Could a Sleep Divorce Save Your Marriage?

A happy, healthy relationship relies on two happy, healthy individuals. But if you and your partner aren’t getting the critical sleep you need, your emotional and physical health could be suffering. 

There are many reasons for this sleepless state in our current stressful landscape. Today, some couples are even admitting to sleeping separately, or taking a “sleep divorce,” to get some better shut-eye and escape their sleep incompatibilities. 

For many couples, a sleep divorce is a viable solution to their sleep quality issues, perhaps even saving their marriage from a real divorce.

A sleep divorce is not a real divorce

Unlike a legal divorce where couples separate their physical and financial lives, the only separation in a sleep divorce has to do with where and when they sleep.

Sleeping in separate rooms has improved the well-being of many couples, particularly if one person:

  • Snores or has sleep apnea
  • Suffers from insomnia
  • Is a light sleeper
  • Tosses and turns throughout the night
  • Prefers a different sleeping temperature
  • Prefers a different bedding or blanket weight
  • Has a different work schedule
  • Indulges in late-night screen time

Although it sounds unusual, sleep divorce is actually more common than you may think. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, more than one-third of married couples say they occasionally or always sleep in different rooms. 

The benefits of a sleep divorce could boost your marriage

Sleep deprivation can have an adverse effect on your health and your relationship as a whole. While the term “sleep divorce” sounds negative, it can result in some significant positives.

Flexible sleeping schedules 

Are you a night owl? Is your spouse an early riser? For couples with different work schedules, or sleep schedules, or sleep patterns, separate bedrooms allow each person to go to sleep and wake up without disturbing the other.

Personalized bedtime routines

Many married couples have their own idea of unwinding before bed. You might like to read, while your partner might like to binge-watch their favorite program. Bedtime routines can be extremely incompatible. Having separate bedrooms allows each person to unwind in their own way.

The best possible sleep environment 

Maybe you hog the bed and kick off the covers while your partner needs a frigid sleep temperature. If you sleep separately, each of you gets sufficient space, the right bedding, and the optimal sleeping temperature and conditions for a better night’s sleep. 

Fewer sleep disruptions

If you or your partner suffers from insomnia, sleep apnea, or other sleep behaviors that disturb the other, having separate bedrooms allows you to get the sleep you need without being kept awake by the other’s nocturnal behavior. 

It can create more intimacy

While it seems counterintuitive, separate bedrooms can spark more quality and intentionality in your intimate life. Instead of one partner initiating sex when the other isn’t interested, scheduling sexual encounters can add excitement and intrigue to your sex life. 

It can act as a mini separation for couples with relationship issues

A sleep divorce can also afford a separation when partners are experiencing relationship or marital issues. This arrangement allows each person space and time to work on problems without one person having to vacate the home. 

Could this method backfire?

A sleep divorce isn’t right for everyone. If it is initiated in spite or to punish the other during an argument, sleep divorce could lead to a further breakdown in the relationship, creating a sense of withdrawal between partners.

Even healthy relationship partners could chafe at the idea of sleeping separately. The fear of loneliness or disconnection may prompt some couples to tough out personal sleeping incompatibilities, even when sleeping in separate bedrooms could make sense. After a while, many couples who opt to sleep separately usually go back to sleeping together for this very reason.

Healthy ways to try a sleep divorce

If you and your spouse struggle with a lack of sleep or bedtime harmony, you may want to consider a sleep divorce to see if it would help. But approaching the subject with your partner requires some finesse. 

When discussing separate sleeping arrangements, each partner should understand that it’s being considered out of a need. It has nothing to do with a lack of love or commitment. 

The partner suggesting the arrangement could communicate that they haven’t been sleeping well and how it has affected them. Avoiding blame and criticism is essential.

Once you begin the arrangement, check in with each other more often during the day. Schedule quality cuddling time together before heading off in separate nighttime directions. Having fun planning time for extra intimacy can take the edge off any feelings of separation and help keep you feeling connected and loved.

At Hello Divorce, we know that marriage is a journey that requires constant attention. But if you and your spouse have decided to go your separate ways altogether, we are here to help with affordable online divorce plans, legal advice, and other professional services. Schedule a free phone call with an account coordinator to learn more. 

Divorce Content Specialist
Mediation, Divorce Strategy, Divorce Process, Mental Health
Candice is a former paralegal and has spent the last 16 years in the digital landscape, writing website content, blog posts, and articles for the legal industry. Now, at Hello Divorce, she is helping demystify the complex legal and emotional world of divorce. Away from the keyboard, she’s a devoted wife, mom, and grandmother to two awesome granddaughters who are already forces to be reckoned with. Based in Florida, she’s an avid traveler, painter, ceramic artist, and self-avowed bookish nerd.