This morning, I was struck by this Atlantic article, which asks why we share beds. Sleep, much like running a marathon or chewing food, is a solitary activity, writes Jon Methven. We physically lie next to each other, but we sleep alone. You could argue that beds are expensive, people are scared of the dark, or its easier to have sex in a big bed…
But, really, says Methven, sleeping together is a bonding experience.
Often a bedmate became your best friend. Not just married couples, but sons sleeping with servants, sisters with one another, and aristocratic wives with mistresses. Darkness, within the intimate confines of a bed, leveled social distinctions despite differences in gender and status, Ekirch [a historian and professor] says. Most individuals did not readily fall sleep but conversed freely. In the absence of light, bedmates coveted that hour when, frequently, formality and etiquette perished by the bedside.
…Our minds need rest, but our minds also need camaraderie and intimacy and whispering. Anxiety and stress seem less intimidating when discussed with a partner while wearing pajamas. Its important to talk about our days lying side by side, discuss children and household situations, gossip about neighbors and colleagues, plan for tomorrow in the confines of private chambers. We cuddle. We laugh. At the end of each day we remove the onerous cloaks weve donned to face the world, and we want to do this lying next to our best friends, to know were not in it alone.
What do you think? I completely agree.
This is part of a series called What Were Readingfeaturing interesting articles on different topics we find during the week. I know most of you are big readers. Hope you like it!
P.S. Do you ever freak yourself out at night, and would you have a family bed?
(Photo from The Atlantic)