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Could 'sleep divorce' trend lead to stronger bonds when slumbering separately?

Societal norms might make couples believe they have to sleep together even through loud snoring, coughing and tossing — but some experts say there's a better way.
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Posted at 4:37 PM, Jun 06, 2024

Many couples who sleep together could have restless nights for various reasons, including loud snoring from a partner, tossing and turning or even body heat that becomes a disturbance.

A trend called "sleep divorce" may sound like it would carry a negative connotation, but it may actually help couples grow their bonds even stronger, some say.

The Sleep Foundation says the idea has gained popularity recently, and a survey found that about one-third of people say they regularly sleep in a different room than their romantic partner. Couples may do this because they find their sleep quality improves, they have less interruptions when they sleep, and they are able to increase the duration of their sleep — and they may find their relationship improves.

Dr. Michael Breus is a clinical psychologist who works in sleep medicine, and he says modifying how you sleep with your significant other can lead to stronger bonds because sleep is so important in life.

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"A lot of people have the tendency to think that if they sleep in the same bed together that means something about the strength of their relationship or about their level of intimacy, and nothing could be further from the truth," said Dr. Breus. "What people have to do is get past that idea that says 'I have to be sleeping exactly next to this person.'"

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine found that 33% of couples sleep separately either occasionally or consistently in another room from their partner.
Dr. Breus says it's important to take control of your sleep quality because if snoring from your partner is interrupting your sleep, it will be you losing sleep and not necessarily the person snoring, data.

Dr. Breus suggests to couples to try out what works and modify as necessary, like sleeping separately during the week and then together on the weekend. It's a little bit like having a vacation from your partner, "but only at night," he says. This will allow couples to set up the room the way they want it and have more control over aspects of comfort like temperature, lighting and bedding.