Alanna McGinn: A Good Night's Sleep


When Couples Live Together But Sleep Apart

Is it Sleep Divorce? Or Just Sleep-Filled Nights?

AR - There are two reactions to this new sleep trend: Which side are you on?  | Health |

When the topic of sleeping in separate quarters comes up in conversation, I find you get two reactions. You will get those who recognize this as trouble in the marriage, and with headlines like “sleep divorce,” it’s no wonder that stigma exists. But then you also get the other reaction, you see eyes light up and smiles appear with the possibility of a sleep-filled night.

More and more couples are sleeping in separate rooms and it's not because they no longer love each other or their marriage is doomed. They are choosing to do so because they simply aren’t sleeping well together.

A recent survey conducting through Ryerson’s Sleep and Depression Laboratory showed that 30-40 percent of couples sleep in different beds due to better quality sleep. At times when sharing the same quarters, studies show that the movement of your partner, noises such a snoring, and having different sleep schedules can force one's brain out of deep sleep frequently throughout the night. While you still may be getting the right quantity of sleep, but the concern now is that they quality of sleep you are getting isn’t sufficient to ones health.

Am I writing this to force all partners to sleep in different rooms? Of course not. If what you are doing is working for you, and your family is able to function as a healthy family unit, then cuddle up and snooze away. But if the thought of separate rooms has crossed your mind, or better sleep overall is on your to-do list, I think it’s important to open up that conversation.

First, though, you can take some steps to better your sleep instead of making the transition to different rooms.

Create your own sleep tool kit

Earplugs and eye masks are the perfect solution at times if noise or different sleep schedules are an issue. Maybe you have a partner who snores or one that needs to wake up early in the morning to get ready for work and light prevents you from catching that extra hour of sleep.

Fact! If your partner snores frequently, it’s important not to kick them out of bed. Send them to the doctor's office instead to see if the frequent snoring isn’t a red flag for the common sleep disorder: sleep apnea.

Make it a double

Separate blankets are a must for every blanket hog. Personally, this was the best decision my husband and I ever made, besides getting married and having kids. We both like our blankets and would battle over the blankets nightly. Finally we threw in the towel and purchased our own duvets. Now there are no fights for real estate in bed, and we can still cuddle together, and then retreat to our own blankets to go to bed.

Create a sleep plan

Sleep routines in your bedroom could differ for multiple reasons. Perhaps your partner works shifts and doesn’t get home until the very early morning, or one of you is a night owl and finds it hard to go to bed when the other does. Regardless of the reasons, if you put an agreed upon plan in place, you’re likely to stay more committed to it, and therefore sleep better because of it.

If you’re usually heading up to bed later then your partner, can you perhaps aim to go to bed together at least a few nights a week? In doing so, we can have an easier bedtime for your partner and maybe even get you in a better sleep routine where now an earlier bedtime becomes more of an every night thing. Bonus! You get to spend more uninterrupted quality time with your partner.

And if sleeping in separate quarters is what will work for you and your partner, then that’s okay! Take away the stigma of a doomed marriage.

Marriages can actually flourish in this situation because now we are working with two well-rested individuals, which is always a good combo for a happy marriage. It’s not important how you spend time with your partner while you are sleeping. What’s important is how you spend time while you are awake. You can still spend quality time at bedtime together before heading to your own rooms. Join Good Night Sleep Site’s movement and #BringBackBedtime – our free resource with tips and ideas to help you and your partner connect again at bedtime.

I provide free child and family sleep support on my Facebook page. I invite you to join our sleep community as I work towards Good Night Sleep Site's mission of a healthier rested family unit. For more sleep tips please visit Good Night Sleep Site and visit me on Instagram and Twitter. Join our movement and #BringBackBedtime.

 RELATED: Does Your Relationship Need a Sleep Divorce?