Sleeping Apart Could Save Your Relationship

Updated on February 20, 2018
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A freelance writer for many years, I like to explore and question everything. Especially the fascinating realm of human relationships.

Do you think that if a couple sleeps in separate beds their relationship must be in dire trouble? Apparently not. Studies by the National Sleep Foundation found that 25% of couples sleep in separate beds, and even different rooms. The National Association of Home Builders says its members are receiving more requests for dual master bedrooms and suites.

So would you consider sleeping apart if it meant you could be happier, better rested and ready to face the world every morning?

Sleeping apart, soundly. Photo by Kinga Cichewicz on Unsplash
Sleeping apart, soundly. Photo by Kinga Cichewicz on Unsplash

Sleeping Apart Can Be Good For You

Sleeping apart can actually be good for your health and good for your relationship. Sleep deprivation, poor quality sleep and insomnia are the cause of ill-health, both mental and physical. It also leads to instability in relationships and problems with parenting.

Over the last decade or so, individuals have woken up (sorry) to the fact that their quality of sleep is paramount to their performance at work and to their overall well-being. We are no longer happy to accept sub-standard levels of sleep.

Relationships improve once people make the decision to split up their sleeping arrangements as morning grumpiness is alleviated; there’s no reason to blame the other for your bad night’s sleep. Also, if one half of the couple likes to read or watch TV into the early hours, but the other likes to be snoozling by 10pm and up at 6am, they can do so without disturbing each other.

Sleeping in Separate Rooms is Not New

My grandparents, both sets, slept apart. My maternal grandparents slept in twin beds in the same room for years because my grandmother was so slightly built that she would roll onto my grandfather’s back. Later his snoring became so much of a problem she sent him off to the spare room.

My paternal grandparents slept at separate addresses, even though they never actually split up. It was a case of practicalities. They each had health issues and so my grandma was cared for by her daughter, my aunt. My granddad lived with his brother and sister and they all looked after each other.

What About the Social Stigma?

It’s certainly true that people will look at you slightly askance if you admit to sleeping separately. Yet some couples say it has enabled them to stay together — look how many say that their partner’s snoring was the cause of their break-up. When you are in separate rooms, perhaps with some soundproofing, it’s no longer an issue. Many, women in particular, say they would love to get a decent night’s sleep away from their restless partner.

Anyway, remember that your private sleeping arrangements are no-one’s business but your own.

Gotta love a bed date. Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash
Gotta love a bed date. Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Sleeping Apart is Romantic

While we all enjoy our snuggles with our partner, actually sleeping through the night is another thing. Hence it’s fun to sneak into each other’s room for romance, or plan ‘bed dates’. Then it’s so relaxing to go back to your own room and snooze peacefully - all night. No-one pulling the duvet off you, or keeping you awake with impossibly loud snoring. My own fault is that I chatter in my sleep, often loudly, telling my dog to ‘Stay!’ in my dreams. At that time, we didn’t even have a dog. Not good when my partner has to get up for work at 4am.

Disparate Schedules

And that’s another thing. Varying schedules can cause havoc with sleeping patterns. Being woken by your hubby stumbling around the bedroom in the early hours, while you’ve still go at least another three hours of blissful oblivion left is a total pain. Especially if blissful oblivion quickly recedes into ‘it’s never gonna happen, so you may as well get up.’

Personally, I often find that when I can’t sleep and my mind is busy, its the best time to get creative. So I grab my notebook and laptop and use the time to write. It’s the best way for me to download my thoughts and eventually slide into a deep sleep. I couldn’t do that if I had to consider my poor man next to me who has to get up so early.

My bed as a place to create. Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash
My bed as a place to create. Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Separate Beds? How About Separate Homes?

Living apart together (LAT) is a fairly new phenomenon, which means my grad parents must have been ahead of their time. Science Daily reports that it’s mainly older couples who choose this way of life. So what is living apart together exactly? In short, it means that a couple, even a married couple, maintains separate homes. There are various reasons:

Some say they enjoy their independence too much to give it up and say that it keeps them interested in each other because they always have things to talk about. Others have said that they want to commit to a relationship but they don’t want to have to deal with all the domestic arrangements that seem to increase (at least for one partner) when two people move in together. So they opt to keep their own homes.

It means that they split their time in whatever ways it suits them. Perhaps one partner will visit the other for dinner. Or perhaps they’ll ‘move in together’ at weekends. Perhaps they spend half the week together and then ‘split up’ for the rest.

However they do it, it means that they can avoid the daily boredom of domesticity that is often a relationship killer, thus when they do get together they can focus on each other and their relationship. Isaiah McKinney of ‘Body and Soul’ says, “Without any independence, we can become codependent and resentful of the relationship. Having our own downtime allows us to maintain our own sense of self.

Undomestic bliss. Photo by Kinga Cichewicz on Unsplash
Undomestic bliss. Photo by Kinga Cichewicz on Unsplash

Flexibility in Living Arrangements

One thing that is becoming clear is that couple dynamics are changing radically, and that just because a way of life is traditional and widely accepted, it doesn’t mean we all have to follow it. Our lives are so different to those of our forebears that we have to make relationships work in the best way for ourselves, our partners and our families.

What do you think? Could you make a relationship work if you slept or even lived apart? Does it sound like bliss or the absolute pits?

The Sleep Council: Is There Love In Sharing A Bed Or Sleeping Apart?

Questions & Answers

    © 2018 Bev G


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      • theraggededge profile image

        Bev G 3 weeks ago from Wales, UK

        I think a lot of people would, Kari :) Best of all worlds. x

      • k@ri profile image

        Kari Poulsen 3 weeks ago from Ohio

        I think I could sleep in separate rooms and also live in different houses. This idea is very interesting to me. I think I would like it.

      • threekeys profile image

        Threekeys 3 weeks ago from Australia

        Yes Bev, happy people and they made their marriage work.

      • theraggededge profile image

        Bev G 3 weeks ago from Wales, UK

        Good solution and happy people, Charmaine :)

      • threekeys profile image

        Threekeys 3 weeks ago from Australia

        Yes this can work out well. Someone I knew, and a friend in her couple's circle, both lost their spouses in tragic ways. After sometime they gravitated towards each other and decided to marry one another. The only thing was their children did not get along. So what they did to resolve it was retain their own houses and stay with each other on the weekends. And it has worked out really well for them.

        So like you, I say people's personal lives and their arrangements, is nobody's business except their own. As long as it works for them and no one is harmed-all is good.