When Bay Ridge residents Jennifer Palumbo and Mike Siscoe went house shopping in Northern Westchester over the summer, they were hunting for a place with four bedrooms: one for each of their sons, ages 5 and 12 — and one for each of them.
After they moved in October, the spouses set to decorating their individual bedrooms. Siscoe displayed his baseball memorabilia and Lego creations and installed a giant fish tank, while Palumbo preferred a 1920s Hollywood theme, with a vanity where she can do her hair and makeup.
“This works so well for us,” said Palumbo, 47, noting that they haven’t slept in the same bed since their oldest son was born. “Mike falls asleep with the TV on and I’m an insomniac who needs a white noise machine and blackout curtains.”
Thanks to an epidemic of snoring spouses, cover thieves and bed hogs, lovebirds are reclaiming their right to a good night’s sleep by doing it separately. For couples sharing smaller spaces, that may mean decamping to a living room — but they say that the blissful hours of undisturbed shut-eye are worth the inconvenience.
And it can even provide additional marital perks.
“We still have a loving relationship where it’s almost like college, in that we say, ‘Your place or mine?’” Palumbo said.
Tameka Allen calls her husband of 10 years a “keeper,” but lately, she’s taken to sleeping with her 6-year-old daughter, Riley, both because of Riley’s pandemic-related anxiety and the fact that her husband has sleep apnea and snores heavily, especially when he doesn’t use his CPAP machine.
Allen reads with her daughter at night and — at least four nights a week — ends up sleeping in a “corner of her bed” in the family’s Prospect Lefferts Gardens apartment.
“Inevitably, after I turn on her Alexa meditation app, I’m out,” said Allen, the 40-year-old owner of B.A.B.E. of Brooklyn, an apothecary and barber shop. “I may not have much space in my daughter’s bed, but I sleep better there, especially when my husband is stressed, since that’s when he snores even more.”
Sharing a bed hasn’t always been the norm for couples, psychologist Wendy Troxel told The Post.
“It used to be considered healthier to sleep apart because of a partner’s foul smells,” said Troxel, author of the book “Sharing the Covers: Every Couple’s Guide to Better Sleep” (Hachette Go; out Tuesday). “Things like morning breath were considered a primary source of disease.”
The swinging ’60s changed all that.
“That generation thought sleeping apart was prudish and considered it to be an emblem of a sexless or loveless union,” Troxel said.
And so partners wanting to experiment with separate beds — a la Lucy and Ricky — should handle the subject delicately, and consider a trial period before making any permanent decisions.
“Most couples end up sleeping on the couch out of desperation, but this move shouldn’t be seen as an abandonment,” Troxel said. “Instead, see it an important way to keep your relationship healthy.”
She suggests couples considering separate sleeping arrangements first try the Scandinavian route.
“They place two twin-size beds side by side,” she says. “It looks like a marital bed, but you have your own space and your own bedding.”
Shannon Chavez, a licensed clinical psychologist and sex therapist in Beverly Hills, and Raehan Qureshi, her partner of 13 years, have always shared a bedroom but slept in two separate queen beds.
Chavez said she made this choice for many reasons, including the fact that she moves around all night and prefers warmer temps. She also considers sleep to be a “pleasure activity” that takes place after “intimacy time.” That includes cuddling, sex and reading together in one of the beds before adjourning to their own spaces when it’s time to sleep.
“We try not to impose intimacy time when the other is winding down,” said Chavez, 40. “We look at sleep as an investment in our health.”
Alina Adams, a 51-year-old author and mother of three, hasn’t shared a bed with her husband, Scott, since her eldest, now-21-year-old son was born.
“The minute he got into bed he would wake me up because he snores,” she said of their early attempts at side-by-side snoozing. “During that time, I spent many nights thinking of how to smother him with a pillow, which probably isn’t great for a marriage.”
The latest step in their drawn-out sleep divorce: Night owl Scott has upgraded from sleeping on a pullout couch in the dining area of the couple’s Upper West Side two-bedroom to a small bed in the corner.
This setup, which started as a matter of baby-feeding convenience for the couple, has evolved into the best option for them — and hasn’t cut down on their intimacy.
“We’ve been sleeping apart since our oldest child was born, and we’ve had two more kids since then,” she said. “And I’m a romance writer, so I know what I’m talking about!”