Is sleeping in separate beds an omen of distancing and divorce? I believe it can be quite the opposite—it just depends on your reasons for hitting the sack solo! Sleeping separately doesn’t always signal trouble in paradise. Perfectly happy and loving couples may suffer from a lack of sleep.
A poor nights sleep can have troubling effects on your mood and relationship. When you don’t sleep well, you are more likely to be irritable, short-tempered, anxious, sad, mentally exhausted and susceptible to stress. If you’ve ever had a night of tossing and turning, you know it’s difficult to focus, be productive, and keep your eyes open the next day! These negative effects make it more likely to get into arguments and lash out at your partner.
Everyone has different sleep habits, and even if you have found your perfect match, it does not mean you and your partner are harmonious sleepers.
What sleeping challenges do couples face?
- Firmness of bed
- Temperature of room
- Finding comfortable sleeping positions
- Activities before bed (ex. reading, music, tv)
- Going to bed & waking up at different times
If you and your partner are struggling to sleep together, you may consider sleeping in separate beds. Your gut reaction may be: “We don’t have real problems,” “Doesn’t sleeping separately lead to break up/divorce?” or “The only time we have alone together is before bed.” This isn't an issue of banning your partner to the couch due to marital problems! You must distinguish between relationship issues and sleep issues. Initially, this may sound counter-intuitive, but to optimize your relationship health, you need to optimize your sleep health!
Differentiate between a sleep problem and a relationship problem.
If you are generally very happy, satisfied and content in your relationship, but sleeping is the thorn in your side, it may be time to make some changes, and sleeping in separate beds may be just what you need.
So how can you be successful in your relationship while sleeping separately?
- Make it a point to be present in the moment with your partner so that you maximize quality time and connection. Check in about your day and show you are interested by turning off the TV, putting down your phone, and getting rid of any other distractions.
- Prioritize cuddling and affection (in bed, on the couch, while making dinner) the same as you would if you were sleeping in the same bed.
- Continue to make time for “pillow talk”—you know, intimate conversation (which does not only happen after sex) when you lay next to each other and talk about your relationship.
- You can still wind down together in the same bed, but one person can retreat to his or her own room or separate bed in the same room when you’ve had your cuddle needs met.
Successful couples keep their connection strong through affection and communication. When it’s time to love each other during the day, be intimate, loving, and present. When it’s time to sleep, actually sleep! You may find yourself even happier in your relationship when you get a good night’s rest.