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Should couples sleep apart?

Ford has invented a mattress that ‘nudges’ you if you start crowding your partner – but beds are for more than just sleeping.

Passion killer … Ford’s ‘lane-sharing bed’
Passion killer … Ford’s ‘lane-sharing bed’

In the same week that a Kickstarter campaign was set up to fund the production of an interactive button encouraging partners to signal they are in the mood for sex, as opposed to just, you know, telling them, the carmaker Ford has suggested an even less romantic product – stay-in-your-lane mattress technology for couples. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Ford’s mattress design would include a mechanism to “nudge” partners to their own side of the bed if they began to dominate the space. According to studies (no doubt funded by bed manufacturers), one in four people report better sleep when they sleep alone, which does make some sense, given there is no risk of duvet larceny by your other half, or disruptive snoring. But the idea of couples actually sleeping in separate beds is rather saddening. It seems just a step away from the set-up of former couple Helena Bonham Carter and Tim Burton, who lived in adjoining houses.

Perhaps it’s the practice of sleeping in separate rooms that Ford is trying to avoid, although it remains perplexing why a car manufacturer actually cares (the mattress is at the prototype stage). Maybe less tired people buy more cars? There is also, surely, a glaring issue with this mattress: there are other things couples do in bed, which involve being quite close together, and during which being “nudged” probably isn’t ideal.


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“Humans are most vulnerable when sleeping,” says Neil Stanley, the author of How to Sleep Well, “so we’re programmed to wake when something or someone touches us unexpectedly.” The thing is, though, your significant other sleeping in your bed touching you isn’t unexpected, is it? It’s sort of the point of sleeping together, in both senses of the term.

Don’t get me wrong: none of us enjoy being locked in a vice-like grip by the one-night stand we cannot wait to kick out at first light, but spooning with someone you actually like, nay, love; holding hands; “snuggling” (so sorry) – all of these things are quite nice. So, I won’t be investing in Ford’s mattress – although I am sure it will come in any colour, so long as it’s black.


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