There are sleepy time practices that can make sharing a bed with someone unbearable, no matter how much you love them. Maybe your partner snores like a freight train or is constantly tossing and turning — whatever the habit is, it’s messing with your ZZZs. While you and your S.O. might gasp in horror at the thought of not cuddling up together all night long, many couples have found sleeping apart from one another brings even more love and appreciation into their relationship.
This nighttime separation is commonly referred to as “sleep divorce,” and it’s something many couples have started introducing — for the better — into their relationships, according to Dr. Shelby Harris, a licensed clinical psychologist and director of sleep health at Sleepopolis. This doesn’t involve going to court or anything drastic — rather, couples who follow this practice simply choose to snooze in different rooms or beds in order to get more quality rest.
There are a number of reasons why nesting partners may choose to sleep separately, and the major benefits that can often come from this decision just might surprise you. Read on for everything to know about the practice that’s certainly not as negative as the “D” word might make it sound.
What Is Sleep Divorce?
“A sleep divorce is when a couple decides to sleep in separate beds or separate rooms due to differences in sleep patterns, habits, and preferences that are disrupting the quality of their sleep,” Harris tells Bustle. And there are more couples than you might think who choose this sleeping arrangement, says licensed marriage and family therapist and certified sex therapist Shadeen Francis. “Survey data suggests that it’s pretty common, with estimates being at least a quarter of couples sleeping separately a few times a month,” she tells Bustle. She also says, however, that because of the stigma around non-traditional sleeping arrangements, many couples aren’t exactly public about their sleep divorce — even the use of the word “divorce” in the term itself can cause feelings of shame or embarrassment.
That said, if you scroll through the hashtag #sleepdivorce on TikTok — which has over 121.6 thousand views — you’ll find that some couples are loving the lifestyle change. A few even opt to keep separate bedrooms, choosing to spend time cuddling and getting frisky together in one bed and then getting some solo shut-eye in the other.