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Is It Time for a Sleep Divorce?

Maybe Lucy and Ricky Ricardo (and the censors) had it right all along: Sleep in your own bed.

While most couples consider sharing a bed to be an expression of intimacy and togetherness, research show there may be grounds for sleeping separately — like the bedroom scenes in the 1950s TV show “I Love Lucy,” starring Lucille Ball and her real-life husband, Desi Arnaz.

Couples who sleep in the same bedroom are more likely to experience nocturnal disturbances from their partner (like snoring, bad hygiene, tossing and turning and different schedules). And all this can lead to health problems, sexual dysfunction and marital spats.

A 2016 study from Paracelsus Private Medical University in Nuremberg, Germany, showed that sleep issues and relationship problems tend to occur simultaneously. In fact, a 2013 study from the University of California, Berkeley found that one partner’s sleepless night caused by disturbances from the other partner can result in conflicts in the relationship the next day.

“While there are benefits to sleeping together, one partner’s troublesome sleeping or annoying bed habits can affect the other and increase production of the stress hormone cortisol, thus causing issues that impact the couple as a whole,” said Mary Jo Rapini, a relationship and intimacy psychotherapist based in Houston.

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