June 6, 2023

If sleeping with your partner is hurting your marriage, it may be time to file for a sleep separation.

Many couples get divorced by sleeping – they get their Zs in separate beds or rooms to improve their personal sleep quality.

Partners can sometimes disrupt a good night’s sleep, whether it’s snoring, hanging up a blanket, or setting an alarm earlier than your wake up time due to different schedules.

Social media users are even starting to talk about the phenomenon, with 356,400 views for the hashtag “#SleepDivorce” on TikTok.

A couple on TikTok shared that one of them is having the “biggest night’s sleep of her life” and can’t understand why the other is “sleepless” – so a sleep separation may be necessary.

“Night comes the time when we disconnect,” they shared.

And sleep experts believe that a sleep interruption can have benefits.

“There are benefits for some partners to sleep separately,” said Dr. Erin Flynn-Evans, an advisor to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, told CBS News. “Studies show that when one bed partner has a sleep disorder, it can negatively impact the other sleeper.”

“For example, bed partners often wake up at the same time when someone has insomnia. Similarly, when bed partners differ in chronotype, such as when one is a night owl and the other an early riser, these different sleep preferences can negatively impact both partners’ sleep.

However, it may be a good thing to share a bed even if your partner is showing signs of sleep disturbance, as this may be cause for concern.

Having a partner in bed can allow someone else to notice sleep patterns and detect possible conditions or sleep disturbances that you may not be aware of.

Couple are sleeping in bed, the man is stealing the comforter and the woman is angry and freezing cold
Sleep experts believe that a sleep interruption can have benefits.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

“For example, a person may report that their bed partner snores loudly, prompting them to seek treatment for sleep apnea,” Flynn-Evans said.

Flynn-Evans noted that if one partner has trouble sleeping, the solution shouldn’t be to automatically sleep in different beds.

“Couples should always seek treatment from a professional to identify sleep disorders. This is the only way to ensure that both partners get the best possible sleep, regardless of where they end up sleeping,” she insisted.

Dr. Daniel Shade, a sleep specialist at Allegheny Health Network, previously told CBS Pittsburgh that couples will know whether or not there are problems with disruption, but if there are no sleep problems, “at least sleeping in the same bed is better.”

“We release oxytocin and some other chemicals called ‘the cuddle hormones’ and things that make us feel good and bring us closer to the person that imprints us with who we are,” he explained.