As many of you may know, our very own Vikki Ziegler recently appeared on the Dr. Oz Show discussing the concept of a “sleep divorce”. What is sleep divorce you ask? Snoring, body heat, restless legs, wanting more space, needing the room at a certain temperature, light sleep, different schedules. These are just some of the reasons why there is a growing trend in the U.S. with “sleep divorce” and it is helping couples in more ways than you would think. Believe it or not, the British upper class have a tradition of having the royal couple sleep in separate bedrooms. Some say the theory is that you don’t want to be bothered with snoring or someone flinging a leg around when you’re trying to sleep and need to run a country the next morning. Well, it looks like the English may be on to something because “sleep divorce” has now become more and more popular, and research backs up its success by finding that couples who sleep in different beds or rooms argue less, and have a more successful and solid night’s sleep.
Nearly a third of over 3,000 Americans who participated in providing feedback on a mattress review site reported that they would like a “sleep divorce” from their partner in a situation where one person sleeps in another room or out of the home entirely. This is consistent with another survey by the National Sleep Foundation that reported almost one in four American couples already sleep in separate rooms or beds. One Los Angeles area clinical psychologist known as “The Sleep Doctor”, said he’s even encountered some couples who sleep separately during the week and together on the weekends. It makes sense when you think about how your longing for the other person comes most times on nights apart, and it gives couples a chance to miss each other and look forward to a happy reunion the next morning.
Even more telling, a study at The Sleep Disorders Center at Rush University Medical Center conducted a scientific study and were able to positively evaluate how a snoring husband can affect marital satisfaction. Think about it, we all generally have the understanding that sleep deprivation can lead to weight gain, car accidents, poor immune response, depression, heart disease, obesity, and emotional health issues just to name a few. It is even known that persons who have poor sleep habits have less appreciation for their partners, and more feelings of selfishness. A lot of times we don’t give enough importance to what a good night’s sleep can do and sleep divorce might be the answer for many of us.
Another factor behind why some couples may not find sleep divorce to be such a foreign idea is that people are getting married later in life now then they were 30-40 years ago. Human beings are creatures of habit, and if you have slept in your own bed for your entire life, sharing it with someone else from one minute to the next is a huge transition that our bodies sometimes want to fight against.
It comes off as a stigma, but the research backs up that a sleep divorce can, in fact, be the answer for those dealing with such situations where a partner inadvertently pays the price. While some experts say that this arrangement can work out for some couples, in others, it can be an indication of more serious underlying issues.
Some expert tips on how to broach the topic with your partner without creating tension are to discuss the new arrangement before taking the step towards sleeping apart, making it more about you as a couple and not why this is a solution that works for you, scheduling time together before heading to separate beds, and always making sure to express your appreciation for your partner agreeing to do this, if they were initially reluctant.
All in all, “sleep divorce” may not be for everyone, but if any of this resonated with you, it may be something to consider with your partner.