indeed I try and do all that I can to ensure that I, and those that I am ‘close’ to, get good sleep.
Both in my first serious long-term relationship, and my subsequent marriage I slept separately from both partners. The reasons were simply about not being able get a good night’s sleep because of all the normal disturbances of mis-matched sleep patterns, work commitments interfering with times to go to and get out of bed, and bedroom preferences meaning that separate rooms just allowed us both to sleep better. In both cases, our love life was normal, we just valued sleep more than sharing a room.
I don’t remember having any profound conversation with either partner about us sleeping separately; it was just a mature, pragmatic solution to a problem. My wife and I often discussed trying to sleep together, but it never worked. In each of the houses we lived in my wife had her bedroom decorated and furnished according to her tastes, and I had mine. It wasn’t that either of us was sleeping in the backroom, the guest room, or the spare room.
In 2005 I co-authored one of the first papers objectively looking at couples sleep with my good friends in the Sociology Department of the University of Surrey. But the media interest was really sparked after, the publication of the 2009 paper and my talk at the British Science Festival that year. However, as much I endorsed the idea of separate beds/bedrooms I was never able to admit publicly that my wife and I slept apart because my wife did not want her elderly parents to find out.
Then one day when talking to a journalist from The Sunday Times I very much ‘off the record’ mentioned that I did sleep separately from my wife, but there was no way this could ever appear in public. Well, you can imagine my surprise when a couple of Sundays later, my wife was reading The Sunday Times Style magazine, and there was the statement that we slept separately.
The genie was out of the bottle, so there was little point in future interviews not admitting to the fact that we slept apart. Thus, I became, almost by default, the ‘separate sleeping’ evangelist.