Two in a Bed

The Social System of Couple Bed Sharing

By Paul C. Rosenblatt

Subjects: Family Studies
Paperback : 9780791468302, 227 pages, July 2006
Hardcover : 9780791468296, 227 pages, July 2006

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Table of contents


1. Introduction

2. Forming the Couple System: Learning to Share a Bed

3. The Bed

4. Going to Bed

5. Activities in the Transition from Awake to Sleep

6. Temperature Preferences

7. Talking and Touching

8. Anger and the Couple Bed

9. Illness and Injury

10. How Can You Sleep So Soundly When I’m So Wide Awake?

11. Outside Intrusions into Couple Sleep

12. Bathroom Trips, Tossing and Turning, Restless Legs, Sleep Talking, Grinding Teeth, and Nightmares

13. Snoring and Sleep Apnea

14. Safety, Intimacy, and Why Couples Sleep Together

15. Waking Up in the Morning

16. Weekends

17. Everyday Life and the Couple System


A fascinating look at the social experience of sharing a bed with another person.


Millions of adults sleep with another adult, but what does it mean to share a bed with someone else, and how does it affect a couple's relationship? What happens when one partner snores? Steals the sheets? Prefers to sleep in the nude? To address these and other questions, Paul C. Rosenblatt asked couples to describe the struggles, challenges, and achievements of their bed-sharing experiences. Two in a Bed includes interviews with more than forty bed-sharing couples as they candidly discuss winding down and waking up, cold feet and tucked sheets, who sleeps near the door and who gets pushed to the edge, snoring, spooning, sleep talking, sleep walking, and the myriad other behaviors we negotiate in falling asleep, staying asleep, and waking up each morning beside a partner. In addition to exploring the routines and realities of sharing a bed with another person, these interviews reveal important information about sleep, relationships, and American society. Stressing the intricacy and importance of a previously unremarked activity, Rosenblatt's Two in a Bed shows that sleep should no longer be viewed solely as an individual phenomenon.

Paul C. Rosenblatt is Morse-Alumni Distinguished Teaching Professor of Family Social Science at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. He is the author of many books, including (with Beverly R. Wallace) African American Grief; Help Your Marriage Survive the Death of a Child; Parent Grief: Narratives of Loss and Relationship; (with Terri A. Karis and Richard D. Powell) Multiracial Couples: Black & White Voices; and Metaphors of Family Systems Theory: Toward New Constructions.