For many, not sleeping in the same bed as their partner is unthinkable. They may think this is the beginning of a bad habit in their relationship, assuming that not sleeping in the same bed will create distance and impact the amount of time they spend together. Couples are expected to sleep together, unless there is a disagreement and someone is “sent to the doghouse,” the spare bedroom, or the couch. However, there has been a recent trend in research indicating it may actually be healthy for your partner and you to sleep separately.
Advantages of Sleeping Separately
Due to the stigma and shame around sleeping separately, the majority of people underestimate how sleeping separately could improve their sleep. It has been found that sleeping with someone could actually negatively impact quality of sleep. Sleeping with a partner increases the likelihood that you will be disturbed while you sleep, while you may also disturb your partner. For example, a husband who snores may wake his wife, who may be a light sleeper, frequently. This impacts her ability to sleep restfully, negatively impacting her mood throughout the next day.
You may ask, “what percentage of couples actually make a conscious decision to sleep separately?” It has been found that about 12% of married couples prefer to sleep in a separate beds, as reported by the National Sleep Foundation. This is often referred to as a “sleep divorce” and many couples report that it has tremendously improved their relationship and their sleep quality and patterns. Discussing a possible sleep divorce may decrease resentment associated to placed blame on partners due to their lack of sleep.
Is there a right way to initiate sleeping in separate beds?
If you worry that sleeping separately could cause problems in your relationship, it is important to openly talk to your partner about your concerns. Meeting with a psychologist could also help you and your partner discuss ways that sleeping separately could benefit you as an individual and the relationship with your partner. Sleeping separately does not mean no longer being intimate with each other nor spending time together before bedtime. On the contrary, it is recommended that couples spend quality time together before bedtime by having open conversations, enjoying dinner together, and being affectionate with each other. Sleeping separately could potentially improve a couples sex life, as better and more restful sleep will increase energy levels and improve overall mood.
Making the decision to sleep in separate rooms or beds is a difficult decision for many couples to make. Meeting with a professional may help guide you and your partner during this process to assure that each individual’s needs are met. Qualified psychologists at Miami Psychology Group are currently accepting new patients in the Miami and Miami Beach area. We provide individual, couples, and family therapy services.