The million dollar question…

Why do we sleep?

It’s actually a tough question that ‘science’ has yet to provide a definitive answer for.  An article in the Huffington Post is claiming to have the answers. And based on the reasonable comprehensive research I undertook when writing ‘Sleeping Apart not Falling Apart’, the connections are logical.

why do we sleep banner

It makes sense doesn’t it? Sleep is a regenerative and restorative process – it’s the body’s way of recharging all the systems that keep up going day-to-day. Put it together with fuel from food, shelter to keep us warm, clean air to breathe, and a couple of other important bodily functions, and we realise that Maslow really knew what he was talking about.

My ‘two cents’ in this basic need for all humans is how we get it – and how someone else can interfere with our sleep. And then…. how other people judge us when we foresake a social norm to meet this basic need.

“Blah, blah Jennifer…. we know!!”

But that’s the bit that always leaves me looking like this?



  • Would you starve yourself so people didn’t think your relationship was in trouble?
  • Would you sleep on the streets to prove your love to a partner?
  • Would you hold your breath or stop going to the toilet so your friends thought your relationship was ‘on track’?

Maybe other people would and I’m the odd one out. (BUT I don’t think so).

Anyway…….. I’ll just have to keep on trying to understand. Safe in the knowledge that my brain is in its best state to ponder such deep thoughts, because I have so much restorative sleep every night.

Million dollar question answered.

4 thoughts on “The million dollar question…”

  1. My husband and I have been together 27 years and have always had sepeeate bedrooms. On the occasions we share a room, it gets messy very quick….literally messy. We always say when people ask “we don’t confuse sex with sleep” and that seems to satisfy even the most curious…..

    I love the personal freedom of my own room…..seriously love it…….I’m a night owl, and he is a morning person, and I would not have it any other way. Good on you for doing this blog!

    1. Hi Louellyn

      Thanks for the comment. Completely agree with all that you are saying and I love your response to the eternal sex question. Strange how fascinated people are wondering how you have sex because you don’t sleep in the same bed. I’m always tempted to say “can’t you get even a little creative?”.

      Best wishes for many more restful nights and joyous personal space. Jenny

  2. What if both partners don’t agree?

    My wife and I have been married for 20 years, sleeping apart for the past 3. I absolutely hate it. She says her sleep is much better now that I’m not with her to disrupt her sleep. My sleep is much worse. I’m on a crappy couch that hurts my back, and there is no other place for me to go. Plus, I miss the intimacy of sleeping and cuddling with the one I love. Sexual intimacy is almost non-existent now. I’ve shared how I’ve felt numerous times, but am told I’m being selfish. I feel we both are being selfish – both want our needs to be met, but feel I’m the only one that is accommodating her needs. Every night. I told her she needs to compromise too, but refuses. I told her that I miss being intimate. She says she can’t be intimate when she’s tired. After three years of sleeping apart, it’s getting worse, not better. (At least from my perspective).

    I’m beginning to think she doesn’t love me anymore. Any suggestions for a frustrated guy?

    1. Hi Matt

      Thanks for getting in touch. Sorry to hear your relationship is being negatively impacted by your separate sleeping arrangements. Certainly, my support of separate sleeping is never at the expense of relationship harmony – but it can be a major challenge when the two people in the relationship want such disparate arrangements. It’s a bit like if one partner decides to be a vegan, while the other wants to continue their existing eating habits that include meat, or if one partner joins a religion that dictates vastly different life practices and one partner doesn’t want to join. Every relationship is tricky because one person’s desire to change something about themselves that doesn’t suit the partner is always a risk we face. Humans change all the time and I’ve always believed you are lucky if your chosen partner stays ‘the same’ as you for the length of the relationship. However, when you are the person who is losing the relationship you loved because of the change, this can be tough.

      I’m certainly not a relationship expert, but could suggest that you consider having some couple’s counselling to see if there are some underlying issues that your wife is feeling, but may be wary to share with you?? I can certainly empathise with her about feeling awful due to lack of sleep, and I can understand why she wants to get a good night’s sleep. But I can also empathise with you that you feel shut out and miss the intimate parts of the relationship. It’s a complex and complicated situation to resolve and I can imagine that after 20 years of marriage, your relationship has many subtleties that are only really known by you both. Often seeking the views and advice of a professional third party can help to facilitate a productive conversation and may help you unravel some of the frustrations you are both feeling. I’m a big fan of seeking professional help and have done so on many occasions throughout my life.

      Don’t underestimate your wife’s need to sleep though. I struggle greatly when I don’t have enough sleep. On the rare occasion that I do share a bed with my husband, he still sleeps soundly and I wake feeling like I have run a marathon. I also harbour feelings of resentment towards him because his snoring kept me awake. This is not a good recipe for a happy relationship. We are lucky that this has been the way our relationship has worked since the beginning – we don’t have 17 years of shared sleep and then a drastic change. But maybe as your wife has aged and felt more confident and comfortable in your relationship, her need to sleep (for her health) has taken a higher priority?? Again, hard for me to know.

      However, on a very practical and immediate level, could I suggest that if one of you is to sleep on the couch then maybe you could look into buying a better couch. Either a sofa bed, or there are many couches/lounges that are comfortable enough to sleep on as they are, if just covered by a sheet, or duvet – given your temperature challenges. Could that be an option for you?

      Matt, I do feel for your situation as the intimacy in a marriage is part of the glue that binds it, and is what makes that relationship different to all your others. And I can understand why, if this is now missing, you are feeling rejected and upset. I do offer a range of suggestions in my book for communicating with your partner, if you felt you would like to read how other couples have faced and worked through this dilemma. I certainly don’t advocate sleeping separately at all costs, but do suggest that sleep is not a luxury or add-on part of a person’s day, so needs to be treated with a level of importance and understanding by partners.

      I really do wish you well in working through this issue with your wife. Twenty years of marriage is admirable, and I would imagine shows that you have a relationship with great foundations on which to tackle this tricky bump in your road together.

      All the best, Jenny Adams

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