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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?

Top 10 Sleep Mistakes & Their Solutions

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.


+ add your own
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.

6:03AM PDT on Aug 25, 2013

have for years due to snoring issues but it works for us - celebrating 40 years very soon

8:41AM PDT on Aug 24, 2013

I can see the logic here but I cannot imagine sleeping alone. As much as he wakes me up I think without him there I'd sleep even less.

8:41PM PDT on Aug 23, 2013

Of course...

6:46AM PDT on Aug 22, 2013

Thanks for sharing.

7:57PM PDT on Aug 21, 2013

My ex had sleep apnea and even though I begged him to take care of his health, never bothered to do anything about it. I took Ambien for years, even though it was bad for my health, because he didn't believe in couples sleeping apart. I finally gave up and moved into the living room so I could have a good night's sleep.
My new partner is a much more considerate person and bedmate. This week, I hurt my back and we discussed alternate sleeping arrangements so we could both get our rest. I'm glad I am now with someone who understands how important it is to get enough sleep.

4:59AM PDT on Aug 21, 2013

Sleeping seperately doesn't harm a relationship as long as it's well-balanced.

10:38PM PDT on Aug 20, 2013

After a road smash several years ago, I've been left permanently bedridden and unable to sit up. I have a bed in a corner of our lounge so I can be part of fanily life but I miss my husband of 37 years SOO much as he sleeps in a bedroom. We always shared a bed and I loathe night times. I am in too much pain to allow anyone to sleep other than my dog. Please never complain about having to share a bed; it may be taken from you one day!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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