For some couples, sleeping in separate beds or even separate bedrooms is a sign of growing apart. But for others, it can be the solution to a host of issues like snoring, difficulty sleeping, and settling arguments over night time rituals and preferences like when to turn off the lights or television, or temperature of the room during the night. In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of couples opting for separate beds, or even separate bedrooms, in what a recent article dubbed as “a sleep divorce”.
Why would two Spouses Choose to Stop Sleeping in the Same Bed?
There are a number of reasons why people may choose “a sleep divorce”. The reality is, sometimes sleeping in the same bed or bedroom with your spouse isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. If you are losing sleep because of your partner, you might consider sleeping in different beds.
- Snoring or Excessive Movement
This is the most common complaint people will make about their spouse as it relates to sleeping. One person is peacefully sleeping the night away, while their snoring, movements or some other behavior is keeping their partner from getting a good night’s rest.
- Different Sleep Schedules
Not all couples choose to go to bed at the same time. If you are heading to bed at 10pm and your partner “sneaks” in at 1:30am that can be very frustrating, especially for people who have trouble falling back asleep.
- Temperature / Bed / Lighting Preferences
Fan on / Fan off, a white noise maker or not, the A/C blasting or a nice toasty temperature. People have strong preferences about the environment they sleep in, and that can become a point of contention or even conflict when spouses or partners do not agree.
- Stress or Anxiety
Some people find it much easier to unwind / relax / get ready to go to sleep by simply being alone. That might mean simply having your own space, or needing silence.
- Pregnancy / Children in the Bedroom
If there is a pregnancy, a newborn or a child who wants to sleep with a parent, that can be a difficult issue when spouses or partners disagree. Choosing separate bedrooms may allow everyone to get what they want.
- Restless Leg Syndrome or another sleep related issue
Sleep apnea, snoring, weird breathing, random kicking or diagnosed Restless Leg Syndrome. Again, to one person it’s a peaceful night sleep, while the other who can not sleep lays there, typically being filled with resentment and anger.
How Does “a Sleep Divorce” Work?
In order to “divorce” your sleep, you may need to have a serious discussion with your partner. You will need to come to an agreement about separate sleeping arrangements. It is important that you both feel comfortable with the new sleeping arrangements and that it is something that you are both willing to commit to.
There are a number of reasons why couples may choose to sleep in separate beds. For some, it may be a way to avoid the snoring or restless movements of their partner during the night. Others may find that they sleep better when they are not sharing a bed with their partner. Still others may simply prefer to have their own space during the night. Whatever the reason, couples who choose to sleep in separate beds can avoid a host of issues that may otherwise disrupt their sleep.
If you’re considering sleeping in separate beds, here are a few things to keep in mind:
1. Communication – You and your partner should discuss whether or not this is the right solution for you. For a lot of people a spouse approaching them about sleeping in separate beds can trigger feelings of rejection and questions about why. Make sure you go into it ready to listen and communicate openly with your partner.
2. Awareness – This may feel like an ambush to your spouse. After all, they may have been pleasantly sleeping the night away, completely unaware of the challenges you are having. Be prepared for questions such as “what’s wrong with me?” or “why would you want to break up with me? ” These are valid questions and should be addressed head on. But it’s important that you stay positive about the change and emphasize how much better you are both sleeping. No one likes to be viewed as the source of sleepless nights, so being open and frank about the problems can be helpful in avoiding resentment or animosity. Of course, your partner may not understand the challenges you are facing and may resist the change. You should be prepared to explain why this change is important to you and how it will improve your relationship.
3. Timing – If you’ve been sharing a bed for years, it may take some time to get used to sleeping alone. It’s important to be patient and give yourself (and your partner) time to adjust. Remember, this is a change that you’re making for yourself, your sleep quality and overall health – not an indictment of your relationship or partner.
4. Location – It’s important to find a place in the house where you both feel comfortable with the change. If you have a guest room or spare bedroom, that’s often the best place to start. But if that’s not an option, get creative. Some couples have found that setting up a bed in the living room works well, while others have created makeshift bedrooms in basement dens or home offices.
5. Acceptance – There may be some days (or nights) when you miss sleeping next to your partner. And that’s OK. This is a big change, and it’s normal to feel nostalgic for the way things used to be. Just remember that you’re making this change for a reason, and it’s ultimately going to be better for your sleep, as well as your mental and physical health.