Finances, division of labor and child raising are some of the most common sources of conflict in a marriage. However, one less often discussed issue – which has staggering implications on relationship success – is sleep.
Cuddling up with your spouse at night looks romantic in movies. But the reality is that many spouses simply do not sleep well together. A recent survey of Americans found that nearly one-third of respondents would prefer to sleep separately from their partner.
Prolonged sleep deprivation can impact judgment and reasoning. It can make you more irritable and reactive. It can also make you more likely to lash out at your spouse – and say things that are hard to take back later. A growing number of couples have found that a sleep divorce has given their relationship new legs.
What does a sleep divorce look like?
As the name suggests, a sleep divorce involves sleeping separately from your partner. The arrangement varies by couple. For instance, if you have to wake up early for your job Monday through Friday, and your spouse is a night owl, then sleeping separately during the week – and together on weekends – may make sense. Or you may choose to make it a full-time arrangement. The important thing is to talk to your spouse and figure out what makes sense for your situation.
Why it might be worth considering
There are any number of factors that can impact your ability to sleep. Your spouse may snore or have insomnia. They may have restless leg syndrome. You and your partner may have different temperature preferences in the bedroom. Or you may simply sleep better in your own space.
Whatever the reason, if you and your spouse are not consistently getting a good night’s rest, finding a remedy is important before it becomes damaging to your relationship.
Benefits for the relationship
Some couples reported that sleeping separately not only led to better sleep; it also gave them a chance to miss their partner and look forward to seeing them the following day. Getting solid rest also gave them more energy and improved their sexual relationship. Others reported that getting sufficient sleep improved their communication. They were in a better headspace to be able to hear each other and express their needs.
Consistent sleep deprivation can create resentment and make your marriage feel unstable. However, before you consider a divorce, it may be worth exploring other daily habit and lifestyle changes that could turn your relationship around.