Have you ever had those nights where he just can’t stop snoring and you wake up the next morning ready to lash out at whoever crosses your path? Or maybe, she can’t stop moving around while she’s sleeping, and you’re left groggy all day. Perhaps one of you gets up at freaking 5:30 am and the other likes to sleep in? We bring to you a solution you’ve definitely considered before, at least in your own mind: sleep divorce.
Sharing a bed is seen as one of the most intimate things a couple can do. On the other hand, a couple sleeping in different rooms often sparks all sorts of malicious gossip. We’re all so used to the idea that couples have to sleep in the same bed, but what if it starts resulting in no sleep?
No, sleep divorce is not you dreaming about a divorce. Sleep divorce simply means sleeping in a different bed than your partner or even in a different room. That sounds like a great idea, right? No longer will you need 4 cups of coffee to get you through the day. Say goodbye to your dark circles. But wait, will your marriage suffer?
To answer all your questions, we’ve turned to psychologist Ridhi Golechha (Masters in Psychology), who specializes in physical, mental, and emotional health counseling, for insights. We break down everything to do with ‘sleep divorce’ so you can make your decision without too many sleepless nights.
What Is Sleep Divorce?
As mentioned, sleep divorce means sleeping in a separate bed than your partner. Even if that bed is in a different room. Now, if someone told you, “My husband and I sleep in separate rooms,” you’d immediately question the strength of their marriage, right? Well, maybe you shouldn’t. Signs of a bad marriage are completely different.
Think about it, who even told you that you absolutely have to sleep in the same bed as your partner, every single night? Especially if it’s affecting your sleep.
Thoughts like, “That’s just how it’s always been!” and “Those who sleep apart grow apart” might be rushing to your mind right now. But did you know that David and Victoria Beckham practiced sleep divorce too? And they seem to be doing pretty well. Sleep divorce is a thing that has helped a lot of people.
When you don’t have to hear the deathly loud snores or the meticulously acted-out dream by your sleep-talking partner, who wouldn’t fancy a sleep divorce? So, could it be time for a sleep divorce for you?
How Common Is Sleep Divorce?
Not only do the Beckhams prove that sleep divorce is healthy, but Britain’s Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip never slept in the same bed. And their marriage lasted 74 years. And, if royalty doesn’t inspire much confidence in you, maybe science will.
Studies claim that sleep divorce can improve the quality of sleep because of fewer disruptions. Also, sleep divorce is a thing that’s common in Japan, and a lot of married couples opt for it. So, before you Google “bed solutions for couples” and end up staring at a Kamasutra page, maybe give sleep divorce a go.
We get it, it’s a big decision. You may still be on the fence about this one. You can’t just get up and sleep on a different bed. Plus, there’s probably an awkward conversation you’d have to have with your partner. But we’re not giving up just yet. Read on to see 8 compelling reasons to figure out if it’s time for a sleep divorce.
Related Reading: 8 Reasons Why Separate Bedrooms Are Good For Married Couples
How To Ask For A Sleep Divorce?
Before you make up your mind to jump on the sleep divorce trend, it’s important to understand how you should go about asking your partner for one. In an attempt at getting more sleep, you don’t want your partner to be anxiously awake the entire night, wondering about the health of your relationship.
Telling us how we should go about asking our partners for a sleep divorce, Ridhi shares a few important points to consider. “When asking your partner for a sleep divorce, make sure your relationship has good stability and bonding. If either of the partners is insecure, asking for a sleep divorce might trigger the insecurity even further.”
“I’m not getting enough sleep, let’s sleep separately” might just be interpreted as “I don’t like sleeping with you, I want to sleep alone” by someone who’s insecure and is doubting the strength of your relationship. Even though that was not your intention, it’s a very real possibility if the message isn’t conveyed properly as a result of poor communication in your relationship.
Ridhi tells us a few more things to keep in mind, “If either of you has an anxious attachment style, you need to approach such a proposition delicately. The most important thing to consider is that your partner doesn’t take this as a sign of rejection and starts feeling unwanted. Sleep divorce should be asked for once you both feel secure and loved in your bond.”
Understandably, asking your partner for a sleep divorce is a tricky prospect. Even though sleep divorce is on the rise, the stigma attached to the act of sleeping apart is still enough to warrant a few judgmental looks from people you know. Even so, if it feels like the right thing to do, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t hop on this sleep divorce trend.
9 Ways A Sleep Divorce Can Help Your Marriage
We’re not saying you strictly have to sleep away from your beloved significant other every single night. You can hop into bed with your partner whenever you want. Stay the night even, it’s cold outside of the blanket anyway (and we all know how important sex is in a relationship). But if the snoring or the kicking starts, you know you always have your own bed to go to. And here’s why you should get your own bed:
1. You get to miss your partner
The pandemic has made sure we’re not going out as much as we used to, which basically means you’re spending all your time with your partner. And we’re sure every couple would agree that constantly being together can get a bit much. You need personal space in a relationship to make thrive, and being joint at the hip for 24 hours isn’t going to do you any favors.
Ridhi says “Absence makes the heart grow fonder. That saying holds more truth than we care to admit. You must’ve noticed that when you or your partner are away on trips, you start missing them more. Your rational brain starts thinking about gratitude and all the good things in your dynamic, instead of constantly thinking of the shortcomings.
“Once the spotlight from the negatives of your bond shifts to the positives of it, the distance ends up creating a healthier attachment. When you use a sleep divorce, you definitely get a chance to miss your partner which in turn can lead to you focusing more on the positives,” she adds, telling us the benefits a sleep divorce can reap.
Spending the nights apart will not only make for more peaceful sleep but will also give you time to yearn for your partner to be with you. If you get through the night without climbing into their bed, you’ll be able to enjoy a cup of coffee or tea with your partner the next morning, with no resentment over lost sleep. We bet by now you’re starting to believe a bit in the whole sleep divorce trend, aren’t you?
2. You’ll finally get enough sleep to survive the day
The number one reason why you should throw ‘those who sleep apart grow apart’ into the trash is that you’ll finally be able to get enough sleep. You won’t be putting salt in your coffee and sugar on your eggs, you’ll be waking up refreshed instead of heavy-eyed and grumpy.
And you won’t be looking over to the other side of the bed with disgust, planning a murder in your head. Instead, you might just go over and hug your partner good morning. When was the last time you did that as a way of showing affection?
3. Studies say it helps the marriage
Is sleep divorce healthy? The data seems to be backing us up. Research claims that getting better sleep increases the overall quality of marital life. And, there are also studies pointing out that a lack of sleep may result in nastier fights.
We already told you how sleep divorce is on the rise and with good reason too. We’re not saying it’ll all be smooth sailing, though. You will need to ease into it with your spouse. Maybe surprise them with a bunch of roses, shift things to the bedroom, say goodnight, and hop into your own bed for a peaceful sleep, minus the snoring/grunting/kicking. Trust us, you’ll like your partner so much more in the morning.
Related Reading: How sleeping in separate bedrooms made them a better couple
4. The time you spend together will be a lot more fulfilling
Often in relationships, we end up chasing the amount of time spent together rather than focusing on what you’re both doing during those precious hours together. If you’re with each other all day, chances are you might just end up taking each other for granted, since the humdrum of life might translate into your dynamic as well.
Ridhi tells us how sleep divorce may be able to rectify, dare we say it, a boring relationship. “A lot of times we look at time with our partner as quantity over quality. It’s always about “How much time are you spending with me” and not necessarily about “What are we doing in this limited time that we’re spending together?” When you change the focus from spending more time together to spending quality time together, it’ll have a positive impact on your relationship.
“In this day and age, couples are busy and have a very hectic ‘hustle culture’ life. That’s the reason our sleep quality and the quality of our relationships need to be at the top of their game. Sleep divorce can help with both, improving your sleep quality and making you feel more fulfilled in the time you spend with your partner,” she says.
Say goodbye to those lazy Sunday afternoons where you can’t seem to get out of bed (probably because you couldn’t get any sleep in the first place). When you start valuing the time you spend with your partner, you’re bound to appreciate it a lot more.
5. No more “You’re on my side!”
When you were dating, you couldn’t wait to see your partner again. Now, you get angry at him/her if they throw their immovable leg on “your” side of the bed. You both have your own pillows and almost every night, one person hogs all of the blankets.
When you’re sleeping on your own bed, these problems will never bother you again. No longer will the eight inches of the bed be “your” side. The whole bed is your side. Bed solutions for couples don’t get easier than this, the common relationship problems will be curbed as well. Instead of figuring out what to do with your arms all night, you’ll be focusing on sleeping.
6. It’ll improve your cuddling and sex life
If you’re sharing a bed but anticipating a restless night, a visual representation of your bedtime with your partner probably wouldn’t feature romantic music in the background or you lovingly staring into your partner’s eyes. It would feature both of you saying goodnight, finding a comfortable position, and trying to sleep. Without even a hint of cuddling.
When sharing the same bed, you might sometimes just have sex/cuddle for the sake of it. When you’re sleeping in separate beds and you start missing your partner, you’ll go over to cuddle because you actually want to. You’ll initiate sex more passionately and willingly. You won’t be doing it for the sake of it, you’re doing it because you really want to.
7. You won’t be racing to fall asleep first
You know what we’re talking about. You’re lying in bed, trying to force yourself to sleep before your partner does so you don’t have to deal with the incessant snoring or the constant moving around.
When you’re racing to be the first one to fall asleep, it could be time for a sleep divorce. You won’t be worried about putting yourself to sleep before your partner (which by the way, never works). You’ll sleep on your own time, which will result in better quality sleep as well.
8. Stay married longer by being healthier
It’s no surprise that getting a full night of quality sleep results in multiple health benefits. Studies show that when you get a good night’s rest, your muscles get a chance to recover, you feel well-rested and your overall sleep schedule gets better.
Getting a good night’s rest of at least 7 hours is extremely vital. And we know a sleep divorce can improve sleep. The average person spends 25 years of their life asleep, make sure you’re not just twisting and turning but actually sleeping for those 25 years.
Related Reading: 5 reasons you should travel alone even if you’re married
9. It can help problems of the mind too
If you’ve felt anxious or depressed, or suffer from some other mental illness, a whole host of studies claim how crucial it is for you to be getting a good night’s rest. When your body feels fully rested, your mind will feel at ease too. It’ll make it easier to put things into perspective and tackle your problems one step at a time.
You can always cozy up to your partner in their bed, then go off to sleep in yours. This way, you’ll get the best of both worlds. A nice cuddle session, followed by a satisfying sleep. All thanks to sleep divorce.
At the end of the day, if you’re struggling with getting enough sleep and feel groggy the next day because of the pressure to sleep on the same bed as your partner, sleep divorce will most definitely come to your rescue. Considering how sleep divorce is on the rise, we’re pretty sure the stigma attached to sleeping apart will soon fade away too. What are you waiting for? Go buy those two single beds you’ve always wanted but were too shy to bring up. Just send your spouse this article, they’ll get the hint.
Yes, it is absolutely okay for married couples to sleep apart. Given that you both realize that this isn’t done as a sign of resentment and being done only to sleep properly. If one of the parties involved is not happy about a sleep divorce, it should be avoided. But if both parties are willing, sleep divorce can have a whole lot of benefits.
You’ll sleep better, feel physically and mentally better, you’ll get a chance to miss your partner and your sex life may just improve too.
If you’re racing to fall asleep first, if your partner’s snoring/kicking about keeps you up all night, if you directly blame your partner for not being able to get sleep, it may be time for a sleep divorce.
Other signs include if you can’t go to sleep without putting earplugs in or having a drink prior to bed. Or if you’re taking sleeping pills. Sleeping naturally is the best way to do it, and since sleep divorce is on the rise, you could try it out.
If one partner is not fully sold on the idea of a sleep divorce, he/she could develop feelings of resentment. It’s important to make sure that all the partners are completely on board. As long as that’s taken care of and sexual and intimacy needs are properly communicated, there aren’t many cons to a sleep divorce. Except, of course, having to clean double the number of sheets.