Monopolizing space, snoring, hogging the pillow… Sleeping together isn't always a pleasant option. Everyone has their hobbies, mattress space is limited and, as a result, it can become a night without adequate rest. This damage sometimes raises the question: would it be better to sleep separately?
This question may or may not be verbalized. And it marks the end of the relationship. For better or for worse. It's called a “dream divorce” or sleep divorce. Its consequences can benefit the couple, by eliminating those uncomfortable moments, improving sleep quality and creating other intimate spaces.
The practice need not be linked to the couple's health. What's more: part of this growing phenomenon is due to the need to protect oneself. It was the COVID-19 pandemic that led to sleeping apart. A survey carried out in 2019 confirmed that before the outbreak of the coronavirus, the number of “sleeping divorcees” was double that of 2010. And it confirmed that 15% of couples who lived together slept separately.
But there's also something geographical about the question. A study published in 2013 revealed that in Canada, around 40% of couples slept in separate beds. And this indicates something else: it also depends on how coexistence is conceived. In Spain, as we think, separating at night could be worse.
And there are other points in favor. For example, cover everyone's needs and habits. There are those who need to sleep earlier for pleasure or for scheduling reasons. Some people prefer more or less light. And there are those who are comfortable with a different temperature. “In some relationships, one partner may be an owl while the other is a lark, leading to serious difficulties in agreeing on the same bedtime and wake-up time,” Dr. Robbins explained.
“Another case is that one member of the couple suffers from a sleep disorder, such as sleep apnea or REM sleep behavior disorder, which can be disruptive to the couple,” the specialist added. The reasons may vary, but the effects should be the same: improving rest. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that adults aged 18 to 64 sleep seven to nine hours a night to help them rest and develop the necessary dopamine.
“Two beds, zero drama”: a booming solution
“Two beds, zero drama”, they say to sum up this technique. A decision that, according to some experts, is booming. Perhaps it has something to do with living alone more or preferring certain habits. And what was once a stigma is now something to consider. It could even be a solution for the couple's long-term future, with a divorce that requires no paperwork.
There are advantages, however. Sleeping separately avoids the aforementioned inconveniences: no waking movements or annoying noises, goodbye to blanket fights, etc. Some media outlets claim that this type of behavior can increase your partner's risk of developing a sleep disorder by up to 50%.
Disadvantages of this separation
One of the most obvious disadvantages of this practice for the couple is the risk of reduced intimacy. By losing this space at the end of the day, moments of closeness may diminish. But there is a solution. Some experts say that to maintain intimacy, you need to promote other habits.
In fact, this can encourage the search for quality moments and the recovery of complicity. And, what's more, it encourages the couple to make an effort to meet each other. It also reflects whether or not the relationship is working. And what's clear is that, however this “divorce” takes place, sleep is a treasure to be cared for: it helps the body, and its lack is associated with, among other things, an increased risk of accidents, depression, weight gain and even more risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
I am a student and I am part of the editorial staff of thesilverink.com. I have the chance to enjoy writing, however, I also like to discuss all subjects and especially anything related to Science.