What is a Sleep Divorce and How Can it Help Your Relationship

If your partner keeps you awake at night snoring, getting up frequently, stealing the covers, or the two of you can’t decide on the perfect room temperature; it might be time for a divorce—a sleep divorce. And what might that entail? Keep reading to find out.

By Adarsh Soni
04 Jul 2021

Theirs was a three year courtship—passion, ecstasy, heartbreak, betrayal, manipulations and magic moments of pure joy with occasional thoughts of separation. Then they got married and the real drama began.The first year of marriage was calm and warm, air charged with electricity, but once they settled down into matrimonial bliss, the problems started to show up. “We were seeing each other for quite some time before getting married but it was about a few days after our first wedding anniversary that I started detesting his snoring. Not that I’m a light sleeper, but it had really gotten out of hand,” says Swadha, a 47 year old homemaker living in Nainital, Uttarakhand. “In the last twenty years of our marriage, there hasn’t been a day when I wasn’t grateful for our life together, and the thought of not sharing the same bed as him made me feel guilty but I was simply not getting enough sleep. I manage the whole house you see, I deserve at least seven peaceful hours,” she adds.

Happy couples sleeping in separate beds is not exactly a new concept but it has started gaining more traction ever since the lockdown began. Couples are spending twenty four hours a day together, and even though it might sound delightful at first, after a while, the claws are bound to come out. According to a study by Dr Stephanie J Wilson, Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research, The Ohio State University College of Medicine, USA, couples who get too little sleep are more likely to have marital spats and become hostile to one another. And snoring is not the only reason behind the rise of this concept. Different work timings, sleep patterns, room temperature preferences–they all come into play. It could even be as simple as cotton vs satin sheets.



Although data in this field is limited, a recent survey by Mattress Clarity, USA found that almost 47% of their respondents would prefer to sleep without their partner and about 19% of them blamed their partner for their poor sleep. A sleep divorce offers the perfect solution to this problem. You might think that sleeping apart might negatively affect your intimacy, but if done correctly, it can bring you closer. Improved sleep quality allows the brain to repair and recharge, and lowers stress levels. It also decreases tiredness, improves mood, endurance and focus—this is likely to improve your relationship with your significant other, while also boosting your performance at your workplace. According to research by Dr Wendy M Troxel, Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, sleeping apart is not necessarily an indicator of an unhappy or unhealthy relationship. Encouraging patients to discuss difficulties with co-sleeping arrangements with their partner may lead to better sleep and a happier relationship.

But this doesn’t mean that you can’t sleep together at all. The key is to find the perfect balance so that you both get enough sleep and also spend quality time with your partner. “We usually sleep together during the weekend, that’s like a mutual agreement we’ve made up. Ever since we did the whole sleep divorce thing, I’ve been feeling so much more rested and relaxed. And not just that, my husband and I have grown more fond of each other. I don’t know if it’s because of missing each other after the time spent apart or the wonders of a good night’s sleep, but as the time passes by, I’ve started to look more and more forward to our weekends together,” Swadha adds.



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