Is Your Partner Keeping You Up? Sleep Divorce Can Help

If your partner is keeping you up at night, it might be time to file for sleep divorce.

Taylor Leamey Senior Writer
Taylor Leamey writes about all things wellness, specializing in mental health, sleep and nutrition coverage. She has invested hundreds of hours into studying and researching sleep and holds a Certified Sleep Science Coach certification from the Spencer Institute. Not to mention the years she spent studying mental health fundamentals while earning her bachelor's degrees in both Psychology and Sociology. She is also a Certified Stress Management Coach.
Expertise Bachelor of Science, Psychology and Sociology Credentials
  • Certified Sleep Science Coach, Certified Stress Management Coach
Taylor Leamey
4 min read
Young woman sitting at the end of the bed rubbing her temples, while her partner sleeps behind her.
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Sleep divorce is a term that carries a lot of stigma, but in reality, it isn't that big of a deal --  it just means you and your partner have your own sleeping setup. Sleeping separately isn't a commentary on your relationship; it merely indicates that your sleeping needs don't align with your partner's.

Sleeping isn't a team sport, even if you're married. Recognizing when and why you're not getting enough sleep is essential for your health. Investing in separate beds might actually save your relationship. 

Are you looking for other tips to make sleeping easier with your partner? Check out how sleeping with separate blankets works, why you shouldn't sleep with your pet and how to sleep with a CPAP machine.

Why do some couples sleep in different beds?

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Sleep divorce isn't really a type of divorce and doesn't need to carry the weight of such a heavy word. Sleeping in separate beds typically happens because at least one person isn't getting quality sleep because of their partner. 

The types of sleeping arrangements will vary. For some, it may mean twin XL mattresses

in the same rooms, queen mattresses in separate rooms or investing in an adjustable mattress that gives you separation from your significant other. Choose what's best for your relationship.

Read more: The Best Mattresses for Quality Rest

Signs you might need sleep divorce:

  • Your partner snores or has sleep apnea. 
  • You wake up often because your partner rolls on top of you or hogs all the blankets.
  • You're a light sleeper and wake up when they move or get out of bed. 
  • You have different sleep schedules from your partner. 
  • Your nightly habits don't match your partner's. Maybe one partner watches TV to fall asleep or scrolls through social media at the expense of the other's ability to fall asleep.

None of the reasons indicate that you must opt for a sleep divorce. Many people manage just fine with their partner's sleeping quirks. However, it's a valid option if intermediate fixes fail and your sleep quality suffers.

Here's how sleep divorce may benefit your relationship

It can improve your sleep

Whether it be fighting over blankets, getting too hot sleeping next to them or being woken up by movement, 19% of people report that their partner is the cause of their sleep troubles.

Sleep is vital for our health. When we don't get enough sleep at night our memories, concentration and mood are compromised. Chronic sleep deprivation is associated with long-term health complications including high blood pressure, heart attacks, depression and reduced immune system functioning. 

Sleep divorce offers a way to get better sleep if your partner is the cause of your sleep troubles. By sleeping in another bed, you can use the blanket you want, choose the right mattress for you and avoid being disturbed by someone who snores or tosses and turns

Your communication can improve

Not only can sleep divorce improve your sleep quality, but it may also improve your relationship. Sleep-deprived people can be more irritable and impatient than usual, which can negatively affect their relationships. Some research suggests that sleep deprivation can lead to emotional anger that someone may take out on their significant other. By getting enough sleep, you'll be a better partner. 

There are still plenty of opportunities for intimacy 

Where there are areas to compromise, it's best to take them. If your normal nightly ritual is to talk and cuddle in bed before you fall asleep, you should do that on one of the beds. Carving out the same time for these activities ensures your partner doesn't feel like you're sacrificing quality time with them. You can sleep in separate beds and be proactive about intimacy before bed or in the morning. 

Older couple sitting bed talking while getting read for sleep.
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How to talk to your partner about sleep divorce

If your partner's sleep habits are disturbing yours, the reality is that they probably already know there's an issue. Still, bringing up sleep divorce can be tricky. But it's important to remember that sleeping in different beds doesn't mean your relationship is struggling -- it means you're putting your health needs first. 

Be gentle and bring compassion and understanding to the conversation. You both can define what sleep divorce looks like for your relationship. Maybe it's sleeping apart during the work week and coming back together on the weekend. Ultimately, there's no right or wrong way to do it -- as long as you get more sleep. 

Find out how to sleep better every night by using melatonin alternatives that don't make you groggy, eliminating night sweats and showering before bed for restful sleep.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.