You’re not alone if living together has brought up small or big problems in your relationship. If your partner chews loudly, it might throw you off. While snoring might make someone angry. Or, you may have realized, after spending every waking moment with your live-in partner for nearly a year, that you love them but want a sleep divorce.
According to studies, 80–90% of people who sleep with a snorer find it difficult to get into rapid eye movement (REM), also known as deep sleep. Obviously, something needs to change if your partner keeps you from getting a good night’s sleep or if your loud snoring keeps your partner from getting a good night’s sleep. This is one of the reasons why they often resort to sleeping in a different room to avoid their snoring partner.
In this article, we talk about just that. Filing for a sleep divorce (trust us, it’s not as bad as it sounds) might be something that will not only save your relationship but also let you and your partner have a good night’s sleep – free of any conflicts.
What is Sleep Divorce?
Before we dive into the effects of sleep divorce on your relationship, let’s first talk about what the term actually means.
In simple terms, sleep divorce is an agreement between a couple to sleep separately, or no longer share the bed. Most couples come to this decision because of various factors – the most common being the need to improve their sleep quality, which could eventually affect their relationship quality. In fact, a survey shows that 59% of Americans agree that a sleep divorce is a good way to make their relationship better.
And let’s clarify this before moving ahead – sleep divorce does not mean legal separation; but an arrangement where both partners sleep on different beds.
Sleeping apart is a personal choice. Two people who love and respect each other deeply will understand why their partner is making this choice. Even if you get a sleep divorce, you can still spend time together in the same bed every night. It’s only when you both want to get good sleep without being bothered.
Couples usually arrive at this decision when one or both suffer from snoring issues such as sleep apnea. Loud snoring sounds can make it really difficult for the other person to sleep in the same bed as their partner. Rather than letting your snoring issues drive you away from each other permanently, it’s better to look for solutions such as a sleep divorce.
There is no right or wrong way to do it – you do whatever makes you comfortable. If you think your sleep quality can improve if you sleep in different rooms for a couple of nights, that’s okay. If you want to sleep in the same room but have separate beds, then go ahead. We recommend you do not simply follow another celebrity couple or your friends – do what makes you feel comfortable and happy.
Why Might Sleep Divorce Work for Your Relationship?
Even though it might not work for everyone, this trial of sleeping in separate rooms could give you the space you need while you enjoy the warmth and comfort of your relationship. But if you’re still not sure if sleep divorce is right for you, here are a few reasons why it might work:
- Communication With Your Partner Improves: When you have these kinds of talks with your partner, it encourages you both to say what’s on your mind in a respectful and open way. The more skillfully you can handle this kind of conflict, the better you’ll be able to handle other problems in life.
- You Get a Better Night’s Sleep: Sharing a bed with someone can make it hard to sleep. For some people, having their partner move around in bed can make it harder to fall asleep. Or affect their sleep quality. Couples can ensure they get enough sleep each night by sleeping in separate beds.
- Conflict With Your Partner Reduces: People who live on their own usually have their own sleep schedules. And when you put them together, some fights are sure to ensue, as per research. Another study found that relationship problems and sleep problems often happen at the same time. And another one discovered that couples often fight the day after one has had a sleepless night because of the other. Separate beds can help you avoid falling into arguments because of sleep.
- You Get Your Personal Space: Some people like to have their own space in the evening to think and be by themselves. Experts say that alone time is good for both people in a relationship. Couples need to spend time developing their interests and doing things they enjoy on their own. This helps them have a healthy sense of who they are outside of the relationship. If they don’t, they risk becoming too close, which usually leads to complacency and feeling like they’re not getting anything out of life.
When to Consider Getting a Sleep Divorce
You could be happily in love and still want a sleep divorce. In fact, almost 30% of American couples have talked about getting a sleep divorce at some point. However, not every one of these divorces is because of snoring. It could be because their partner takes all the blankets or the bed, tosses and turns a lot, or gets up a lot during the night. Here are some reasons why you might want to think about a sleep divorce:
- You Find Yourself Avoiding Going to Bed: You’re searching for reasons to avoid going to bed. Does it sound like something you do? Finishing some more work, reading one more chapter, or watching just one more episode. If you find yourself saying something along these lines, it’s a sign you are heading for a sleep divorce. It’s time to have a conversation with your partner and bring up the issue bugging you.
- You Rely on Sleeping Pills and Nasal Sprays: Sleeping pills for yourself and sprays for your partner – while these solutions work amazingly well in the short term, they are not sustainable. Prescription sleeping pills and over-the-counter meds can result in a range of side effects. For one, you will start depending on them. And if you stop taking them, your sleep quality and quantity will deteriorate rapidly. Plus, they are not as effective as one might think – they add less than 35 minutes to your nightly sleep. Similarly, if you are making your snoring partner use a nasal spray, it has its own set of challenges in the long-term.
- You Can’t Sleep Without Earplugs: The major reason you are sleeping with earplugs on is that you want to drown out your partner’s snores. While earplugs are a safe and affordable way to get some quality sleep, having a conversation with your partner would benefit both of you in the long term. Also, repeated use of earplugs can cause an increased build-up of earwax, which could lead to hearing difficulties or discomfort in your ears.
How to Make Sleeping Together Work
Sleep divorce might sound doable in theory, but this isn’t a decision you should make on the spot. Instead, you could go for other options that do not involve sleeping separately, such as:
- Too Much Tossing Around: If your partner moves around a lot while they sleep; try to understand the reason behind this habit. For example, sometimes, it could be as simple as them not getting enough space on the bed. Or it could be as serious as restless leg syndrome, which means experiencing discomfort to the point that they must move their legs frequently.
- Snoring: Snoring could be an indication of sleep apnea, which can be controlled with a smart device like Smart Nora that repositions your pillow on sensing your snores to help you sleep. It could also be a sign of being overweight or abusing alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs, in which case you or your partner needs to make some changes to your lives.
- Mattress Firmness: Or it could be that you and your partner have different ideas about how firm the bed should be. Fortunately, there are companies that make mattresses with different levels of firmness on each side, so that partners can adjust the bed to their own liking.
- Temperature: It’s not unusual for couples to sleep at different temperatures at night. One of them might want to turn up the heat, while the other might want to turn on the air conditioner. We’ve all been there, done that, haven’t we? Thankfully, you don’t need sleep divorce to solve this issue. You could simply invest in a temperature-regulating mattress pad. You could also put an extra blanket over the person who is cold or buy a cooling mattress so that the person who is hot can get more air flow.
If you don’t have a separate bedroom or bed space in the same room, you can both also take turns sleeping on a temporary bed set up in the living room. With this kind of agreement, it will be much easier for you to sleep well without waking up the other.
In the end, you and your partner must decide the most suitable option according to your situation, and what will work best for you.
Sleep Divorce Isn’t Always a Bad Thing
Jennifer Adams, the author of ‘Sleeping Apart, Not Falling Apart,’ says that the most important thing to make sure of before making this change is that you and your partner are on the same page. So, as long as you both know that, nothing can stop you from doing things to make your relationship better.
You may not be aware of it, but snoring disrupts your sleep so badly that you wake up hundreds of times without even realizing it. You are more prone to mood fluctuations, loss of concentration, and irritability. This ultimately results in a lack of intimacy and interpersonal bonding, and a grudge is nursed against the snoring spouse.
However, if a snoring partner seems to be a deal breaker for you, treatment for snoring and sleep apnea can be beneficial in these situations. You could also invest in a smart anti-snoring solution like Smart Nora to prevent your partner from snoring. It is a scientifically backed device that readjusts the position of your partner’s pillow as soon as it detects any snoring sounds and ensures that you and your partner get a good night’s sleep.