What Is A Sleep Divorce… And Do You Need One?
There are a number of reasons why sleeping in the same bed as your S.O. can be less romantic than you’d hope: snoring, tossing and turning, reading with the light on… which has many couples considering a “sleep divorce.”
Don’t worry — it sounds more dramatic than it is. A sleep divorce simply means sleeping in a separate bed as your partner. So if sleeping in the same bed now surpasses annoying and truly interferes with your ability to sleep, it may be time to make some moves.
You wouldn’t be alone: Over 30 percent of people say they’re ready to file for a sleep divorce in their own homes, according to this US survey.
Why consider a sleep divorce?
Better sleep, of course. “It makes sense to sleep apart any time one partner’s sleep disturbs another, whether it’s because of snoring, different work schedules, or restlessness,” says Dr. Chris Winter, a neurologist who runs a sleep medicine clinic in Charlottesville, Virginia. “At least from time to time.”
And that’s because sleep is really freakin’ important. High-qual sleep is linked to healthy food choices, better workout performance, more efficient work, and so much more.
“Poor sleep can tremendously impact your relationship,” says Dr. Winter. “People are more irritable, less able to read emotions, more impulsive, and more prone to depression if they aren’t getting adequate sleep.” So yes, it’s worth making sleep a major prior… for your health *and* your relationship.
There also may be certain times, like during pregnancy or a nuts work sched, when it makes sense to sleep divorce for just a short stint — nothing needs to be permanent!
You can even take it day by day: Dr. Winter says it could be beneficial to consider sleeping separately, say, the night before a big meeting, which also helps you test out the waters so you know if this is something you wanna do more often.
Okay, but is a sleep divorce bad for my relationship?
Dr. Winter encourages people to refrain from thinking of healthy relationships and sleeping in the same bed as mutually exclusive. “Sleeping apart is a personal choice, but I also think two people can love one another and not inhabit the same bedroom,” he says.
Licensed couple’s therapist Sherry Amatenstein says it’s common for one person to get upset when the other wants to sleep in a separate space, but she encourages you to explain that your desire to sleep apart has nothing to do with your feelings for your partner. At the same time, try not to take it personally if your S.O.’s the one who brings it up. Know that the US National Sleep Foundation found that 38 percent of people said their relationship was impacted by their partner’s sleep disorder, so again, this could be a healthy choice on multiple levels.
And as Amatenstein notes, alone time can actually be a good thing. “It’s nice to have some space and time to yourself,” she says.
So what are my next steps if I wanna try this out?
Not everyone has the luxury of a second bedroom, but if you do, think about the things that contribute to your comfort and invest in items that fit the bill. “Having separate bedrooms gives each partner the opportunity to set their bedroom up to their exact specifications, including the mattress, lighting, and temperature,” says Dr. Winter, huge contributing factors to a good night of sleep.
Consider a white noise machine or a fan, especially if you notice the space feeling stuffy. This is also a great time to try out a weighted blanket since it won’t impact your partner.
If you don’t have a separate bedroom, one partner could consider sleeping on the couch temporarily (again, before a big meeting or during a tough time at work!), with the understanding that it won’t last forever. Either way, you’ll need to schedule sex or prioritise a li’l spontaneity earlier in the day, but hey, you’ve got the energy now, righttttt?
This article was originally published on www.womenshealthmag.com