This feature was originally published on HuffPost UK.
“Do you want to come over for a sleepover soon?” a recent Whatsapp message read. I want to clear something up right away: when I talk about “adult sleepovers” I’m not being coy. It isn’t code for booty call. I want to celebrate the joy of platonic sleepovers between friends. No funny business; not even a pillow fight.
We think of staying over in a friend’s bed as being something for children. But I’ve been doing it for most of my life, throughout my teens, at uni, and while living in London in my 20s and 30s. And I’ve no intention of giving it up any time soon.
Remember how excited you’d be about sleeping over at a friend’s when you were a kid? Maybe it was for a birthday party or just a Friday night treat, but whatever the deal, there’d be hardly any sleeping. Instead you’d solidify your friendship by staying up for hours watching films, eating crap, giggling and gossiping.
And while I’d like to think I’ve grown up at least a bit since then, grown up sleepovers aren’t so different – especially where the non-stop talking is concerned.
Sleepovers aren’t about logistics – we could easily make our way home at the end of the night – but about bonding. I remember at uni when my friends and I would sleep head-to-tail in each other’s single beds even though our rooms were on the same floor in halls, a mere 20 metres apart. The only difference now is that we have to travel across London, rather than the corridor.
(And, thankfully, we now have double beds – for those with a partner, we have sleepovers when they’re not around, but have also been known to kick them to the sofa on occasion.)
I’ll never forget a weekend away where my girlfriends and I ditched our partners in order to sleep in the same room – dragging mattresses on to the the floor in order to fit more of us in. As with most of our group sleepovers, it quickly descended into shrieking and hysterics, until people started, eventually, to drop off to sleep. It was mere hours later when the first few awoke to start the shrieking again.
From deep and meaningfuls, covering relationship troubles or existential crises, to hysterically recounting the nitty gritty of a terrible one night stand, these are often not the conversations you’d have over dinner. You need privacy – sometimes you need to be staring into the dark with the lights off.
In my early 20s, an ex broke up with me and I was forced to move back home with my parents, so a friend generously offered me the righthand-side of her bed whenever I wanted. I spent most Friday and Saturday nights with her, travelling back to my parents with an almighty hangover on Sunday. Her kind gesture cemented our friendship – and kept me sane.
I might live with my boyfriend now (which I guess makes every night a sleepover of sorts) but I’ll never stop visiting friends to stay over – and having them to stay at mine when he’s away.
Sitting up late and giggling about jokes you’ve told a thousand times over (and will a thousand more) has not only been a rite of passage into womanhood for me – it has sustained me through both good times and bad.
Read more from HuffPost UK's The Sleep Edition
Main image credit: Sam Manns on Unsplash