A while back we never thought about sleep, we just got on with it. Sleep wasn't part of the lifestyle package then. If you were going to be spending some money on the home front you were not starting in the bedroom –let alone with the bed –because that was the lowest priority on everyone's list.
Get yourself a lovely sofa first. Get yourself a coat, or a coffee machine. No-one gave a monkeys about their sleeping arrangements, and then, a few years ago, sleep became the part of our day that we had been neglecting at our peril.
Now we're obsessed. Are we getting enough? Is the tog factor right, and the pillow density? Should the room be cooler? And most importantly, how do you sleep at night with your significant other? That's the new focus of everyone's energies: bed compatibility.
This week Susannah Constantine announced on social media that, after 23 years of marriage, she and her husband were considering single beds, on account of his wriggling and her snoring. Honestly, the post would have got less attention if she'd announced they were polyamory converts, and Anton du Beke was moving into the superking. Sex does interest us, but not nearly as much as negotiating the perfect night's sleep.
Do other couples sleep wedged in a queen size (we secretly admire those) or practically in different post codes? Do they cosy up like babes in the wood or pull on the eye mask, pop in the earplugs and roll over?
Does one half of the couple have a firm mattress and the other (thanks to the miracle of zip and link) a softer one? Our sleeping habits have become the unofficial measure of how we're doing, and then what state our relationship is in.
Which is why Roger Federer's remark in an interview about wanting to share a bed with his wife, every night, regardless of interruptions from crying children, has also become the talking point of the week. Oh Roger, We Love You!
To sleep together for better or worse, even if you are rich enough to have an escape room on a separate floor, whether or not you are playing for the Grand Slam title in the morning, has become the new definition of uxoriousness.
There is nothing quite like the loyal bed partner, who is in for the long haul, sleepless or not. Anyone who is married knows that desertion from the marital bed in extremis (eg you are coughing like a goat, and hawking up stuff into a spitoon) however reasonable, is the opposite of what we hope for.
Here are some other sleeping arrangements that may not bode well for the marriage:
The wearing of horrible old T shirts
Usually emblazoned with slogans like Thirsty Burt, which remind us of serial killers...
A giant TV screen at the foot of the bed
Note, Nicole Kidman, when asked about the secret of her happy marriage went straight to their bedroom arrangements! We don't have a TV in the room she said 'we are that (itals) couple'. Bedroom arrangements now trump communication.
Moving into single beds in the same room
Now known as 'doing a Constantine', unsexy and pointless. How does that help with the snoring?
Listening to podcasts privately
One of you using the marital bed to discuss the hole in the family finances/general anxieties
One of you (invariably Him) bringing food or drink to bed
A cup of tea or a piece of toast, on a plate, is acceptable only.
Going to bed at completely different times
Defecting to another bed
Even if you're too hot/restless/feel like it...
Having a bed that is so big you haven't touched feet in weeks
Him wearing a watch with luminous hands
It wakes you up in the night (but interestingly cannot be read in, say, a dark cinema)