Does sleeping in separate beds lead to a healthy relationship?
It’s not easy to share a bed with someone, especially after spending your childhood and teen years in a twin bed with just enough room for you to toss and turn. But when you enter a relationship with another person and begin sharing a bed, you might start to miss those twin-bed days. It’s particularly frustrating when your partner is snoring, sleep talking, stealing the covers, kicking, or tossing and turning. And then, of course, different sleep schedules may mean their alarm goes off hours before your own, leaving you wide awake at 5:00 a.m. while they get ready for work.
Sleeping with someone else is an adjustment.
Through all the quirks of sleeping with your partner and learning about each other’s different sleeping habits, you may try to figure out a solution that works best for both of you without hurting the relationship. Have you ever thought about sleeping in separate beds? It seems taboo, but it might actually save your sleep, well-being, and relationship. Research has shown that sleeping with another person can have a harmful impact on sleep quality. So does that mean that sleeping in separate beds leads to a healthy relationship? We spoke with two relationship experts to learn more about this topic.
How to know when it’s time to try sleeping in separate beds
Let’s be real, when someone is tired and cranky, they’re not the most pleasant person to be around. If you find yourself getting irritated and moody because you haven’t been getting a good night’s sleep, consider the factors that cause you to stay awake at night. Is it your diet? Medical reasons? Or is your partner a snorer? When you figure out the cause of your tiredness, and it happens to be your significant other, a “sleep divorce” may be the solution for you to get proper rest and improve your relationship.
“Couples are often afraid to speak their desire of wanting separate bedrooms, but in my experience, it can be very beneficial for a relationship,” explains Martina Hughes, a love, intimacy, and relationship mentor, as well as the founder of Tantric Blossoming.
We’re all different. Some people simply can’t sleep with others, and that’s totally OK. In fact, it’s normal.
“In sleeping separately, it’s important to remember that everyone has different needs and their nervous systems require varying support. Some people will love sleeping together every night and have no issues. Other people need to feel free to take some space to recharge and support themselves,” says Hughes.
Benefits of sleeping separately
If a sleep divorce is something you might be considering, here are a few benefits of sleeping separately to help you make a decision.
A good night’s sleep
Sleeping by yourself can lead to a healthy, full night’s sleep. You don’t have to worry about the person next to you stealing the covers, snoring, or setting an early alarm. It’s just you, the bed, and your z’s.
“Sleep divorce may be taboo but it actually benefits a relationship, especially if you do it for the right reasons. People have different sleeping patterns. When you and your partner’s sleeping habits just don’t jive, that makes it hard to sleep together,” explains Celia Schweyer, a dating and relationship expert at Dating Scout.
A chance to recharge and have your own space
It’s easy to get caught up in our daily routines and challenges, which can really wear us down. Sometimes, the solution may be to sleep alone so that you can recharge the batteries. That may mean going into a separate bedroom, lighting candles, meditating, and relaxing with uninterrupted sleep.
“I believe that couples experience great benefits from sleeping separately. It provides a chance for each person to recharge and rejuvenate more deeply by sleeping without anyone else in your physical space. It can also help reignite a spark and sexual attraction by creating space,” says Hughes.
Hughes shared with us that in her practice, she notices that women, more than men, wish to have a separate sleeping space.
“I think for women with children, there is often a lack of privacy and space. So if she has that ‘me time’ a few nights a week, she’ll feel much more available for herself and the family,” says Hughes.
“When you feel like there are a lot of things going on between the two of you and you don’t have time for yourself anymore, try sleeping in separate beds and find the joy in being alone,” suggests Schweyer.
Fewer (repeated) arguments
Do you get mad at your partner for snoring? Do you get annoyed that your different schedules (for example, your partner’s night shift) lead to interrupted sleep? How many times have you had the same argument centered around the topic of sleep? It might not even be the headline of the argument, but rather an unspoken or underlying factor. You’ll notice this when you start to have the same arguments over and over again. Do something about it by experimenting with sleeping separately. It might even save the relationship.
Better sex and more appreciation for your partner
What’s that saying about absence making the heart grow fonder? Sleeping in separate beds doesn’t mean no sex. No sir. It might actually mean BETTER sex because of a stronger desire for it when your partner isn’t sleeping next to you every night.
“When you don’t share the same bed, you appreciate physical touch with your partner even more. With separate beds, you won’t be able to roll over and reach out for your partner that easily,” says Schweyer. “So sexy times will be more of a treat.”
You might begin to miss, and maybe even appreciate, your significant other more when they’re not next to you for those seven to eight hours a night. It’s kind of like a not-knowing-what-you-have-until-it’s-gone feeling.
When should sleeping in separate beds cause concern?
Remember that sleeping in separate beds should be a solution for better sleep because that equals a happier couple. But when it’s about a different factor concerning the relationship, then sleeping in separate beds should be a concern because it then becomes a replacement for communication, which we all know is the key to a healthy relationship.
“Sleeping in separate beds is a concern if people are doing it to avoid each other and if it results in diminishing, or complete loss, of sexual intimacy,” explains Hughes. “Sometimes couples will avoid each other if there are unresolved conversations, or things that feel too difficult between them to resolve, or something is not working sexually that they do not want to talk about. So if the sleeping separately becomes about distance and avoidance, then it’s an issue.”
How to bring up sleeping in separate beds without rocking the boat
The boat starts to rock the minute you begin to blame your partner or make the other person feel bad for your lack of sleep. You don’t want them to think that sleeping in separate beds means rejection or absence of attraction. Schweyer suggests a few key phrases that may help you bring up this topic to your partner.
“It is important to discuss this with your partner first to get them on board,” explains Schweyer. “Don’t put the blame on your partner if they keep you up at night. Instead, use the ‘we’ approach. Say, ‘We have different sleep patterns,’ instead of ‘You keep me up at night.’ They’ll be more receptive towards you and your suggestion. Just because you aren’t sleeping together, doesn’t mean that you are slowly growing apart. Couples deserve a proper rest too and sometimes that means sleeping in different beds.”
Try to make sleeping together a more peaceful experience with communication
“To make sleeping together feel more peaceful, take time to have the necessary conversations, resolve any differences, and make sure you go to bed feeling relaxed with your partner,” explains Hughes. “Generally, it’s the unresolved and the unspoken that can make it more challenging for people to sleep next to each other.”