"Sleep divorce" is a thing, and here's what it could mean for your relationship
Let’s be real: Sharing your bed with a partner is rarely as romantic as movies and television make it seem. One person snores while the other tosses and turns all night, and someone usually ends up freezing when the other “accidentally” hogs the blankets and sheets all at once. But some problems go beyond the problem of blanket theft, leading couples to try out a “sleep divorce.”
What’s a sleep divorce, you might ask? Simply put, it’s sleeping in a different bed or bedroom from your partner or spouse, allowing you both to sleep peacefully on your own schedule and in the environment that suits your needs best.
It might sound extreme (and a little like an old-fashioned sitcom trope), but it turns out that sleeping on your own might be the key to getting the best night’s rest ever, and a new survey of 3,000 Americans shows that around 31% of us actually want to get a sleep divorce.
So why do some of us want to break up with our shared beds and start sleeping solo?
For starters, getting consistent quality sleep is important for our health and well-being, and if you’re not getting enough sleep, you’re likely struggling in ways you may not even realize.
There are many reasons why you might love your partner but hate their sleeping habits. For example, if you run on different schedules, or if you prefer to hit the sheets early and your partner stays up to watch TV. Snoring, body heat, and the dreaded night kicking could also lead to sleepless nights, which means that come morning, you’re tired, irritable, or downright cranky.
And with more research proving that sleep is a crucial part of your health, a sleep divorce just might be the remedy needed for happier days spent with your significant other.
But what if you feel like sleeping separately might lead to a lack of time spent doing other, more sexy things in between the sheets? Couples therapist Tamara Green told TODAY that it’s totally possible for couples to sleep in separate beds and still maintain a good sexual connection, explaining, “They get enough rest and they feel like they are able to hear each other out and get their needs met.”
What if you’re looking to finally get some quality rest but aren’t sure how to broach the topic of a “sleep divorce” with your S.O.? Green offered some helpful tips to test the waters.
Don’t place blame on your partner—instead mention how your sleeping arrangement might be impacting both of you, saying, “We don’t seem to have a completely restful night of sleep because we just have different sleep styles.”
Then, suggest trying out sleeping apart. Green recommends saying, “I’m wondering if you’re open to trying things that may work for both of us. I only bring this up because I deeply care about you and our relationship and the quality of our sleep.” If your partner is receptive to the idea, be sure to mention how appreciative you are that you can work these issues out together.
Last, if you do try out a sleep divorce, make sure your waking hours together are spent in a meaningful way. Green recommends time spent away from devices, being sure to schedule enough time for sex and date nights so that you get enough quality one-on-one time with your partner.
If you’ve suffered through one too many nights spent tossing and turning while bae sleeps peacefully, you might want to give it a try. With a solid night’s sleep, you could find that absence makes the heart grow fonder…while the body gets the rest it desperately needs.