Couples should consider sleeping apart for the good of their health, an expert has said. Expert advocates sleeping apart Getting a decent night's sleep is more important than cosying up between the sheets to please your partner, says Dr Neil Stanley. Research evidence suggests that sharing a bed is bad for sleep, he told the British Science Festival. One study found that if one partner moved in his or her sleep there was a 50% chance of it disturbing the other. Another revealed that the longer couples had spent together, the more likely they were to have separate rooms. By the time they were aged in their 70s, 40% were choosing to sleep apart. Other research showed that men were likely to prod their snoring partners awake, while women tended to put up with the noise - as they struggled to sleep. Dr Stanley, who set up one of Britain's leading sleep laboratories at the University of Surrey, said poor sleep was linked to depression, heart disease, strokes, lung disorders, traffic and industrial accidents, and divorce. Yet sleep was largely ignored as an important aspect of health. "If you want to live a happy and healthy life, diet and exercise are important but so is sleep," said Dr Stanley, speaking at the University of Surrey in Guildford. He said the modern tradition of the marital bed only began with the industrial revolution, when people moving to overcrowded towns and cities found themselves short of living space. Before the Victorian era it was not uncommon for married couples to sleep apart, he argued. In ancient Rome, the marital bed was a place for sexual congress but not for sleeping."