Sleeping Single: One in Four Couples do it, do You?


by Jennifer Tomazic

MILWAUKEE -- If you don't sleep next to your partner, you're in the norm, the National Sleep Foundation says.

A study found that one in four couples sleep in separate beds.

Dr. Alexander Villareal with the Sleep Wellness Institute in West Allis says he sees a number of couples who do that and the reasons vary: from snoring to insomnia. Dr. Villareal even says that different sleep schedules even make couples sleep single.

One of the couples who worked with the Sleep Wellness Institute was the Gundersons. Snoring is what brought them to the clinic and kept them apart for four years.

"How could that keep somebody awake?" asked Amy Gunderson. "I don't think anything could keep me awake at night." And that's because she was the one doing the snoring.

"It was one of those things that if I didn't fall asleep first, I wasn't going to get any sleep," said Jeff Gunderson.

So Jeff would go from kids room to kids room looking for some respite. He says his son only fell on him once when he slept in his trundle bed and he would quietly try to climb up to the top bunk of his other son's bed. Oftentimes, the couch was the last resort for Jeff.

The snoring was getting so bad, the couple became was worried so Amy went to see a sleep specialist at the Sleep Wellness Institute. She was diagnosed with a severe case of sleep apnea and was prescribed a sleep mask to help him breathe because she would stop breathing 58 times an hour.

"The first night it was absolutely silent," said Jeff. And for the past four months, the Gundersons have been able to sleep in the same bed.

But there are couples that are sleeping single and Maureen Komisar at Biltrite Furniture says 20 to 30 percent of her sales are for either separate beds or separate bedrooms.

"Somebody will tell you it's the guest bedroom, but you walk into the room and you see slippers under the bed, medications on the night stand, and clothes in the closet and you know darn well that's the main room that somebody's sleeping in," said Komisar.

She says she doesn't necessarily think it's a new trend, but rather more people are just willing to admit that they are buying two, top-of-the-line beds for separate bedrooms because they don't sleep together.

"It used to be two twin beds, but sometimes now it's a full bed and a twin bed and the woman will often get the full sized bed," said Komisar.

Even though a quarter of American's couples sleep separately, according the the National Sleep Foundation, it just wasn't something that the Gundersons could rest their head on.

"I don't think it's the worst thing in the world as long as you can still do things together as a couple and have an intimate relationship," said Amy.


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