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Is Sleeping Separately Good for Your Relationship?

Is Sleeping Separately Good for Your Relationship?

Maybe it was his snoring. Or her blanket-hogging. Or that tossing and turning he does whenever he has a nightmare about evil clowns. Whatever it was, you’ve woken up feeling like you haven’t slept a wink all night.

If that scenario sounds familiar, you’re probably also familiar with how the rest of your day goes after a sleepless night: you’re grumpy, lethargic, and—yep, it’s not just your imagination—prone to picking more fights with your significant other. A new study recently found that even one night of bad sleep quality can increase relationship conflict the next day—the worse couples slept, the less empathy they showed towards their partner, the more negativity they felt about the relationship, the harder they found it to resolve differences, and the more selfish feelings they had.

So what are the snorers and tossers and turners of the world to do? Sleep in separate beds, according to some recent research. Banishing one person to sleep on the couch may seem like the end-result of sleep-deprived bickering, but a study from Ryerson University in Toronto claims it may actually solve your issues.

According to this study, 30 to 40 percent of couples already sleep apart (who knew?)… and they’re better off for it. Brain monitoring during sleep found that couples who share a bed don’t slip into the deep stages of sleep, whereas those who sleep apart do. Deep sleep is what helps restore your energy, boost your immune system, repair muscles and tissues, and stimulate growth and development. So constantly getting woken up by your partner during this stage can lead to feeling mentally and physically sluggish the next day.

Of course, there’s still a stigma to pulling a Lucy and Ricky Ricardo come nighttime, and some think that separate beds is a sign of a troubled relationship. But Colleen Carney, the director of Ryerson University’s Sleep and Depression Laboratory urges couples to ignore the taboo and try it if they feel they could benefit. “People can have very good and satisfying relationships sleeping apart,” Carney says. “Some people might be headed to divorce and then they actually sleep apart and find this new way to connect.”

Would you sleep in separate beds from your partner for the sake of deep sleep?

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Read more: Dating, Love, Relationships

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Diana Vilibert

Diana Vilibert is a freelance writer living in Brooklyn. You can be blog-friends with her at, or tweet her at @dianavilibert.


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7:27PM PDT on Sep 13, 2014

Thank you :)

7:53PM PDT on Aug 16, 2014

Certainly an interesting article and many different perspectives in the comments. I certainly know that many people including me who have to listen to snoring can often have a lot of trouble getting to sleep or even being wakened up from a sound slumber.

Agreed, Sarah M. Miranda L, cover hogs are certainly can be annoying, especially in the winter.

Whatever works. Some people can't be without a significant other no matter how loud they snore, while others head for a separate bed.

6:32PM PDT on Aug 16, 2014

I sleep quite well when my husband is away.

9:15PM PDT on Aug 14, 2014


8:56PM PDT on Aug 14, 2014

This is great news! I doubt 30 to 40% of couples around here sleep apart, but even if there's a place where that happens and people can understand it it's just great. I have severe sleeping problems which were made worse by having to share the bed with a partner who found sleeping in separate beds strange and a sign that I didn't love him enough. Never again! If I'm ever in a relationship again, separate beds and rooms are a non discussable requisite.

1:20PM PDT on Aug 14, 2014

I don't feel good to sleep alone with truly loved person. Thank you for the oppinion :)

4:21AM PDT on Jul 26, 2014

I'm co-sleeping with my second child and we soon came to realise that my husband doesn't sleep adequately with our bubs in bed.. I must say it felt SO VERY strange at first and we made plans to get a king bed to rectify the situation. Just waiting on finishing renovations first before we do yet in the meantime we have both gotten used to it! Think we really feel the difference it makes.. Though we are definitely still both looking forward to our new big bed and being together again.

3:24AM PDT on Aug 29, 2013

Thanks for sharing

11:22PM PDT on Aug 28, 2013

Thanks for the info! Makes me feel less guilty for wanting to sleep alone! :)

3:38AM PDT on Aug 27, 2013

Je crois que cela peut être nécessaire afin d'assurer à chacune des deux personnes la chance de mieux dormir sans craindre de déranger ou réveiller l'autre.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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