We see it all the time in our favourite movies and shows: at the end of the day, the happy couple snuggles together blissfully on one big, dreamy bed – the epitome of domestic harmony. But is it really? Sleeping in the same bed (or even the same bedroom) doesn’t work for everyone and snoozing separately doesn’t necessarily mean the end of romance – it might even be more common than you think.
Many Couples Sleep Apart
If you assume that the majority of couples sleep in the same bed every night, the truth may surprise you. According to a Ryerson University study, 30 to 40 per cent of couples sleep in different beds.
True or Taboo?
However, even though many couples sleep separately, few talk about it – suggesting that there’s still a sense of taboo associated with the topic. Because many people don’t discuss their sleep situation, it can be a source of stress for couples who choose to sleep as singles. But is it really bad to sleep alone?
Sleep Divorce for a Better Marriage?
If you look at the big picture, there are a number of practical reasons why a so-called “sleep divorce” could make a positive impact on – and possibly even improve – a marriage or relationship.
The Need for Better Zzzs
Sleep is critical to our health and wellbeing, but many of us don’t get enough of it – with a Statistics Canada report showing that about a third of Canadian adults don’t get the recommended amount of sleep each night. It also says that 43 per cent of men and 55 per cent of women aged 18 to 64 struggle to fall and stay asleep.
Same Bed, Same Sleep Struggles
Unfortunately, sleeping in the same bed as another person may be the source of some sleep troubles for a variety of reasons.
For the parents of infants and young children, sleep can become an elusive prize. By sleeping in separate bedrooms after baby, parents might be able to trade off on middle-of-the-night duties, allowing one parent to rest up.
Another all-to-common reason for couples to sleep separately? Misaligned wake-up times due to differing work schedules. If one person wakes up or goes to bed at a drastically different time than the other, there’s a lot of potential for accidental wake-ups – and consequently, a lot of potential for grumpy resentment. Separate bedrooms let everyone sleep during their own schedule, without disturbing their partner.
Thrashing and Clashing Sleepers
Even if you have similar sleep routines, if you’re a sleep mover, it can destroy restful time for your partner. From restless legs to tossing and turning, sometimes even a California king-sized bed won’t cut it when it comes to sleep space – and you need your own bed.
Snoring the Night Away
You can’t really help it if you snore, but you can protect your partner from chronic snore-induced sleepless nights by sleeping in separate (and hopefully soundproof) rooms.
Insomnia for One
What if one person simply can’t sleep? Insomnia or difficulty sleeping can be a big source of frustration and having an independent space to deal with it can be helpful for both partners.
Conflicting Sleep Styles
Do you like to sleep perfectly still on your back with a soft nightlight nearby, while your partner prefers to sprawl out in a pitch-black room? If you can’t agree on factors like positioning and bedroom lighting, having your own room to retire to could save your relationship.
The Right Temperature
Some people need their bedroom to be icy cold in order to sleep, while others want to feel warm and cozy heat as they drift off to sleep. Different temperature preferences can make a huge difference in individual sleep quality, but often mean different bedrooms are necessary.
For some, falling asleep to the voices of their favourite television show can be incredibly soothing – while others might not be able to doze off unless it’s completely quiet. Preferences when it comes to white noise or silence at night can lead to loud arguments, so separate bedrooms could be the solution.
Space to Let Love Grow
Do you believe in having too much of a good thing? For couples who spend a lot of time together, some space apart at night can provide an opportunity to let the heart grow fonder.
Make Time for Me Time
Sometimes, the benefit of sleeping alone can be as simple as getting some time to yourself (even if you’re dreaming). Having your own space as a sanctuary to your own tastes can be rejuvenating – leaving you a happier person to contribute more to your relationship when day breaks.
Don’t Worry if You Still Share
Still prefer to sleep beside your partner? That’s okay, too. Of course, there are many benefits to sleeping in the same bed as your loved one – things like physical closeness, intimacy and pillow talk are much easier when you’re right beside them.