Kiss & Tell: The Sleeping Part of Sleeping Together

The truth is that sex is the easy part of sleeping together. It’s the “sleeping” part that causes concern. Now even a one night stand has decreased to a half night stand to avoid dangers of waking up with mascara raccoon eyes or contortions to strategically drape sheets over unfortunate body parts illuminated by the light of day. I know a beautiful Russian who would only have sex on the floor because she actually considered the bed too personal. Even Lucy and Ricky slept in separate twin beds.

There are all sorts of relationship compatibility quizzes but how many address where you spend a third of your life? Are you a blackout curtains, eye mask, white noise machine sleeper or do you prefer open windows so that you can greet that sweet morning light and chirping birds? Do you prefer a hard mattress and light blanket or a pillow top pad and down comforter with enough feathers to cover a plucked gaggle of geese? You can vow for better or worse but not for snoring or night sweats.

I will happily cuddle with you at the movies, in front of your mom, at Starbucks, the frozen food aisle, the post office line, and in a McDonalds handicapped bathroom if you are having a tough day, but when it is time to actually sleep — hands off. And if you continue to be the nocturnal Pepe Le Pew I will keep moving away until I roll off the bed and move around to the other side. But please do not take the unconscious picking up of your arm and flinging it away as rejection. I don’t have intimacy issues — I have sleep issues. 

With one in nine people suffering from insomnia, a good night’s sleep is clearly a challenge for many let alone in a duet. Your subconscious is struggling to work out your conscious world’s problems. I know one veteran with PTSD whose wife had to carefully slip out of bed to throw a shoe at him as he could wake up swinging. Most people can relate to that moment when your eyes are closing and you put away the book or turn off the TV ready to nod off and all your anxieties dance with delight, “Great — now we have your complete attention.” Lack of sleep can lead to everything from weight gain to aggression to psychosis. 

When you are asleep you are vulnerable. Animals in the wild know enough to go into a cave or up a tree. A feeling of safety is key to that level of deep relaxation. No wonder fights end up in someone sleeping on the couch. As a species (except for procreation) humans can survive without sex but not without sleep. Separate bedrooms used to be considered the sign of a loveless marriage but actually there is a growing trend of couples sleeping apart and arranging a “your place or mine” routine for intimacy. The resulting good night’s rest actually makes them healthier, happier, and more attractive. Many second act love lives embrace living separately in each’s own home and sometimes at the other’s. The double bed for eternity is no longer necessary or even healthy. 

So when someone asks you if you are sleeping together and you answer, “No,” they may not know you are having your best love life ever.

Heather Buchanan

Heather Buchanan is an award-winning writer with the accolades of "Best Column" and "Best Humor Column" from both the National Association of Newspaper Columnists and the Press Club of Long Island. Having first dipped her toes in the beaches of Sagaponack at three weeks old she has a long lens on Hamptons real estate both as a journalist, marketer, and buyer and seller before joining Sotheby’s International Realty. With her in-depth knowledge and personal dedication, she has been helping clients realize their dreams of a home in the Hamptons. When she is not working, she is perfecting her secret pie crust recipe, mastering the nine iron or making peace with pigeon pose.

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