If you’ve ever been woken up by a snoring, tossing, turning, blanket-stealing partner, you’re not alone, and experts say it’s leading some couples to choose separate beds for the sake of a good night’s sleep.
According to a study by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, about one-third of couples sleep separately, at least part of the time, and it can mean a better rest and, therefore, a more harmonious relationship.
“Prioritizing our sleep as a couple and really making it a relationship goal is one of the best things you can do,” sleep researcher Wendy Troxel said.
Troxel said a good night’s rest increases empathy, patience, and other qualities that are key to a healthy and happy relationship.
Some couples may think sleeping apart means they don’t want to be close to their partner or maybe they lack intimacy in the relationship. But psychologist Syras Derksen said it’s important to determine why one or both partners may want their own space, and it’s not always a bad thing.
“Even just the fact that people talk to me about it kind of gives this feeling of, ‘Is this okay? Can we sleep separately,’” Derksen said. “Most couples aren’t trying to sleep apart to solve some sort of relationship issue. If that’s the case, that’s a very different reason to sleep apart.”
Derksen said the most common reason couples sleep apart is simply that they want better sleep. He also said the reason for sleep disruption in partners is often snoring.
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“I think most of the time, if couples are sleeping apart, you know, they’re sleeping better. Typically, it is good for your sleep to sleep alone…. Some people have trouble actually sleeping alone, but for many, it’s better in terms of the quality.”
However, the cost people pay for having a good night’s rest can be a loss of intimacy with their partner, which Derksen said can be a struggle for some.
“A lot of couples can manage it, but one of the biggest things that they miss is cuddling. (There) can be obviously a variety of things that they miss, but that’s the big one.” he said.
“So, there is a weighing that every couple has when they’re like, ‘Oh, do I really want to sleep or do I really want to kind of feel more intimate with my partner?’”
According to Troxel, there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to this topic. But if sleeping alone ultimately leads to better sleep, it’s something couples are considering.
—With files from Global’s Iris Dyck
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