Is Sleep Divorce a Solution for You?



“I take thee to be my wedded wife/husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death or snoring or insomnia or restless leg syndrome or sleep apnea do us part.”

In which case, a Sleep Divorce might be the best solution. 

I am not making this up. If you Google “sleep divorce,” you will find the following definition: “A sleep divorce occurs when you or your partner suffer[s] from snoring or sleep apnea and think the only solution is for you to sleep in separate rooms.” 

According to a survey from Slumber Cloud mattress manufacturers, 12 percent of American couples have “filed” for a sleep divorce, and 30 percent have discussed it.

Until recently, I would have scoffed at this idea! And perhaps you are doing the same now. 

However, as my husband of almost 25 years and I have come to learn, sometimes a solid, good night’s sleep is more valuable than snuggling!  

In fact, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends most adults get at least seven hours of sleep per night, and missing out can cause friction between you and your partner, as well as impact your health. A 2016 study found that sleep issues and relationship problems tend to occur simultaneously, and another 2013 study adds that when one partner gets a poor night’s sleep due to the other’s nighttime disturbances, it results in conflict the next day.  So, what are the signs that you and your partner should consider a sleep divorce?

Going to Bed Creates Anxiety

Do you find yourself taking care of just “one more” chore or choosing another episode or two of your favorite Netflix series? It could be that you are subconsciously delaying your bedtime. Or maybe you’re purposely going to bed much earlier than your partner in an effort to be asleep before they join you!

Your Ear Plug Collection

If your nightstand has more earplugs than books, because you’re trying to drown out the noise of your partner, it may be time to consider another way to find nocturnal peace.

Inventory Your Medicine Cabinet 

The pharmacy aisle is filled with hundreds of temporary fixes for sleepless nights. While pills temporarily put you at ease, they come with a cost. Side effects of common over-the-counter pills and sprays include headaches, vomiting, nosebleeds, dizziness, and drowsy driving, not to mention the toll they take on your pocketbook.

Your Nightly NightCap

Having a glass of wine or a couple of beers acts as a light-switch dimmer in the brain, inducing relaxation and sedation, so it’s no wonder a nightcap helps ease you into sleep. However, long-term reliance on late-night libations can cause increased risks of heart disease and cancer, and at a minimum, prompt daily fatigue.

The Boob Tube Crutch

Adding noise to drown out your partner’s snoring is probably one of the safest ways to help achieve a good night’s rest. However, leaving the TV on is up for debate. Self.com notes that the light and inconsistency in noise could have an adverse effect on the quality of your sleep.

Want to give “sleep divorce” a try? Keep one very important fact in mind: it’s not necessarily a permanent situation. You might choose to sleep solo right now because of a newborn or mismatched work schedules, but in a few weeks or months, those needs may change.

Instead of going “all in,” take a scheduled approach. Pick two nights a week, like Mondays and Thursdays, to sleep in different rooms.  W. Chris Winter, MD, Men’s Health sleep advisor and author of The Sleep Solution, says, “It works because you don’t have to make the decision every night, and it’s kind of fun to have these periods where you’re away and then reunite.”

Luckily for my husband and me, there’s a brand-new mattress in our guest room, so we can use the excuse of needing to make sure it’s comfortable for guests. I think we are going more for a “trial separation” arrangement than a full-on sleep divorce. Extra snuggles are being added throughout the day. Win-win.


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