Wake up to romance: The rise of sleep divorce and its surprising benefits for couples

Disclaimer: The information presented in this article is not medical advice. Readers are advised to consult professionals before following any of the suggestions mentioned.

The concept of a 'sleep divorce' might sound like a step towards marital discord; however, for many couples, it's quite the opposite.

A recent trend is gaining traction, and it's not just about getting a good night's sleep.

It's about fostering a healthier, more intimate connection with your significant other.


In a surprising twist, numerous partners are finding that sleeping in separate beds—or even separate rooms—can rekindle the romance and passion in their relationships.

For many, the idea of a 'sleep divorce' may seem unconventional. After all, the traditional image of marital bliss often includes the couple sharing a bed.

However, as we delve into the experiences of various couples who have embraced this arrangement, it becomes clear that the benefits can be substantial.


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Some couples revealed that sleeping in separate beds, known as a 'sleep divorce', improves relationships and intimacy. Credits: Shutterstock


Take Elizabeth and Ryan Pearson, for example. Now married for 16 years, they revealed that they began sleeping in separate bedrooms approximately eight years ago.

This change came about after Elizabeth realised she was ‘waking up angry at him every morning’.

Elizabeth, described Ryan, as snoring ‘like a chainsaw’ and suffering from restless leg syndrome.

She shared that he even accidentally punched her in the face one night while sleeping.

‘It was driving a rift in the relationship,’ Elizabeth admitted.

‘We both travel for work quite a bit, and we noticed that we slept great in hotels. Where we slept poorly was when we were at home in the bed together.’

She pointed out that ‘well-rested people’ are often ‘more patient, more engaged, and more present with their partners’.

‘When you have time to yourself, you can be a better partner,’ she added.

She emphasised that it has even enhanced their sexual relationship, explaining, ‘We have a great sex life because we're not pissed off at each other throughout the day for something that is uncontrollable like sleep and snoring.’


Similarly, Amy Boland and Beth Berila, who were married in 2015, discovered in 2017 that separate bedrooms helped them navigate the challenges of menopause and snoring.

‘We had spent nights together when we were dating, so it wasn't a big deal for me until Beth started having hot flashes at night,’ Amy revealed.

‘She would wake up and flop the covers off and then have trouble falling back asleep. I also snore, and that bothers her.’

Initially, Beth frequently ended up sleeping on the downstairs sofa before they opted to convert the attic into a second bedroom.

‘Sometimes she goes up there if one of us has an early morning, or she'll start out sleeping in our bedroom and something will wake her up, and she'll go up there to finish the night,’ Amy shared.

‘Either way, it's fine. If she goes upstairs, I get to hog the bed. If she doesn't, then I get to sleep next to her.’

‘Who doesn't function better when they've had a solid evening of sleep? If you could do something to get along better with the person you're roommates with for the rest of your lives, wouldn't you do it?’ she added.


Sleep experts support the idea that sleeping in separate rooms from your partner can improve both your sleep quality and your relationship.

According to a 2023 survey by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, more than one-third of American couples either occasionally or consistently sleep in separate rooms.

‘We know that poor sleep can worsen your mood, and those who are sleep deprived are more likely to argue with their partners,’ Dr Seema Khosla, a Pulmonologist and Spokesperson for the AASM said.

‘Getting a good night's sleep is important for both health and happiness, so it's no surprise that some couples choose to sleep apart for their overall well-being.’

Dr Erin Flynn-Evans, a consultant to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, echoed this statement, saying, ‘Studies demonstrate that when one bed partner has a sleep disorder, it can negatively affect the other sleeper.’

‘For example, bed partners tend to wake up at the same time when one has insomnia.’

‘Similarly, when bed partners differ in chronotype, like when one is a night owl [and] the other is an early bird, these differing sleep preferences can negatively impact both partners' sleep,’ Dr Flynn-Evans added.

Furthermore, a 2017 study by psychologists at Ohio State University found that couples experiencing poorer sleep quality tended to have more marital conflict.


In 2023, a social media creator named Siobhan gained popularity after she spoke about why she and her boyfriend, Jamie, decided to get a sleep divorce.

She explained that they used to share a bed every night, but because of their different schedules and Siobhan's sleep disorder, the couple spent many restless nights up together.

As their constant sleep deprivation continued, tension began to mount, making it difficult for the couple to communicate effectively.

To address both their sleep and relationship issues, the couple made the decision to start sleeping in separate bedrooms, which, according to Siobhan, made a significant difference.

‘We have been together for three years and for one and a half of those years, we have had our own bedrooms. We will occasionally sleep in the same bed, but for the most part, we sleep separately,’ she shared.

‘I actually got this advice from a married couple who had been married for 40 years and they were so happy, and so youthful, and so in love, and they said that sleeping separately has been such a game changer.’


A professional makeup artist named Karol, also gained attention online for discussing their decision to have a ‘sleep divorce’ from their partner, Yasmine.

‘I don't know who needs to hear this but move in with your partner but keep your own bedrooms,’ they said.

‘I am in my own bedroom right now in the same apartment as my partner and I am awake doing my skincare the way that I like it, sprawled on my bed, watching the s*** that I want to watch on YouTube, no compromising.’

‘And then if you want you can come together, but you don't have to, it's not a pre-requisite,’ they added.

The trend even caught the attention of celebrities like Cameron Diaz, who spoke out about ‘normalising’ separate bedrooms.

‘To me, I would literally—I have my house, you have yours. We have the family house in the middle. I will go and sleep in my room. You go sleep in your room. I'm fine,’ the actress, married to Benji Madden, said.

‘And we have the bedroom in the middle that we can convene in for our relations.’


As couples explore the idea of ‘sleep divorce’ and the benefits of separate beds for their relationship, it's evident that quality sleep plays a significant role in maintaining harmony within households.

However, for many seniors, staying asleep can be a challenge due to various factors impacting their rest.

Understanding these reasons can lead to better sleep hygiene and overall well-being.
Key Takeaways
  • Many couples are experiencing the benefits of sleeping in separate beds, a practice often referred to as a 'sleep divorce', which they claim improves relationships and sexual intimacy.
  • The reasoning behind the trend included snoring, different sleep schedules, restlessness, and the need for personal space, which were causing strains on relationships.
  • Experts and surveys, such as one from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, suggested that sleeping apart could improve both sleep quality and relationship health due to reduced conflict and better mood.
  • The concept of sleep divorce has been gaining traction on social media, with couples and individuals like Cameron Diaz advocating for the normalisation of separate sleeping arrangements for the sake of better sleep and relationship dynamics.
Have you and your partner tried sleeping in separate beds or rooms? What impact has it had on your relationship and intimacy? Share your experiences in the comments below.
 
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While hubby and I have several couple friends who sleep in separate rooms for various reasons we prefer to stay sleeping in the same bed for the closeness it gives us. Sometimes it can be hard to get a good nights sleep if one of us is unwell, restless or snoring, but it is not often enough at this stage to cause us any problems. Both of us like to be able to reach out and touch each other during the night as well.
 
My first and I slept in separate beds in very loving and amicable way. She was in Rotorua and I was in London, worked out very well for a number of years then when we finally lived together, we bought a water bed and unfortunately and inevitably we drifted apart?
 
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My first and I slept in separate beds in very loving and amicable way. She was in Rotorua and I was in London, worked out very well for number of years then when we finally lived together, we bought a water bed and unfortunately and inevitably we drifted apart?
Oh dear, you needed a bed with a mattress that dipped in the middle then you would have rolled together.
 
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