In Praise of Separate Beds

The other night I slept on a twin bed in the guest room of the house I share with my husband and our two kids. We have a comfortable, firm king-size bed in our master bedroom, but my husband was sick and gross, so rather than hop in the sack with him, I decided to quietly slip down the hallway and sleep alone.

It was the best night's sleep I've had in years.

For once, I was able to sleep in my preferred position - on my stomach in a big X, socked foot hanging off the bed to the right, sockless foot hanging off the bed to the left. There was no tug of war over the covers, no pokes in the back to alert me to my snoring, no waking up to a wiggly kid (or two) in bed with us. In fact, no waking up at all. It was, pardon the pun, a dream.

Having slept so great solo made me wonder, why don't we all sleep alone?

I tossed this question to the hive mind at Slate and was surprised to find many had similar feelings.

"Yes! I think about this all the time." "Bring back separate beds!" "I recall liking (sharing a bed) at one point... but now... after like nine years, all I think is, 'Stop breathing on me!' " "Humans are surprisingly hot. Sharing a bed with a person is like sleeping with a radiator. When I have a girlfriend, there's a 'cuddling time' after which we move as far away from each other as possible to actually sleep. But I'm romantic that way." Exactly. Sharing a bed is good for sleeping together, but not actually sleeping together. We all know the importance of sleep, so why then do we still choose to share our beds with the kickers, the snorers and the human furnaces that we love?

"Man since time immemorial has made preparation for sleep, either laying an animal pelt on the ground or using plant matter as some sort of mattress," said sleep expert Neil Stanley. "Originally we all slept together on the ground, mainly because we had nowhere else, but also for warmth and security." Warmth and security? We have flannel pajamas and deadbolts now.

There have been times throughout the history of slumber couples did not share a bed. Ancient Romans retreated to their separate quarters in the evening. On The Dick Van Dyke Show, Laura and Rob Petrie turned in to their separate beds, and I bet they slept great.

The only thing I'd change about this setup would be to shove the beds closer together and have two nightstands on either end. Having your own bed is a luxury. Having your own bed and nightstand? Yes, please.

Our first married bed was a queen. It sagged terribly in the middle and made us roll together. We'd wake up spooning - forced that way by the bed - and sweaty. Our second bed, also a queen, developed a rather large hump in the middle from all the edge hugging we did during the night. Ten years into our marriage, we finally have a king. There is more than enough room for our whole family to sleep comfortably, yet that twin the other night - it was amazing.

So what's holding me back from selling our king mattress and ordering two twins? Society! Mention separate beds today and most people assume marital troubles.

"In our culture, sharing a bed is a sign of intimacy, and it could also be a barometer of the health of the relationship," sleep expert Anne Bartolucci told me when I called her for backup. "Falling asleep in the company of another person puts you in a very vulnerable position, and it shows a certain amount of trust. There's a reason that 'sleeping with' someone is one of our expressions for sex. Also, it's a bonding experience, and it's been shown that couples who share a bed communicate better and experience other benefits like increased levels of oxytocin, which can reduce inflammation." I don't suffer from inflammation. I do suffer from bad sleep. And chronic bad sleep, Bartolucci says, has been shown to increase the likelihood of stroke and heart attacks. It makes people more susceptible to develop not only health problems like diabetes and high blood pressure but also conditions like obesity that increase the risk of major health issues. It also contributes to or exacerbates psychiatric problems like anxiety, depression and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Why must we risk these things just to prove to ourselves we are happy couples? Separate beds means better sleep, which in turn can produce healthier spouses and a happier marriage. I rest my case.

Though when I gingerly mentioned this theory to my husband and he agreed with me, I did feel a tiny bit hurt.

- Slate

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An Introduction to twin bedHackensack RiverWalk a is partially constructed greenway along the Newark Bay and Hackensack River on the west side of the Bergen Neck peninsula in Hudson County, New Jersey. The eight-mile walkway, following (where possible) the contour of the water's edge, will run between the southern tip at Bergen Point, where it may connect to the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway, and Eastern Brackish Marsh in the north. Existing parks and promenades have been incorporated and some new sections have been built, but there remain large gaps. There is a RiverWalk in the city of Hackensack, sometimes called the Hackensack RiverWalk, but they are not part of the same project nor are they connected. A parallel walkway on the west banks of the river is known as the Meadow Path.Route of twin bedSouth 403906N 740819W / 40.6518N 74.1385W / 40.6518; -74.1385 -404724N 740249W / 40.79N 74.047W / 40.79; -74.047 NorthThe walkway will connect the following municipalities and pass through established residential neighborhoods, industrial areas, commercial districts, and nature preserves, some of which are part of the Hackensack Meadowlands. It will pass under sixteen bridges (some no longer used) and cross over eight natural creeks.BayonneThe Bergen Point section of the city the Newark Bay waterfront is characterized by maritime, industrial, and retail uses. The center and northern part of the waterfront contains major parks which are not connected to each other, with residential streets from Kennedy Boulevard ending at the bay. Rutkowksi Park, a wetlands preservation area in the city's northwestern corner (south of the city line) is the city's newest public green space.Jersey CityRoute 440 south bound right-of-way runs along the bay. Farther inland, the filled-in bed of the former Morris Canal in Country Village may also be considered.The promenade at Droyer's Point jutting into the bay is completed.Bayfront is a planned community which will provide access to the shoreline.Hackensack Riverfront area of the Jersey City Public Works and the Hudson Mall have space for a trail behind their facilities.Lincoln Park West contains wetlands preservation area that is part of the largest Hudson County ParkMarion Greenway Park has received funding.The northern part the Marion Section contains extensive rail lines and the Hudson Generating Station occupies much water frontage.The Riverbend to Penhorn Creek is a small area containing New Jersey Meadowlands preservation area at the creek.Secaucus The Secaucus Greenway is a planned to connect the southern and northern portions of town. Completion of this trail will allow public access along the river while providing a continuous pedestrian trail linking Secaucus retail, office, commercial and residential districts. This trail will connect the Laurel Hill Park and the boat launch at Laurel Hill, Secaucus Junction, Snipes Park, Secaucus High School, the Mill Ridge Ball Fields, Mill Creek Point Park, and Mill Creek Marsh. The portions of the Greenway that are completed include trails in the Hudson County#Parks Laurel Hill and a 1.5-mile pedestrian trail through the restored wetland at Mill Creek Marsh, and a .5 mile trail beginning at Mill Creek Point Park traveling south. The section between Penhorn Creek and the New Jersey Turnpike (south of the former Boonton Line is part of Riverbend Wetlands Preserve. The Anderson Creek Marsh at New Jersey Transit's Bergen County Line and Pascack Valley Line run along the waterfront for a half mile south of Harmon Cove, a private "gated community", where a path was created when the development was originally built, though the land at its small inlets is privately owned.North Bergen A planned trail from Harmon Meadow Plaza through Eastern Brackish Marsh parallel to West Side Avenue will end at 71st Street Park.Points of interest of twin bedBayonne BridgeBergen PointNewark BayShooters Island, an off shore bird sanctuary in the Kill van Kull which the New York/New Jersey state line runs throughArthur Kill Vertical Lift Bridge, to the southwest crossing the Arthur KillCentral Railroad of New Jersey caissonsPort Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal and Newark International Airport, across the bayBayonne City ParkVeterans Memorial ParkBayonne High SchoolHudson County Park, named for Stephen R. GreggRutkowski Park, a wetlands preservation areaNewark Bay Bridge, part of New Jersey Turnpike Extension I-78Lehigh Valley Railroad BridgeRoute 440Morris Canal section further inlandNew Jersey City University Athletic ComplexDroyer's PointKearny Point, across the river's mouthBayfrontNew York and Newark Railroad Bridge caissonsJersey City Public Works facilityHudson Mall & Fourhundred Forty Shopping CenterU.S. Route 1/9 Truck, originally part of the transcontinental Lincoln HighwayLincoln Park WestHudson County Police HeadquartersPulaski Skyway, considered to be America's first super highwayMarion GreenwayPATH Lift Bridge)Harsimus Branch Lift, used for rail freightWittpenn Bridge, for NJ Route 7Lower Hack Lift, bridge used by NJ Transit Hoboken and Newark Division trainsHudson Generating Station, formerly Public Service Railroad PowerhouseCroxton YardsPenhorn CreekRiverbend Wetlands PreserveSecaucus Transfer Station, main commuter hub, further inlandPortal Bridge, part of the Northeast Corridor used by Amtrak and NJ TransitNew Jersey Turnpike Eastern Spur BridgeSnake Hill, also known as Fraternity Rock, former site of insane asylum where the mineral Petersite was first discovered in 1981Field Station: DinosaursDB Draw, de-commissioned bridge on NJ Transit Boonton Line abandoned in 2002Saw Mill Creek Wildlife Preservation Area/Kearny Marsh across the riverLaurel Hill ParkDeKorte Park, across the river in Lyndhurst, home to the Meadowlands Environment CenterUpper Hack Lift, for NJ Transit's Main Line and Metro-North's Port Jervis LineAnderson MarshHX Draw for NJ Transit's Bergen County Line and Pascack Valley LineHarmon CoveMeadowlands HospitalRoute 3 twin-span bridgeNorth End Trolley ParkMeadowlands Sports Complex, across the waterSnipes ParkMill Creek MarshHarmon Meadow PlazaPaunpeck CreekEastern Brackish Marsh
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