Exploring the Benefits of Separate Beds: A Conversation with Relationship Therapists Rebeca Perea and Mattew Albiges

In a recent interview on "Weeknights radio show from BBC5 with Gordon Smart," relationship coaching and therapists Rebeca Perea and Matthew Albiges have shared intriguing insights about their unconventional choice to sleep in separate beds. Happily married and parents to three children, Rebeca and Matt have found that this arrangement significantly benefits their relationship. This interview sheds light on how such a setup can enhance intimacy and reduce conflict, providing valuable lessons for other couples.

Challenges in Maintaining a Healthy Relationship

Rebeca and Matt emphasised that maintaining a healthy relationship can be particularly challenging when balancing work, children, and household responsibilities. They noted that the strain on sleep due to various factors—such as children disrupting the night or different work schedules—can quickly lead to irritability and conflict.

"Shift patterns in any relationship can be challenging," Matt remarked. "When you throw kids into the mix, the best plans can fall apart very quickly."

The Decision to Sleep Separately

The decision for Rebeca and Matt to sleep in separate beds evolved over time. Initially, it was a topic of discussion, but eventually, they decided to give it a try.

"We thought about this for a while," Rebeca explained. "It just made a lot of sense to us because a lot of the time you just sleep together because it’s convenient—that’s what everyone does."

Matt added, "Having your own space and not having a partner there making noises or moving around really helps. It means we can choose to be together when we want to be, rather than being forced to."

Potential Conflicts with Attachment Styles

While separate sleeping arrangements have worked well for Rebeca and Matt, it's important to recognize that this approach may not suit every couple, particularly those with different attachment styles. For individuals with an anxious attachment style, the idea of sleeping separately could trigger feelings of insecurity, jealousy, and lack of trust. These individuals often seek closeness and reassurance from their partners, and physical separation at night might exacerbate their anxiety.

On the other hand, partners with an avoidant attachment style may find separate sleeping arrangements highly appealing. These individuals typically value personal space and independence, and sleeping separately can help them feel more comfortable and less pressured in the relationship.

"Sleeping in separate beds can create a source of conflict if one partner feels anxious and needs more physical closeness for reassurance," Rebeca noted. "It’s crucial to address these feelings and communicate openly to ensure both partners' needs are met."

Benefits of Separate Sleeping Arrangements

The benefits of this arrangement were “amazing!”. Rebeca and Matt found that it allowed them to maintain their personal spaces, which in turn rekindled the spark in their relationship.

"Separating and having some personal space can be an amazing thing," Rebeca said. "Imagine one partner having their own room with their own decoration and expressing themselves in that space, and the other partner doing the same. When those two partners come together, it’s very powerful."

Addressing Sleep Resentment

One common issue among couples is sleep resentment, where partners compete over who is more tired and deserving of sleep. This often ties into differing roles and responsibilities within the household.

"One partner might say, ‘I’m working, so my sleep is more important,’ while the other says, ‘Childcare is equally important work,’" Rebeca explained. "This can lead to resentment and competition."

Matt added, "It’s crucial to address these feelings and work on managing our emotional state. If we’re in a good place emotionally, we can handle disruptions better and support each other as a team."

Prioritising Intimacy

Despite sleeping in separate beds, Rebeca and Matt prioritise intimacy and quality time together. They believe that it’s essential for maintaining a strong relationship.

"If you don’t prioritise time for each other, are you really prioritising your relationship?" Matt asked. "It’s about making time for each other because we want to, not because we have to."

Rebeca concurred, "It doesn’t feel like we have to make time for each other. It feels like we can’t wait to make time for each other!"


Rebeca and Matt’s experience challenges the traditional notion that couples must share a bed to maintain intimacy. By choosing to sleep separately, they’ve found a way to enhance their relationship and ensure that both partners’ needs are met. Their story provides a refreshing perspective on how unconventional choices can lead to happier, healthier relationships. As they put it, "We’re delighted and happy, and we can’t wait to make time for each other."

Rebeca Perea and Matt Albiges’ insights encourage couples to explore what works best for them, reminding us that every relationship is unique and that sometimes, thinking outside the box can lead to greater harmony and connection.