Sleep divorce: Sleeping in separate beds good or bad for you and your partner? - Hindustan Times

Sleep divorce: Sleeping in separate beds good or bad for you and your partner?

By, New Delhi
Jun 14, 2023 04:02 PM IST

Sleep divorce means sleeping apart from your partner. Experts say while this practice can improve sleep quality, it may also impact sexual intimacy.

Hashtag sleep divorce is one of the highly searched topics on social media websites and many partners have shared their experience on how sleeping apart have improved their sleep quality. Sleeping in separate beds has its own shares of benefits and drawbacks and considering every relationship is different from the other, one can weigh the pros and cons and do what suits them the best. Experts says 'sleep divorce' can improve sleep quality but impact relationship quality if the communication and intimacy get affected as a result of being apart at night-time. (Also read: How sleeping next to a loved one can improve your well-being)

Experts says 'sleep divorce' can improve sleep quality but impact relationship quality if the communication and intimacy get affected as a result of being apart at night-time.(Freepik)
Experts says 'sleep divorce' can improve sleep quality but impact relationship quality if the communication and intimacy get affected as a result of being apart at night-time.(Freepik)


There are times when a person is so sensitive to sound that they cannot sleep when the partner is snoring. If one partner is experiencing sleep issues and as a result tossing and turning, it may affect the sleep of the other partner as well. Partners may also have arguments over AC temperature, speed of fan or firmness of the mattress. To resolve this, sleeping in separate room and beds provides an effective solution.

"Sleep problems can significantly affect relationships. When one partner consistently experiences sleep disturbances like snoring, restlessness, or insomnia, it can lead to frustration, fatigue, and reduced emotional intimacy. Sleep divorce, or separate sleeping arrangements, has emerged as a practical approach for couples who struggle with incompatible sleep patterns, disruptive habits, or differing schedules or sleep needs. It involves creating physical boundaries to prioritize individual sleep needs while maintaining the relationship. Sleeping apart was traditionally stigmatized and associated with marital issues or failing relationships. However, the stigma is slowly dissipating as more couples embrace the notion that quality sleep is essential for overall well-being," says Dr Chandni Tugnait is M.D. (Alternative Medicines), Psychotherapist, Life Coach, Business Coach, NLP Expert, Healer, Founder & Director - Gateway of Healing.


Dr Chandni says sleep divorce can help improve sleep quality and address sleep disruptions. If one is well-rested, it also provides cognitive benefits, improved mental health as well as better relationship.

Improved sleep quality: Sleep divorce can lead to improved sleep quality for both partners. Individuals can achieve more profound, restful sleep by eliminating disturbances caused by snoring, tossing, and turning, or incompatible sleep preferences.

Customizing sleep environments: From room temperature to mattress firmness, lighting conditions to noise levels, each person can create a sleep sanctuary tailored to their needs. This personalization fosters better sleep hygiene, leading to improved rest, increased energy levels, and enhanced overall health.

Addressing sleep disruptions: Snoring, sleep apnoea, and restless leg syndrome are just a few examples of sleep disruptions that can wreak havoc on a couple's shared bed. By sleeping separately, both individuals can seek medical help or explore remedies without negatively impacting their sleep or causing resentment.

Enhanced personal well-being: Quality sleep is essential for personal well-being. Sleep divorce allows individuals to prioritize their sleep needs, leading to increased energy levels, improved mood, and enhanced cognitive function.

Improved relationship satisfaction: Paradoxically, sleep divorce can increase relationship satisfaction. By addressing sleep-related challenges, both partners can experience improved emotional connection, reduced conflicts, and increased harmony in other areas of their lives.

Drawbacks of sleep divorce

Dr Chandni says the practice may affect physical intimacy and create emotional distance if partners do not find a way to compensate for this time to connect, rejuvenate and get intimate. She lists the following drawbacks of sleep divorce:

Emotional distance: Sleeping separately from your partner may create emotional distance between partners, particularly if physical intimacy is affected. Maintaining open communication, finding alternative ways to foster emotional connection, and prioritizing quality time together are crucial.

Perception of rejection: Sleep divorce may sometimes be misinterpreted as rejection. Partners must understand that sleep divorce is about addressing sleep problems and not a reflection of love or commitment. Clear communication and reassurance can help alleviate any feelings of rejection.

Reduced opportunities for communication: Sharing a bed provides a natural opportunity for partners to communicate and connect before and after sleep. By sleeping separately, those valuable moments of communication may decrease. This reduced interaction could hinder resolving conflicts, addressing concerns, or sharing daily experiences, leading to detachment or isolation within the relationship.

Impact on sexual intimacy: Sleep and sexual intimacy often share the same physical space, and separating the two may impact sexual intimacy. The spontaneity and ease of engaging in intimate moments may diminish when partners sleep separately. It requires deliberate planning and coordination, potentially affecting the natural flow of physical intimacy and reducing the frequency of sexual encounters. Regular communication, shared activities, and intimacy-building exercises can strengthen the bond in such cases.

Potential disruption of family dynamics: Sleeping apart can have implications beyond the couple. For couples with children, sleep divorce may disrupt established family routines or create confusion for children accustomed to seeing their parents share a bed. Parents must navigate how to explain and normalize the situation to ensure that children understand and feel secure in their family dynamics.

"Sleep divorce is a practice that allows individuals to prioritize their sleep needs while maintaining their relationship. It can improve sleep quality, reduce disruptions, enhance personal well-being, and increase relationship satisfaction. However, it is essential to navigate the potential drawbacks, such as emotional distance and impacts on intimacy, through open communication and alternative ways of connecting. Each couple must find a balance that aligns with their unique needs, values, and goals to ensure a healthy and fulfilling relationship. Ultimately, the decision to pursue sleep divorce is based on individual circumstances, preferences, and the relationship's overall health," concludes Dr Chandni.

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