Despite all the online manuals about “10 ways improve your night’s rest,” and so on, sleep is an under-researched topic. Writer David K. Randall is now trying to close the gap with his new book “Dreamland: Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep.”
In one chapter he focuses solely on the strange history of the bed, and how it influences relationships.
Sleep is a highly underestimated factor in a person’s day-to-day well being. When we aren’t rested, our capacity to contain frustration goes out the window. We get irritated, testy and blow every minor incident out of proportion.
It’s a bit like the infamous low blood sugar phenomena that most women will immediately recognize. When basic needs like sleep or nourishment aren’t met, the stress levels go up dramatically.
(On a side note: most temper tantrums in children go back to low blood sugar. I guess we as adults aren’t all that much more advanced…)
Randall points out that women tend to have lighter sleep while men tend to snore more often than women. A fatal combination for the female part of the couple, who is also more likely to take care of the emotional needs of their spouses and children as well.
It all comes down to one thing: If women aren’t rested, all harmony goes out the window – or obviously, some less crude summary of the phenomenon.
Bad sleep can mean restless sleep, bad dreams and all kinds of illnesses on part of the partner. If you sleep on the same mattress as your spouse, you will likely be equally tired the next morning as her.
The solution seems easy: the return to the twin bed. But there is a certain stigma associated with that; sleeping in separate beds indicates that there’s trouble in the marriage. That one of the two doesn’t want to be quite as close anymore.
Despite studies that a person sleeps better alone, psychologically most people want to hang on to the bed sharing. They feel more emotionally attuned to the other, less lonely and more comforted.
There clearly is something about the sound of someone breathing deeply next to you. There is another presence right there that can help in case of danger.
However, the trend goes towards a greater acceptance of separate beds. According to a survey by the National Association of Home Builders, by 2016, more than half of all new custom-built homes in the United States will have separate master bedrooms.
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Last reviewed: 23 Aug 2012