Health & Wellness

'Happily united' in separate rooms: Why my husband and I sleep apart

Erica Scoville and her husband Mike never thought they’d be trend-setters. But the Richland, Washington, couple are part of an ever-growing number of happily married people who sleep in separate beds. Whether it’s due to snoring, blanket-, pillow-, or bed-hogging, the TODAY "Snooze or Lose" sleep survey found that slightly less than half of couples sleep separately in order to get enough rest to function the next day. Erica, 41, an accountant, and Mike, 46, a sales person, actually settled on separate rooms, which according to the realty industry, isn’t all that unusual today, either.

While sleeping separately may not be for everybody, Erica Scoville explains how she and her husband make it work.

Courtesy of Erica Scoville
"My wonderful husband and I needed to find a way to get a good night's rest," writes Erica, seen here with her husband, Mike Scoville

I was never one of those little girls or teenagers who drooled over wedding dresses and meeting a potential Prince Charming. But I always thought I would eventually tie the knot with a man I loved. That happened when I met my gorgeous hunk of husband, Mike. After dating a few years and even managing to negotiate a long-distance romance, Mike and I got married. We’ve been happily united for the past 18 years. When I was younger, I did think that meeting someone you love and marrying them, meant that you would share a bed. That’s great in theory, but Mike and I don’t share a bed. We even have separate rooms.

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Sharing a bed with a spouse can be great unless that person, like Mike, gives off enough body heat to warm most of the state of Washington. I prefer it a little bit cooler. Mike is perfectly healthy, but he is a back sleeper and winds up snoring like that proverbial freight train. Just when you think he’s stopped snoring, he starts again.

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For years, I tried to push him over into a side-sleeping position so he wouldn’t snore. Most of the time, I just woke him up and all we did was glare at each other. That’s not very restful for either of us. Mike is also a flip-flopper in bed, moving around a lot to find that “just right” position. I was happy when he got comfortable, even though I was wide awake.

Bed time was a potential war zone because neither of us were getting a good night’s sleep.

Both of us work and getting through the day was getting tough. I remember once being so sleepy that during my lunch hour, I took my truck and drove across the street so I could catch a few winks in a store parking lot. That’s ridiculous. Both of us were also irritable with each other. That’s not healthy. About ten years ago, I broached the subject of sleeping in separate rooms. I was never concerned that this was the beginning of the end of our marriage. Far from it. My wonderful husband and I needed to find a way to get a good night’s rest.

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Mike and I came to an agreement that he would have his room and I would have my room, and then on Fridays and Saturdays we would take turns sleeping in each other’s rooms. We didn’t make it an ultimatum; rather we figured we would just give it a try.

At first, it was kind of tough, but not for long.

Getting a great night’s sleep makes everything seem better. We love each other and laugh and sleep together in the same room and in the same bed on Friday and Saturday nights, taking one night in each room.

Courtesy of Erica Scoville
"I just think it's important for people to remember that sleeping together doesn't always save a marriage any more than sleeping apart ruins a marriage," writes Erica.

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My room is really light and feminine. Mike’s room is a man-cave, filled with Seattle Seahawks paraphernalia. Mike doesn’t like my bed, and I don’t like his bed. We both wake up sore, but we don’t have to work the next day, so who cares?

Come Sunday, we’re back to our separate rooms, and every day of the week we are well rested. We told our family and friends about our arrangement, and though a few may have thought it was kind of strange, people have been supportive. I think I have a few friends who wish they could try the same thing.

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This is our solution to getting a good night’s rest.

It’s not going to be a solution for every single couple who are trying to sleep better. I just think it’s important for people to remember that sleeping together doesn’t always save a marriage any more than sleeping apart ruins a marriage. It’s sleep, and sleep is really important to everyone.But even more important than that is loving each other enough to try something that makes life a bit easier for your partner. I think the only thing that might bum Mike out a little bit is the fact that our dog and cat much prefer to sleep with me. I think they like my bed better.

As told to TODAY contributor Joan Raymond. This story was originally published in November 2014.

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