According to the American carmaker, studies have shown that one in four of those in relationships sleep better alone. And over time, sleep loss increases the risk of injury and accidents at home, work and on the road.
But if separate beds don’t appeal – a phenomenon now so popular that there is a recognised trend for so-called “sleep divorces” – what next?
One solution could be Ford’s “Lane-Keeping Bed”, that applies car tech know-how to ensuring that even the most selfish bed mate stays firmly “in their lane” through the night.
Available in most Ford vehicles, Lane-Keeping Aid monitors the road markings ahead and actively supports the driver to safely guide the vehicle back into the correct lane by “nudging” the steering wheel in the correct direction; this complements other camera‑based systems that help drivers avoid inadvertently straying out of their lane.
This technology inspired the “Lane-Keeping Bed” that uses pressure sensors to identify when someone has strayed from their side of the bed and gently returns them to where they should be with the help of an integrated conveyor belt.
“When sleeping together, many couples each have less space than a small child has in a single bed,” said independent sleep expert and author of 'How to Sleep Well' Dr Neil Stanley.
“Humans are most vulnerable when sleeping, so we’re programmed to wake when something or someone touches us unexpectedly. If someone moves onto your side of the bed this defence mechanism will kick in and you’ll have a broken night, often while they continue to sleep soundly. I’ve seen it ruin relationships,” he added.
Still in a prototype phase, the “Lane-Keeping Bed” is part of a series of applying automotive expertise to tackle everyday – or in this case, every night – problems.
“Lane-Keeping Aid in our cars can make driving easier and more comfortable. We thought that showing how similar thinking could be applied to a bed, would be a great way to highlight to drivers a technology that they might not previously have been aware of,” said Ford of Europe director of marketing communications Anthony Ireson.