For Better Sleep, Better Sleep with a Friend

“I think I’m going to write about platonic co-sleeping,” I said to my husband before I sat down in front of the pc.

“Platonic co-sleeping? You mean marriage? Ba-dum-tsh!”

I rolled my eyes in a wifely way.

“No, I’m going to write about sharing a bed with Libby.”

“Oh, that Morecambe and Wise thing you two do. What’s that got to do with Executive Youth?”

Sharing a bed with my friend Libby is something that I’ve done from time to time ever since I met her at university nearly thirty years ago.

And every night we’ve spent together has been utterly blissful.

We’ve shared sea views and verdant vistas as well as uninterrupted views of industrial, business and retail parks.

We’ve spooned in single beds,  adopted standard sleeping positions in standard double beds and sprawled starfish-like in the luxury of the Super King.

We’ve endured tropical temperatures in budget motels and relished the fragrant air conditioning of expensive boutique hotels.

As for the extras, and I’m talking beyond the tea bags and wrapped biscuits here, we’ve been treated to everything from  pillow sprays and piped music to a room service menu which included an ‘Adult Fun Box’. (That’s Brighton for you.)

I love sharing a bed with her and when I do, I get to exist in my present and my past at the same time. It’s my Doctor Who moment.

Libby is one of my very best gal pals. A sister from another mister. And she’s really good at sharing a bed with me. Frankly, I never sleep as well without her.

We shared beds at uni the way one often does, in the interests of economy or pragmatism, post-party or post-break-up when there was too much to say to leave it ’til morning.

We shared her girlhood bed in the family home the night before she married her first husband, and we shared a bed when she set up home alone once that marriage had ended. As I recall, we drank a lot that particular night.

When we bed share, I look forward to the whispered conversations we’ll have in the dark. It’s like being in the fifth form at Mallory Towers.

I’ll tell her I still fancy Ian McShane even though he’s 74 and she’ll tell me she’s recently started fantasising about Harry Styles.

We rerun the back catalogue of actual boyfriends we’ve had and compare experiences. Would Ian and Harry be any better? Would Ian’s paunch get in the way? Did Caroline Flack teach Harry any useful tricks?

And suddenly, one of us is snoring lightly.

The benefits of sharing a bed are well documented. Psychologists tell us that shared sleep with a partner promotes feelings of safety and security, reducing our stress and anxiety levels.

Platonic co-sleeping, of the sort friends like Libby and I enjoy, brings the same benefits but, I’d argue, has more advantages than sleeping with your regular partner:

  1. Obvs, there is no sex issue. Which means no expectation, no disappointment, no resentment. No irritation, no guilt, no analysis of every sigh or snort. It’s just about sleep.
  2. There are no duvet wars. Libby and I are similar in size and shape. Neither of us needs excessive amounts of insulation and neither of us feels the need to assert our duvet dominance.
  3. Because we only share a bed once in a while, we don’t have to make a commitment to a long-term mattress or bed with all the compromise and negotiation (for which read ‘endless rowing’) that entails.
  4. There is no fidgeting. And no emission of noxious odours of the sort which can wake me from my slumber. 
  5. There is no danger. Libby  does not, like my husband, sleep so deeply that a fire alarm can be sounding without any effect whatsoever. 
  6. There is no excessively imaginative dreaming. She has never, in sleep, unwittingly bruised me, as a result of dreaming that she was a goat kicking at a fence post, and she has never shouted at me in her sleep, accusing me of stealing her trainers. Or of being the Pope.
  7. We can pretend we’re nineteen again. Because it always feels that way.

Sharing a bed with my friend is always free of drama and disturbance.  We sleep the sleep of companion dreamers, ageing silently together.


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1 comment

  1. I had to think hard whether or not I’ve ever shared a bed with a friend and then suddenly my memory alerted me to the first time I went to Thailand. My best friend put me up at the room he was renting. The bed was huge – me on one side, my friend in the middle and his wife on the other side. She slept like she was hibernating and I think I only saw her awake once during one month.

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