On a recent overnight trip, my husband and I ended up staying in a hotel room with two double beds. As we’ve done for the past ten years or so, we quickly opted to sleep in separate beds. Within minutes of crawling into my bed, I realized that I was sprawled across the entire mattress. I was laying on my side, but my arms and legs were askew so that I was taking up as much bed surface as was physically possible. I really think I unconsciously did that just because I could. And it was delightful. Don’t get me wrong – I adore my husband, and I really adore sharing a bed with him. But I also adore having my own space once in a while.
Until this summer, we have always shared a queen-sized bed. At 60 inches in width, it allowed us an individual 30 inches of sleep space.
That’s less than three feet for each of us. Imagine yourself in a box that was only 30 inches wide. Yikes. That’s barely more than a baby crib mattress. Of course, we cuddled a lot, and that was delightful. I can’t think of many things that are nicer than waking up in the middle of the night wrapped in your husband’s arms.
But we also bumped into each other. A lot. In a queen-sized bed, two tall people cannot sleep facing each other for long. If you both curl up your legs at the same time, you’re bumping knees. I’d roll over in the middle of the night and run smack into his legs, which were clearly on my side of the bed.
That’s the other thing you start doing once the honeymoon’s over. You start claiming territory. “You’re on my half!” “Are you kidding? I’m barely clinging to the edge of the bed over here!” “You’re lying at a diagonal!” “That’s my pillow!” And so on.
I’m reminded of one night a number of years ago, when Hubby rolled over in the middle of the night (we were both sound asleep), and his arm swung over and hit me right smack between the eyes. Not a pleasant way to be woken up, believe me. I let out a yell and started cussing a blue streak, more from the shock than pain. Of course, that woke him up, and he was yelling “What happened? What’s wrong?” By now I was laughing, crying and cursing all at once in the dark as I tried to explain to him that he’d just hit me (completely by accident, of course). Fortunately, I didn’t end up with a black eye to have to explain, and we just laughed about it.
All that closeness creates other issues besides knocking knees and rolling into one another. For example, there are all those noises that a human body can generate during the night. I know the standard joke is to refer to men being the ones that snore and make, um, other sounds, but I have to be honest – I can create my own little bodily symphony at night, and I “purr” more than my husband does. FYI – women don’t snore, we purr.
And, as we get older, we all, men and women alike, start getting up from bed more often during the night to visit the bathroom. It’s nothing for Hubby to be up 4 or 5 times in a night (he’s fine, and sees a doctor regularly, so don’t worry). But every time I heard or felt him getting out of bed, I was awake, and then I needed to visit the bathroom, too. Or sometimes it was me, in the midst of a hormonal night sweat, tossing and turning, flinging off the covers. And then I’d wake up Hubby. It’s a vicious cycle.
In fact, it was that regular disruption of sleep that started the final push towards a king-sized bed this year. There were some valid reasons for all the hesitation. King-sized beds aren’t pretty – they’re big hulking squares that can monopolize a bedroom. Plus, we’re a “cuddly” couple, and we weren’t sure we wanted a bed with all that real estate between us (yeah, I know : “Aw-w-w-w-w!”).
But we had both grown to dislike the über pillowtop queen-sized mattress set we had. It was too high, too hot, too small, and too fluffy; so we knew we had to make up our minds so that we could have a more comfortable night’s sleep. We finally pulled the trigger in June, and our giant square mattress arrived three days later. And it’s heavenly.
This monster is 76” wide and 80” long. That’s sixteen more inches of sleep space – eight inches for each of us. Friends told us that once we got a king-sized mattress we’d wonder why we ever waited so long, and they were right. I can lie on my side and fling my legs and arms across the mattress, and I’ll never touch Hubby. We can each get up out of bed during the night without waking the other (usually). He can sprawl diagonally across the bed and I’ll still have room to crawl in and go to sleep. Our snoring/purring is eight inches further away from each other. But we’re really not too far apart – we can reach each other pretty easily. And the extra firm, low profile mattress set is so much more comfortable than that older, trendy pillow-top was.
Yes, it has meant buying new sheets, blankets and bedspread (we were already using king pillows), and eventually we’ll need a new bed frame (it’s just sitting on a metal frame right now). So it hasn’t been cheap. But it was well worth the investment. We are both sleeping better and longer. And we’ve discovered that having a little more real estate can make everything a little more enjoyable…