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Can A ‘Sleep Divorce’ Really Save Your Relationship?

Salva Mubarak
Senior Features Writer

The pandemic has upended most of what we used to think was ‘normal’, whether it’s wearing face masks in public or not leaving the confines of your home to go to work. Another big thing that staying under a lockdown has caused, without most of us realising, is relationship fatigue.

You love your partner and their quirks but spending nearly every waking minute together has caused the previously endearing qualities to turn into grating grievances that are slowly causing your relationship to go fraught.

The most common area where this problem arises is sleeping patterns. Couples, if you sleep together in one bed you’d know that adjusting to your partner’s sleeping pattern and habits can often lead to you losing out on precious hours of sleep and vice versa. It could be anything, from snoring to their preference for the air conditioner’s temperature.

Now you don’t need any research paper to tell you how important sleep is for your health, both physical and mental. So getting proper sleep at night is necessary and you and your partner sleeping in the same bed might be hampering it.

What’s the solution then?

One of the most promising answers to this issue is ‘Sleep Divorce’.

Before you panic and throw away your phone in incredulity, read on to find out how getting a sleep divorce can actually save your relationship.

What is a Sleep Divorce?

First things first, it’s not as dramatic as it sounds. A Sleep Divorce is when a couple mutually decides to sleep in separate beds or rooms due to differences in sleep patterns and preferences that could be disrupting the quality of their sleep.

Not getting enough good quality sleep can result in short tempers and irritability. This does not bode well for cohabitating with a partner with whom a simple argument can turn into a relationship-ending fight if you’re not in the right state of mind.

Many relationship therapists have seen incredible results with couples who have gotten a Sleep Divorce as they have been able to get good quality sleep and progress in their relationship with a healthier communication style.

But not sleeping in the same bed means the relationship is on the rocks, right?

Wrong! While sleeping in the same bed has a lot of benefits, both to your health and your relationship’s intimacy levels, not sleeping in the same bed has a lot of merits too.

It is definitely a non-traditional choice, since we’re led to believe that a happy couple sleeps in the same bed and that sleeping separately is an indication of your relationship being unhealthy. But what works for you might not work for the majority of society and that’s alright.

But what about sex?

If you’re someone who falls asleep immediately after sex (not advisable, super unhealthy) or if you and your partner are into somnophilia (there’s no kink-shaming in this family as long as this is something you and your partner have discussed), then you can stick to regular sleeping patterns and adjust to your partner’s sleeping quirks. But if you and your partner have talked about getting a Sleep Divorce then you can also talk about how sex will factor into your new sleep schedules and live happily ever after.

But how do I know I want a Sleep Divorce?

Confronting the reality that you and your partner don’t want to sleep in the same bed can be daunting and would result in major issues if you don’t communicate properly with your partner. But sleeping together is not the only way to remain close to your partner and can help fight common symptoms of relationship decay: constant irritability, resentfulness, and disconnectedness.

Ok, so how do I ask for a Sleep Divorce?

Now that you’re sold on the idea of getting a Sleep Divorce from your partner, here are a few things to remember before proceeding:

  1. Trust in your relationship and remind yourself (and your partner) that sleeping apart doesn’t mean your relationship is terrible.
  2. Be gentle and considerate. Saying that you want to sleep apart because you’re not able to adjust to your partner’s snoring can seem harsh and lead to needless miscommunication.
  3. Use ‘I’ statements so that you don’t come across as accusatory.
  4. Consider some compromise. While a Sleep Divorce can be a healthy solution, if you and your partner can come to a mutual compromise that can help you both sleep better, then you can continue to sleep in the same bed.
  5. Spend time being physically intimate before bed. This doesn’t have to just mean sex. Cuddling, holding hands, fleeting touches, and spending time together can substitute for the perceived loss of intimacy while sleeping apart.

Am I ready for a Sleep Divorce?

The only way to answer that question is to have an honest conversation with your partner. So don’t be afraid to bring the issue up if it’s costing you, or them, quality sleep and see your relationship (and health) improve for good!