Couples Sleeping Separately: Could a Sleep Divorce Save Your Marriage?

The dynamics of couples sleeping arrangements within a romantic relationship have long been a subject of curiosity and debate. From sharing a cosy bed under the same sheets to opting to sleep separately in separate rooms, couples navigate a myriad of choices influenced by personal preferences, practical considerations, and societal norms.

According to Relationships Australia, two in five couples aren’t getting enough sleep and more than 200,000 Australian couples have chosen to sleep separately, mostly due to their partner snoring. During summer, I would wish my ex slept in a separate room. He’s a sweater. Like a faucet. He was also a bed hog.

2 in 5 couples aren’t getting enough sleep and more than 200,000 Australian couples have chosen to sleep separately. – Relationships Australia

Choosing to sleep separately is known as a ‘sleep divorce‘. It might sound bad, but will a sleep divorce actually mean the end of your relationship? We break down the pros and cons.

Couples sleeping together

Pros of co-sleeping

  1. Increased opportunity for spontaneous intimacy: Sharing the same bed often means easier access to physical closeness and intimacy, which can lead to more spontaneous sexual encounters.
  2. Enhanced emotional connection: Sleeping together can foster emotional intimacy, which can positively influence your satisfaction within the relationship.
  3. Comfort and security: The physical presence of a partner can provide comfort and a sense of security, which can contribute to a more relaxed and enjoyable sleeping experience.
  4. Mutual support: Sharing a bed allows partners to physically support and comfort each other during times of emotional or physical distress. The presence of a caring partner can provide reassurance and solace, fostering a sense of emotional security and closeness that can enhance your intimacy as a couple. Especially if you’re a cuddler.
  5. Bonding rituals: Bedtime rituals, such as cuddling, pillow talk, or simply holding hands while drifting off to sleep, can deepen the emotional connection between partners. These rituals create opportunities for intimate moments of affection and communication, reinforcing the emotional bond and strengthening the foundation for a satisfying relationship.
couples sleeping together or separately in separate rooms in a sleep divorce
Sleeping together can encourage bonding and spontaneous intimacy. Source: Bigstock

Cons of couples co-sleeping

  1. Privacy concerns: Sleeping together may limit privacy, making some individuals feel uncomfortable or inhibited.
  2. Mismatched sleeping preferences: Differences in sleep schedules or preferences can lead to uncomfortable sleep routines, potentially causing frustration or resentment.
  3. Distractions: Sharing a bed may also mean sharing a sleep space with distractions like late night readers, phones, TVs, or pets, which can interfere with relationship intimacy and REM sleep.
  4. Sleep disruption: Partners may experience disruptions to their sleep due to factors such as differing sleep schedules, snoring, or restlessness. These disturbances can lead to sleep deprivation and fatigue, which can, in turn, diminish energy throughout the day.
  5. Temperature and comfort differences: Couples may have different preferences for room temperature, bedding, or mattress firmness, leading to discomfort during sleep. These differences in comfort can create tension and frustration.
sleeping together or separately in separate rooms sleep divorce snoring
Snoring, bed hogging and sweating can affect a couple’s sleep. Source: Bigstock

Couples sleeping separately in separate rooms

Pros of a sleep divorce

  1. Enhanced focus: Sleeping in separate beds can allow each partner to focus more on their own relaxation and sleep, which can lead to increased energy and interest in sexual activity when desired.
  2. Reduced performance anxiety: Some individuals may feel less pressure or anxiety about sexual performance or their performance as a partner when they have their own space to retreat to, leading to a more relaxed and fulfilling relationship.
  3. Intentional planning: Sleeping apart may encourage couples to be more intentional about scheduling and prioritising emotional or sexual intimacy, like sexy sleepovers, leading to a deeper emotional connection and satisfaction.
  4. Independence and self-exploration: Sleeping separately allows each partner to engage in self-exploration and personal development without feeling constrained by the presence or expectations of their partner. This autonomy can lead to greater self-awareness and confidence.
  5. Reduced resentment: Sleeping apart can help prevent feelings of resentment that may arise from sleep disturbances or conflicts with the relationship. By respecting each other’s need for space and sleep, couples can mitigate potential sources of tension and maintain a healthier and more harmonious relationship dynamic.
couples sleeping together or separately in separate rooms sleep divorce sleep
Couples can sometimes get better sleep by sleeping separately. Source: Bigstock

Cons of a sleep divorce

  1. Reduced spontaneity: Sleeping in separate beds may reduce the frequency of spontaneous sexual encounters, requiring more deliberate planning and effort to initiate intimacy.
  2. Physical distance: The physical separation of sleeping apart may lead to a sense of emotional distance, which could potentially impact sexual desire and satisfaction.
  3. Logistical challenges: Coordinating schedules and finding time for emotional or sexual intimacy can be more challenging when partners sleep in separate beds, especially if they have different sleep routines or commitments.
  4. Communication barriers: Sleeping apart may create barriers to communication and emotional connection. The physical distance can hinder the ability to pick up on nonverbal cues and signals, potentially leading to misunderstandings.
  5. Decreased sense of togetherness: The act of sleeping together can symbolise unity and togetherness within a relationship. When partners sleep apart, they may miss out on the sense of closeness and connection that comes from sharing a bed, which can impact overall relationship satisfaction and sexual intimacy.

Deciding to sleep together or separately needs to be something you can both accept. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. You can choose to spend every night together, no nights together, weekends in the same bed or alternate days. It’s your relationship.

Social expectations can weigh on the mind and affect how you run your relationship. A good rule of thumb is to remember that your relationship is your relationship, and anyone who is not in it has no opinion on how you run it.

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Tina Evans is a complete introvert, an avid reader of romance novels, horror novels and psychological thrillers. She’s a writer, movie viewer, and manager of the house menagerie: three kelpies, one cat, a fish, and a snake. She loves baking and cooking and using her kids as guinea pigs. She was a teenage parent and has learned a lot in twenty-three years of parenting. Tina loves Christmas and would love to experience a white Christmas once in her life. Aside from writing romance novels, she is passionate about feminism, equality, sci-fi, action movies and doing her part to help the planet.

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