relationship

Why ‘sleep divorce’ could be good for you and your relationship

Picture your average night sharing a bed with your partner. Are they happily dozing off while you’re tossing & turning? While you’re hot and bothered and on the verge of shoving the duvet to the floor, are they swaddled like a baby? What about those nights when you’re ready to go to bed early but your partner is a night owl and prefers to burn the midnight oil, thus keeping you awake in the process?

While outdated tropes persist of misbehaving husbands pitifully dragging their blankets to the couch after some marital rift, there are actually many happily married couples sleeping in separate bedrooms. Kicking your partner out of bed is, incidentally, the latest expert recommendation for a good snooze. That is, along with sleep trackers, herbal pills and lavender-scented pillow sprays, of course. The concept makes complete sense, if you consider that sharing a bed means approximately fifty per cent of your sleep disturbances are caused by your partner.

Seems like many of us are catching on to the sleep divorce trend. According to the National Sleep Foundation, nearly one in four couples choose to sleep separately, and The Wall Street Journal reports that a third of homebuyers shopping for space are looking for dual master bedrooms. Sleeping separately seems to be a way of fitting in some me-time when all the stresses and strains of modern life, juggling long work hours and time for children, take it’s toll.

Additionally, if you snooze in your own room, you’ll probably wake up happier and healthier, personally and when it comes to your relationship. The age-old saying of ‘not knowing what you have till it’s gone’ comes into play here. By sleeping in separate beds, you have a better chance of prioritising intimacy and physical touch, as you now have to ‘work for it’. One might wonder why sleeping apart has such a bad reputation then, when it can be so beneficial for your relationship. Sadly, the blurring of lines between sex and sleep are at the core of social pressure. The thinking goes – if you are not sleeping together, are you still being intimate?

Women are more prone to sleep disturbances than men. They also actually need an hour or two more shut-eye than men, but often get less, since in many cases, they’re shouldering more of the household responsibility. On average, women do about an hour more household chores per day, taking that hour from the time they should be sleeping. Less time for sleep means that time is precious, so disturbances throughout the night become quite serious.

Separate beds can thus lead to partners arguing less (because everyone will better rested and more patient) which might lead to a healthier family dynamic. Even though the separate sleeping conversation is a difficult one to have, because for many people, a partner asking for privacy can seem like rejection, it will be more of a struggle to stay in the same bed when it’s hurting your health.