My Side of the Bed

Night Light by Objects of Affection

By Gabrielle. Nightlight available on Etsy.

Ben Blair is in France this week, and I have the hardest time falling asleep without him. I basically just end up staying awake until my body forcibly shuts my brain down. But I started sleeping on his side of the bed a couple of nights ago and it seems to be helping. His pillow carries his scent, and I think it’s comforting me.

It got me thinking about my side of the bed, and wondering when my side became my side. I definitely have memories of sleeping on Ben’s current side of bed in some of the houses we lived in. In fact, I think the layout of our house, and our bed’s relation to the nursery, is what ended up determining where we slept. If I remember right, it started with Baby Ralph, 16 years ago. Ben chose the side closest to the baby, then when tiny Ralph woke in the night, Ben would get up and bring the baby to me for nursing, letting me stay in the cozy bed — his sweet way of making the night nursings easier for me. (I know we just discussed how much I love my sleep.)

But somewhere along the line — I’m guessing it was in New York, which is the place we lived the longest as a married couple — we settled into particular sides of the bed. I’m on the left. He’s on the right (the right if you’re laying in bed). At home. At hotels. At friend’s houses. It’s practically become an instinct.

I know it’s a silly question, but how about you? Do you and your partner have particular sides of the bed? Or do you switch around? And for those of you sleeping solo at the moment, do you straddle the middle or do you keep to one side?

P.S. — Do you make your bed?

78 thoughts on “My Side of the Bed”

  1. With us it depends on the setting of the bed within the room. If you can´t reach the bed from both sides (because one side is against a wall) – then I always have the “open” side. If the bed is reachable from both sides, I sleep at the right side and she gets the left.

    And yes, we always make the bed. Whoever gets up last makes it.

    The other day there was an interesting discussion on danish radio about how often people change their sheets. There was anything from every third day to monthly. We change ours every other Saturday, and the pillowcases every Saturday.We used to change everything once a week, but since we moved to a small studio and don´t have an automatic dryer, we switched to the biweekly change. As soon as we have more space and a dryer I will to the weekly change. I love fresh sheets!

    1. I love fresh sheets too! Getting into a freshly made bed is one of my favorite small pleasures in life. So you would think I would change the sheets frequently! But there’s so much laundry at our house, that my sheets sometimes get pushed to the side for too long.

  2. No matter where we’re sleeping I always get the side furthest from the door. But if my husband is out of town I sleep on his side.

  3. I am the same way– I am a deep sleeper like you, and when my boyfriend gets up to shower, I ALWAYS scooch over and sleep on his pillows until I need to get up. It’s so comforting. And every so often, on a whim, we’ll trade sides of the bed– and we always sleep SO soundly! So then the next night, we do the same thing (sleep on opposite sides), and neither of us sleep well. Isn’t that odd? It must be the haphazardness of it that is comforting– kind of like those refreshing naps where you just randomly sprawl out, but you can’t replicate it whenever you want. Even though I love it, sleep is such a fickle thing!

  4. From the very beginning, I’ve always been on the right side (if you’re facing the bed). It’s never changed even though we’ve moved nine times in eight years! I have no idea why this happened! And if my husband is gone, I still sleep on the right side of the bed. Maybe I’ll try his side next time he’s out of town.

  5. I love this. We have very defined sides. I’m on the right, closer to the door, he’s on the left, closer to the window. It started that way because my job requires that I’m up-and-at-em earlier than he is, so it allows me to slip from the room easier.
    What’s amazing to me is how fast those sides became our second nature. To the point that we must sleep that way no matter where we’re sleeping. And when he’s away (his job requires that he is out of town more than mine does), I find I can’t sleep in our bed unless I put some pillows in the space usually occupied by him. :)

  6. My husband and I have specific sides too. I’m on the left, he’s on the right. But currently, the baby and I are co-sleeping in the bed and my husband has been kicked out – he sleeps on the couch or in the guest room, depending on where he crashes when he gets tired.
    I definitely make my bed every day. Otherwise I start to feel stressed out, like things are falling apart around me. But I just use a comforter with cover, so it’s easy to shake it out (finding baby socks, etc).

    1. Same here – he always gets the side closest to the door for the same reasoning, so it depends where we’re at. I think it’s sweet that he’s a gentleman. ;)

  7. I always sleep on the right side and my husband on the left when we are home. When we are staying at a hotel or with friends/family, etc. we always switch sides.

  8. I’m always on the side closest to the window. Maybe some subconscious need to be close to an escape route? When my husband is out of town I like to sleep diagonally in bed. Somehow that makes the bed feel more full!

  9. Not a silly question at all! I think the little intricacies of daily life are so interesting! :)

    My husband and I switch around based on the location of the entry to the room. He’s always on the side closest to the door. Though in reality it probably wouldn’t matter either way, the idea is that he would be the first one an intruder would encounter. I don’t know who even came up with this idea, but we’ve kept it up over the years. It sounds sort of paranoid when I type it out, but I think of it more as our own personal feng shui theory (In feng shui, bed location in relation to the door is important, I assume for similar protective instinct reasons).

    I suppose it’s also similar to the idea of the man walking on the side of the sidewalk closest to the street. I’ve heard of older men doing this before, but my husband started when we moved to NYC. Has anyone else heard of that?

    1. Rachel, I often heard about men walking on the sidewalk closest to the street. It’s based on times when there was a lot of garbage, etc. flowing down the streets and the woman had long dresses. It also ‘protected’ women from being bumped/mugged, etc.
      It’s a protective manner that I use with my kids all the time – I’ll always walk closer to traffic.

  10. We have definite sides, I’m on the left (facing the bed). And, I almost never make the bed. There, I said it. I do love fresh, clean sheets, and getting into a made bed, but since kids, it’s kind of slipped in the priority list. But, recently I’ve been trying to teach them to make their beds…which is pretty hard if I’m not making mine…so we’re working on it.

    I love this blog and love hearing about how others deal with daily life – from the mundane to the exotic! Thank you, Gabrielle, for all you do!

  11. I sleep on the right. He’s on the left. I think we ended up this way, because my side is closer to the bathroom.

    Now that I think about it, we were the opposite when we first got married.

    No, we don’t make the bed. You’re just going to sleep in it again, am I right?

  12. I make my bed. Every • SINGLE • day.

    In 2009 I read the Happiness Project post, and resolved to start making the bed every day. Since then, I have missed one day, when I was particularly stressed out. My husband saw the unmade bed in the afternoon, and took it as a cry for help. Making the bed really does make things feel more orderly. I’ve turned many friends into daily bed makers, and all of my children. Also, there’s an understanding that if any kid crawls into our bed before sunrise, they make our bed in the morning!

  13. Hi Design Mom! I read your blog on Feedly, but since I updated my phone, the background is black, and the text is a 1/2 shade lighter. I can’t read it! I an see the pictures and everything, but I miss reading your posts! Any idea what might be done to fix it? Yours is the only blog with this issue. I love your blog! Thanks!

  14. We always stick to the same sides! We recently moved and he still sleeps on the same side as the other house. My husband has been gone the past two nights for work, and each morning, I’ve never strayed to “his” side – I’ve only had to make my side of the bed in the morning. Funny how our bodies keep habits even while asleep.

    We both report that we have difficulty sleeping when the other isn’t there – I wake up often, wondering what each little noise might be.

    And yes, I make the bed every morning :)

  15. je crois que je suis toujours du côté de la lumière, de la porte. alors je change de côté suivant les lieux, la disposition du lit….
    j’aurais adoré vous rencontrer par hasard, quand vous étiez en France. je passe mes vacances à livarot, pas loin de vimoutiers, et j’aurais pu croiser votre tribu par hasard !!!
    tant pis !
    merci pour ce blog si génial !

  16. yes, we have a side. tmi, but my husband is kind of greasy (are all men like this?) and his pillow and sheets get greasy so i don’t like sleeping on his side.

    and i am completely ocd about making the bed so that if my husband sleeps in and gets up later and makes the bed, i will redo it later.

  17. We definitely have sides .. I really disliked to be breathed on (so we have to face away from one another) – I am very smell sensitive and I just can’t handle it, wakes me up and then being a light sleeper I have a hard time going back to sleep.

    While I rarely make my bed in the morning, I always straighten (90% make) the bed before getting into it each night. I, too, love fresh sheets – we’ve just started hanging our sheets to dry on the line and both love the smell (and the childhood memories of playing in hanging sheets!)

  18. We do have specific sides, and it relates to my husband wanting to be closest to the door. So depending on where we are, it might change.

    And, I make the bed every morning, once he gets up, but before he gets back from running, so that he’s not tempted to climb back in!

    Sheets – every week. And, when I used to let my kids sleep with me when he was away, they loved being to to small Daddy on his pillow.

    1. A friend once said she always made the bed when she got up every morning –
      so she wouldn’t be tempted to get back in bed. That made sense to me since
      I’m an early morning person. And that’s what I have done ever since.

  19. I think our sides were solidified once we moved into our house with a toddler who wondered into our room at night looking for mommy – so I slept closest to the door.

    That toddler is now a kindergartner and still occasionally wonders in in the middle of the night, but now he goes directly to “daddy’s side” while our preschooler comes to “mommy’s side.” :)

  20. My husband drives me crazy over this topic. He absolutely insists on sleeping closest to the door wherever we may be, because that’s just what he’s always done so he sticks with it. The only reason it makes me bonkers is because I’m generally the one to get up in the night when we have a baby. With baby #2, he left on a business trip 5 days after the birth, and I hijacked his side of the bed, because for pete’s sake I wasn’t going to walk all the way around the bed to the other side where the bassinet was (because that’s the only place it fit, and he sleeps like a rock so he would never wake unless I knocked him to the floor). He didn’t complain.

  21. I almost always make the bed. It’s like doing the dishes before I go to sleep. It helps my day run better when I have a large spot of order in the middle of my room. Plus I usually end up folding laundry, changing a baby, etc. on it during the day. Much easier on a made bed.

    My husband and I do have sides, but it changes every few months. I don’t think it’s something we decide consciously. It usually depends on which one of us has to wake up earlier (usually him) and how the bed is set up. I always prefer the side with the nightstand, since I tend to collect things as I am settling down…a drink of water, a couple of things to read, my glasses, chapstick, nails clippers, etc. and he is a total minimalist. I like to be by the lamp so I can read, he usually uses his phone.

    That being said, if our bed is against the wall, I always get the side with the edge, since it’s closer to the bathroom, and I always get up at least once to pee.

    I also don’t sleep well when he is gone. Even if he is home, I have a hard time going to bed and falling asleep if he is still up. Sometimes if he has to do an all nighted for work he will come and lay down with me until I fall asleep since he knows I won’t go to bed unless he does. There was one year when he had to travel for work, and he would be gone for a week at a time, usually a few times a month. I was really sad the day I realized I could fall asleep fine without him, since I had gotten so used to it. He no longer has that job and I haven’t gotten back to needing him around to fall asleep.

    Sorry for the long and rambling comment, it’s just such an interesting topic!

  22. I was just chatting about this with a colleague today! I sleep on the left and the man sleeps on the right, always been like that. We both have only had single beds before being together so we never really had the opportunity to prefer one side to the other. Our reason is instead due to me generally always sleeping on my left side and I like to face away from the other person.

    When we stay at my gran’s it’s a problem though because that is a double bed and I’ve always slept on the right side there. It feels all weird when we sleep there together but I’ve been sleeping in that bed on the right for years! It wasn’t until the fifth or so time being there that I decided to try the other side. It was okkkaaay, but still prefer the right side. Funny how these things stick!

  23. We have set sides that we have had since we got married but they largely revolve around accessibility to reading materials, hand lotions, and water bottles (we like our supplies.)

    Why would I make my bed? I am just getting into it again at night. I swore I wouldn’t make my bed when I left home and wasn’t forced to do so, and I don’t. But I DO love clean sheets – at least once a week. Preferably with freshly-shaved legs and great lotion. Heaven.

  24. Such a seemingly simple post- I was surprised to feel strong emotions about it.

    I remember having such a hard time falling asleep after my ex-husband moved out. At some point I stopped laying down in my usual spot and relocated over to his side of the bed. It helped me because (and this doesn’t make complete sense) it eliminated the empty spot in the bed.

    Now-a-days, my husband always sleeps closest to the door. It’s his way (and again, this isn’t exactly logical) of protecting me.

  25. “Ben chose the side closest to the baby, then when tiny Ralph woke in the night, Ben would get up and bring the baby to me for nursing, letting me stay in the cozy bed…” I *thought* you were going to say that you slept nearer the nursery for easy access. That the opposite was true struck me as very sweet!

  26. I always make the bed…my mom was a bed maker and somehow that rubbed off on me. My husband and I definitely have sides of the bed…but it changes. He always sleeps closest to the door. So it changes depending on whether we’re at home, hotels, etc… He leaves early in the morning so at that point, the dog that sleeps on my side all night takes over his side.

  27. I choose each time we move and he gets whichever side I don’t pick. I have no specific criteria, just depends on the feel of the room. We had to switch sides though when we had our baby so I could be near him.

  28. When we got married my Husband declared, “We will not have sides of the bed.” Every once in a while I try to sneak and sleep on one side multiple nights in a row to see if he notices -he always does and will make me switch sides. My husband grew up never making the bed, but for me he became a bed-maker (admittedly a poor one). But just to add his silly spin on it, he makes the bed in bizarre ways or makes pillow sculptures or pillow forts for our cat. You can see an example here:

  29. I always sleep on my husbands side when he’s gone. Change of scenery :) I also always remember to take a photo to send him showing him me, on his side. to which he usually pretends to be surprised that I’m there.

  30. My husband is deaf in one ear, so he sleeps on the side of the bed that allows him to roll over and tune out any nighttime noise. I get the other side. We tried switching once so he could tune out and face me, but we were already set in our ways. He’s on the left, I’m on the right, the end.
    Except…when he’s away, I can’t sleep either. I discovered a few work trips’ ago the notion of sleeping on his side, and it really helped. I was surprised and tickled that it did.

    Definitely, I have to make the bed. Even if I forget in the morning or kids play in it after I’m done, I will remake it just before getting in (so crazy!) because somehow those straightened sheets just feel more comforting.

  31. This is something I have never given a thought to. Now that you have raised my awareness, I am on the left and my hubby on the right. Always. In hotel rooms, visiting parents and siblings, every vacation. Weird! This must be determined by my engineer husband because I could sleep standing up on a bus. ;)

  32. We have the same sides as you and Ben. Not a big bed maker, mostly if I know someone will see it. I do straighten it before bedtime.

  33. I also have a really hard time falling asleep when my husband is out of town. I usually just read until sleep overcomes me (which unfortunately is way too late!!)

    We do always sleep on the same side, he’s on the right, I’m on the left. But I move over to his side when he gets up. It’s warmer there!

  34. I do the same thing when my husband is away! I end up staying up super late until my eyes just close on their own so I don’t have to think about sleeping without him. I have recently discovered the perfect combination of lights on, etc that help me feel better, but I’m going to try sleeping on his side of the bed next time he’s gone since it works for so many people. Our sides of the bed are fixed at home but can change depending on the orientation of the bed within the room when we are away. My college roommate was a stickler for bed-making so I do appreciate a made bed but I don’t make it every day. I would really like to though. Maybe that will be a December goal.

  35. This ended up being a surprisingly fun topic for comment-reading!
    I always sleep on the right and my husband sleeps on the left. It started because I like to fall asleep with my head on his shoulder, but he injured his left shoulder playing rugby shortly before we first got together, so I needed to sleep on his right shoulder so he could be comfortable. Then the habit just stuck. And part of it now is that we also both have a bunch of stuff on our nightstands (my hand and foot lotion, our respective books because we read in bed at night, our phone chargers, etc.) so it’s just easier to stick to the same side. We stick to those sides wherever we go. Whenever he’s out of town I still sleep on my side and let the dogs sleep on his side (they aren’t allowed in the bed when he’s at home :-)).

    Oh, and I make the bed every morning, mostly for the reason a previous poster stated: if I make the bed, I’m not tempted to get back into it for an afternoon nap!

  36. My husband & I have been married 30 years, we have definite sides of the bed whether at home or away. A few months ago we decided to switch after I read an article that said it was good for your brain to do such things. My husband good sport that he is was willing to keep at it long after I cried uncle. Wow, it was amazingly difficult …. We did not get a good nights sleep and both felt out of sorts during the entire weeks trial. Not doing that again, we’ll have to try other things to stay young at brain.

  37. We have ALWAYS had set sides of the bed. I think it started when I was pregnant with my first born (28 yrs. ago!!), and one side was closer to the bathroom! Then we had the same tradition of my husband getting up to get the baby, letting me rest. That is… until we discovered a co-sleeper….

  38. Right now I’m on the right, he’s on the left. But it used to be switched and we’re flexible if we’re traveling – we arrange ourselves in the way that makes the most sense in that particular space.

    And, yes, we make our bed every day, but that’s partly because we’re on a sleeper sofa that becomes the living room couch. We’re forced to do it if we want the room to function as a living room!

  39. I always sleep on the side farthest from the door. I’m not sure when this started, it’s just been this way for years. My husband just goes with it. He knows I won’t sleep on the side closest to the door. When we go away, it’s not even discussed.

  40. When we had babies he slept closest to the door to bring me the babies, as the four kiddos got older I slept closest to the door, because I usually woke to their nighttime cries. Now I sleep farthest from the door. I feel more safe. Though with a military husband there is sometimes nothing between me and the door, but I still stick to my side of the bed:)
    And I love making my bed, but don’t always do it:)

  41. A long time ago, you wrote a post about something unrelated to bed making. However, you said something about morning routine.. like you got the laundry started, cleaned up breakfast and made the beds… something like that.

    Now every time I make my bed (which is almost never) I think about how you’re so amazing and organized because you make your beds. I bet you didn’t know that one passing comment would stick with someone like that. ;-)

    PS: I always, always, always sleep on the right side.

  42. I’m on the left and hubby’s on the right (if you’re lying in bed.) I think I always get the side that’s against the wall and he always gets the side that’s “closest” to the door.

    We never make our bed. What’s the point? If a guest was going to see it, I would, but that’s it.

  43. We are total creatures of habit: I’m always on the left, he’s always on the right. It’s to the point that there is NEVER any question who sleeps on which side when we’re away from home, because it just happens that way. And now I’m sure it won’t surprise you that I make my bed too. :)

  44. It depends on which side is the door: I sleep on that side. It’s easier access for me to go to the bathroom at night. Even when we had a newborn and hubby would go get the baby for nursing, he would still go around the bed. No matter what, over time, I get up more at night than him, hence the door side is mine.
    When he is out of the house overnight, I sleep really well, but only the first night. If he is out longer, it gets worse and worse. It’s when I am out of the house overnight that I can’t sleep well, ever. But it’s easier when we are together, out of the house, sleeping at a hotel for example. So the bottom line is, I like my bed, it’s even better when I have no one in it (snoring? too much heat?) the first night, but then I miss him. And when I’m not in my own bed, I like to take my husband with me to make me feel more at home :)
    I definitely absolutely have to have the bed done everyday. If for whatever, and very rare reason, the bed is not done, my day is basically ruined, I’m in a fog all day long. And I am the only one who can make the bed properly. There’s a specific way to pull on the sheets so they look very flat and stretched out. I typically make the bed by folding the duvet and sheet in half to leave the bed “open” so it airs out, I also spray with freshener and leave the windows open for an hour or two every morning. I feel like a princess when I am the first one to get into bed at night.

  45. I am the exact same way with regards o my husband being out of town. I hate it! I get very little sleep, staying up reading or watching tv until I literally can’t keep my eyes open. Bless ou this week!

  46. It seems like my comments are getting lost? I commented on the Bed Wetting post and this post, but I don’t see either comment.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top