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'I Have More Energy': 1 In 4 Couples Sleep Apart For Better Rest

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Snoring, sleep talking or hogging the blankets can make sleeping with another person impossible. The National Sleep Foundation found some married couples choose to get a better night's rest by sleeping apart.

"Sometimes it's so loud you just laugh, you know that's all you can do," said Nancy Scott.

Scott tries to keep a sense of humor when it comes to her husband's snoring.

"I tried a new set of ear plugs last night. Well, they fell out," she said.

After too many restless nights, the Bloomington couple decided it was time to sleep in separate rooms.

Scott is far from alone. A survey from the National Sleep Foundation finds that almost one in four married couples sleep in separate beds or separate rooms.

"There is a diagnosis called environmental sleep disorder, it basically means there is something in your room that is disturbing your sleep," said Dr. Andrew Stiehm, a Sleep Specialist with Allina Health.

bed bedroom
(credit: CBS)

TV on, TV off, twitchy legs, and different bedtimes: all can be disruptions according to Stiehm. He encourages sleep deprived couples go their separate ways at night.

"If the noise of your partner is preventing you from sleeping, you can sleep in a different space," he said. "I have a couple that shared with me that when they go on vacation they can't even sleep on the same floor of the hotel, that's how loud his snoring is."

When she does sleep in a different room, Scott says she's a better wife.

"I have more energy," she said. "I am a better person all around to myself and my family and yeah I can tell the difference."

Despite the need for rest, sleeping separately is still not something many couples are comfortable talking about. It's one of the reasons Scott's husband didn't want to appear in this story.

So, how do you know when it's time to set the shame aside and give it a try?

"There's this great myth out there that sleeping separately is an indicator your marriage is about to fail," said Dr. Carol Bruess, a St. Thomas University marriage and family professor.

But she says that's not true. Bruess says it's not what couples do during the night, but what they do during the day.

"What couples need to be really careful about is making sure they are prioritizing physical intimacy even holding hands, snuggling and, of course, sexual intimacy, that can happen anytime, it's not happening when you're sleeping," she said.

What is happening in Scott's household is more sleep. And all along the snoring solution was right under their noses.

"We're lucky we have an extra room and there is a nice, comfy bed down there," Scott said.

Bruess says there are instances where couples become distant in their relationships and sleeping separately is a manifestation of that. She suggests couples be honest and if it's something more than different sleep habits, see a therapist.

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