Kgomotso Moloi* loves her husband – but what she doesn’t love is his snoring. The solution to this problem? Sleeping in different beds.
“My husband snores – bless him, there is nothing else to it,” she says. “Over the years, I’ve become a light sleeper, so it has become difficult for me not to be woken up by his snoring. And it got to a point where I would shove him over or nudge him a little, but my sleep was always disturbed.”
More and more couples are questioning the traditional notion of the marriage bed and opting for a solution that works for them.
Research by a university in Toronto, Canada, found that 30 to 40% of couples slept in separate beds at night.
There’s a reason for this. A British study conducted in 2009 found that on average, couples suffered 50% more sleep disturbances if they shared a bed, from snoring and moving around at night to duvet-hogging.
No studies on the subject have been done in South Africa, but there are some couples, like Moloi and her husband, who have found that sleeping apart works for them.
“I wake up refreshed; I have a long night’s sleep,” she says. “I am happy and I’m in a good mood. I’m not staring at him with daggers, so I think it is good.”
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There is a stigma attached to sleeping in different beds – for some, it’s a sign that the relationship is doomed, and lacks intimacy and warmth. Some couples see cuddling as a vital part of being in a relationship. But bad sleep has several adverse effects on the body.
According to a report by Harvard, a lack of good-quality sleep affects judgment, mood, the ability to remember information and drowsiness, which can lead to a greater chance of serious injury.
“In the long term, chronic sleep deprivation may lead to a host of health problems including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even early mortality,” the report states.
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Moloi adds that as the parent of a toddler who loves to sleep in the bed with her mom and dad, there isn’t a lot of space for intimacy.
“A shared bed is also what our three-year-old comes into, and kicks me the whole night. So there is no intimacy happening,” she says.
If anything, sleeping in different beds has enhanced sexy time with her husband. “Now, when I am in my room I get to invite him over and that room becomes the sacred place,” she says.
*Not her real name