It’s not you, it’s me: should you consider a sleep divorce?

Whether you’re embracing the spirit of St Valentine in February or not, couples struggling to get decent shut-eye may well want to consider a sleep divorce

In films and television we’re bombarded with scenes of loving couples falling asleep wrapped up in each other’s arms. But anyone who shares a bed with their significant other knows that real life is much different.

Sleeping in the same bed can be difficult, and can often lead to neither of you getting the high quality sleep you want. That’s why more and more couples are opting to try out a sleep divorce.

But what exactly is a sleep divorce, and could it be the key to improving your slumber?

What is a sleep divorce?

Simply put, a sleep divorce is when a couple choose to go to bed in separate beds or even in separate rooms. This is done in the name of improving health and achieving a better night’s sleep.

Even high-profile figures are choosing to opt for a separated sleeping situation. Actress Gillian Anderson recently revealed that she sleeps in an entirely separate house to her husband, while celebrated US health and wellness coach, Rachel Gersten, says “one of the reasons I stay married is that I don’t have to share a bed with my husband”.

Gersten continues: “between my chronic pain and being a light sleep, and my husband’s desire to sleep much less than I do… it’s much easier for us just to sleep in separate beds.”

What are the main reasons for a sleep divorce?

In general, we’re much more conscious of our health then we used to be, and with sleep being such an important part of our overall health, it isn’t hard to understand why people are doing all they can to improve their sleep.

Sleep deprivation and poor quality sleep have been linked to a range of health concerns, including weight gain, depression, heart disease, anxiety, diabetes and poor immune response, as well as negatively impacting our memory, motivation, concentration and mood.

And the number one reason for a sleep divorce? Snoring. If one partner is struggling to sleep through the noises made by another partner, this can cause ongoing sleep issues and deeply embedded resentment.

But simple bedroom preferences can also be a factor. It might be that one partner likes the room hot while the other prefers it cold; it could be that one partner sleeps with soft lighting while another prefers total darkness; these can be grounds for a sleep divorce.

Even a difference in schedule can make a sleep divorce the logical solution. If one partner is an early riser while the other is a night owl — or if one of you works on late shifts while the other has to get up early for a job — sleeping separately can be the only way to avoid a sleep schedule which is constantly disrupted.

Can it harm relationships?

For some people, the idea of sleeping in separate rooms immediately signals alarm bells. Does it mean that the couple is growing apart?

According to experts, it depends on why you’ve separated.

If it’s for purely practical reasons like snoring, light levels or comfort, then generally speaking sleeping separately is no cause for concern. On the other hand, if the reasoning behind your separation is more emotional or simply the result of wanting less time together, it could be a sign of waning intimacy or wider relationship issues.

One 2016 study published in Chronobiology International found that sleeping in the same bed as a partner can actually have psychological benefits, including reducing stress hormones and encouraging the release of ‘feel-good’ hormones like oxytocin.

However, other research says otherwise. One 2017 study published in Psycho Neuroendocrinology found that couples who get too little sleep as a result of sharing a bed are more likely to argue and become hostile towards each other.

In the end, whether or not a sleep divorce the right course of action is a decision that should be made by each individual couple.

Sleep better for better relationships

One thing is for certain: improving your sleep quality can lead to improved mood, higher energy levels and increased motivation, which in turn can result in a happier relationship. For some, improving sleep might mean a sleep divorce, while for others it might mean compromise and making considered changes.

Experts say that the key to a successful relationship post-sleep divorce is to ensure that you still work hard to put aside time for romance and intimacy. Separate sleeping arrangements shouldn’t mean the end of affection, after all.

The benefits of Mammoth

For those couples who want to continue sharing a bed without the frustrations of a partnerwho tosses and turns, Mammoth mattresses offer the best solution. The PostureCells™ within our Medical Grade™ Foam mattresses move independently, ensuring that restlessness on one side of the bed doesn’t cause upheaval on the other.

Want something more tailored to each individual sleeper? Check out our MOVE mattress and bed – the perfect option for couples who can’t agree thanks to its motion technologies.