‘Sleep Divorce’ could be the nightly arrangement of your dreams


There are sleeping practices that can make sharing a bed with someone unbearable, no matter how much you love them. Maybe your partner is snoring like a freight train or constantly tossing and turning – whatever the habit, it bothers your ZZZs. While you and your SO might gasp in horror at the thought of not cuddling up all night, many couples have found that sleeping together even brings After love and appreciation in their relationship.

This nightly separation is commonly referred to as a “sleep divorce,” and it’s something many couples have begun to introduce — for the better — into their relationships, according to Dr. Shelby Harris, licensed clinical psychologist and chief health officer of the sleep in Sleepopolis. It doesn’t involve going to court or anything drastic – couples who follow this practice simply choose to nap in different rooms or beds in order to get better quality rest.

There are a number of reasons why nest partners may choose to sleep apart, and the main benefits that can often come from this decision might surprise you. Read on to learn all about the practice which is certainly not as negative as the “D” word might make you believe.

What is Sleep Divorce?

“A sleeping divorce is when a couple decides to sleep in separate beds or separate bedrooms because of differences in sleep patterns, habits and preferences that disrupt the quality of their sleep,” Harris said. at Bustle. And there are more couples than you might think who choose this sleeping arrangement, says Shadeen Francis, licensed marriage and family therapist and certified sex therapist. “Survey data suggests this is quite common, with estimates of at least a quarter of couples sleeping apart a few times a month,” she told Bustle. She also says, however, that due to the stigma surrounding non-traditional sleep arrangements, many couples aren’t exactly aware of their sleep divorce — even the use of the word “divorce” in the term itself. even can cause feelings of shame or embarrassment. .

That said, if you scroll through the hashtag #sleepdivorce on TikTok — which has over 121,600 views — you’ll find that some couples love the lifestyle change. A few even choose to keep bedrooms separate, choosing to spend time cuddling and having fun together in one bed, then shutting up their eyes solo in the other.

Why some partners choose divorce by sleep

While the reasons some couples choose sleep divorce are often personal, there are other motivations behind the arrangement that can be simple and practical. “Often, couples choose a divorce because of the quality of sleep one or both partners have,” says Harris. “This choice is most often made due to differences in sleep patterns, habits and preferences or disruptive snoring by one or both partners.” It may seem far-fetched, but even your sleeping habits and those of your partner can contribute to tension at home. If one partner is a night owl and the other a morning person, these incompatible sleep schedules can potentially cause problems over time.

“We need rest to survive and live well, and our relationships don’t need to be a barrier to that,” Francis says. “Rather than sticking to a standard or arbitrary model of how your relationship ‘should be,’ respect your and your partner’s real needs and make decisions based on what works well for you.” She says to put it this way: Wouldn’t it be better to sleep apart and be happy than to sleep together and be miserable?

Beyond the functional motivation of a sleep divorce, Laura J. Brito, a licensed clinical social worker, says the arrangement may also have long-term emotional benefits. “Many couples have cited sleeping in separate beds as an effective way to cope with health issues such as sleep apnea which contributes to snoring, coping with different work schedules and cycles sleep, or to foster a sense of independence in a long-term relationship. she tells Bustle. If you or your partner (or both) have struggled with codependent tendencies or even an anxious attachment style, taking even a few nights a month to sleep apart could be a helpful practice in trying to resolve these. problems.

The Effects Sleep Divorce Can Have on Relationships

As with any major change in a relationship, choosing to sleep somewhere separate from your partner can have its pros and cons. Take the time to really get to the root of why you’re considering it and what you both want from the decision, suggests Brito – this can help you make sure it’s right for you. “Sleeping divorce can actually have a positive impact on a relationship if the couple discusses the details of how it can help, how long they intend to maintain this arrangement and other ways to establish connection and intimacy outside of sharing a bed,” she says. . If you make an effort to have regular sex or snuggle up in bed to watch TV, it will help avoid a feeling of disconnection between you and your partner.

On the other hand, it’s also important to make sure that your intentions behind trying this new arrangement are to help your relationship, not to punish or hurt you. “Divorce by sleep can amplify the distance already present in a relationship,” says Brito. “For example, couples may retreat to separate spaces to avoid confrontation or to punish their partner after an argument.” When this happens, Francis explains that — rather than serving as a way to benefit both partners, their sleep health, and the relationship as a whole — sleeping apart can really start to feel like a “divorce.”

“It’s really important that the couple make the decision together, not with one person reacting to another person’s snoring, for example,” Harris says. “I also like to point out that the ideal way to do this is to make sure that both partners have a comfortable sleeping environment when they decide to sleep apart, otherwise poor quality sleep and resentment can take hold. the top.” If you are in separate bedrooms or parts of your home, configuring these spaces to each of your tastes can create more feelings of positivity and peace around the deal.

Above all, Francis says sleep divorce tends to work well for couples who really take the time and thought to make it a positive arrangement — especially when the intention is to enhance the love and relationship. contentment in your partnership. “Poor quality sleep is linked to more frustration and irritability, less patience, less attentiveness, more aggression — that’s the perfect recipe for conflict,” she says. “Intentionally choosing to reinvent your sleep arrangements can not only protect your physical and emotional well-being, but also your relationship.” And there’s nothing better than not being woken up by the snoring of a lawn mower at two in the morning.


Dr. Shelby Harrislicensed clinical psychologist and director of sleep health at Sleepopolis

Francois Shadeenlicensed marriage and family therapist and certified sex therapist

Laura J. Britolicensed clinical social worker

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