When my husband and I first married, we had a queen-sized bed in our tiny apartment and loved nothing more than to cuddle together each night before falling asleep. It was comforting to hear his quiet breathing and to feel his warm body spooning mine. The intimacy of sleeping next to each other was one of the things I cherished most about married life.
Fast forward 15 years and four kids later…and my husband rarely sleeps in the same bed with me. Some might see this as a red flag that our marriage is in trouble (it’s not) and that we’ve lost our passion for one another (we haven’t). Our reasons for sleeping apart are simple; my husband has Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS), a neurological disorder characterized by an unpleasant throbbing or twitching sensation in the legs when sitting or lying down.The uncomfortable tickling sensation in the muscles can only be relieved by moving the legs. My husband does this as soon as he falls asleep. He rubs his legs together like a cricket, blissfully unaware that the repetitive movement disturbs my sleep. Some of the other symptoms he experiences include muscle spasms in his arms and shoulders once he begins to drift off into Never Never Land. His constant twitching and shifting shakes the mattress like a vibrating bed in a cheap motel and prevents me from getting the seven hours of uninterrupted sleep that I crave.
RLS isn’t the only reason we can’t sleep in the same bed. I’m guilty of waking up my husband in the middle of the night with some annoying habits of my own. There’s a reason why he refers to me as the snoring Snuffaluffagus from hell. If I’ve had a particularly bad day, I grind my teeth in my sleep, which my husband claims sounds like I’m chewing on nails. Earplugs, mouth guards, nose strips, and medications have only given us temporary relief from our sleep issues. Most of the time, the earplugs disappear between the pillows, and the nose strips end up stuck to the sheets.
We also have very different schedules, which makes sleeping together even more of a challenge. My husband needs to be in bed several hours before me for his early morning work shift, while I prefer staying up late to work without being distracted by the noise of our active family. My habit of climbing into bed at 2:00 a.m. disrupts my husband’s sleep as much as his early morning alarm clock disturbs mine.
I suggested that we buy twin beds so that we could at least sleep in the same room, but my husband wasn’t too thrilled with the idea. He complained that twin beds were too small and reminiscent of every couple’s bedroom set featured on television shows from the 1950s. We finally agreed that the best solution was to sleep separately, especially during the weeknights when my husband needed a solid eight hours before heading out early for work.
On our first night apart, it felt strange to be alone in the queen-sized bed while my spouse slept down the hall. But after a few nights of sleeping by myself, I relished the extra mattress space. Hogging all the covers and spreading out my limbs like a snow angel on the cool, crisp sheets was pure decadence. I could fall asleep without worrying that I’d be awakened at all hours by a vibrating mattress. Best of all, I could snore, drool, or fart with no one to see or hear me (except for the poor dog sleeping near my feet).
The bed has since become my sanctuary. I love sleeping alone because I value a good night’s rest too much to go without it. I know my limits, and there’s only so much caffeine I can drink in order to function like a normal human being the next day.
Am I embarrassed to tell people that my husband and I sleep separately? Not at all. Our sleeping arrangement isn’t a reflection of the state of our marriage, nor does it mean that we don’t have sex. We cherish whatever alone time we can get, and our passion is easily sparked by a single kiss. Love and intimacy are celebrated between the sheets of my comfy queen-sized bed, and there’s nothing more satisfying than nodding off with my husband’s arms around me. Sometimes we’re even lucky enough to sleep uninterrupted through the night without the snoring and blanket hogging….but once the cricket starts rubbing his legs together, all bets are off.
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This post was written by Marcia Kester Doyle exclusively for BonBon Break Media LLC.
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