London, Sept 9 (ANI): The secret to a long, healthy and happy marriage might lie in having separate beds, claims a sleep expert.
A research has found that sharing a bed often led to poor quality sleep as people were regularly disturbed by their loved ones during the night.
Speaking at a special seminar on sleep at the British Science Festival, Dr Neil Stanley, a sleep expert at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, said: "A normal double bed is 4ft 6inches wide. That means you have up to nine inches less per person in a double bed than a child has in a single bed.
"Add to this another person who kicks, punches, snores and gets up to go to the loo and is it any wonder that we are not getting a good night's sleep?
"To save your marriage and your health you should have a discussion about your sleep."
However, despite the detrimental effects of snoring, teeth grinding and tossing and turning, people tolerated it because culturally sleeping together is considered a sign of intimacy, reports The Telegraph.
Stanley, who follows his own advice and sleeps in a different room to his wife, said that double beds are just not conducive to a good night's sleep.
He said the tradition of the marital bed began with the industrial revolution, when people moved into cities and found themselves short of living space. Before the Victorian era it was not uncommon for married couples to sleep apart.
"Intimacy is good for emotional health but good sleep is good for physical and mental health," he said.
Stanley, who set up the Sleep Lab at the University of Surrey, said: "Sleep is a selfish thing to do. No one can share your sleep. If you know that your partner is next to you, then you are awake. If you are sleeping together and it is all right then carry on. If not then you should do something about it, not just tolerate it. Getting a good night's sleep is as important as diet and exercise."
The expert also suggested various ways through which couples could improve their sleep, if sleeping in separate beds was too much of a leap.
They included buying a bigger bed, having separate duvets and having darker curtains. (ANI)