Have you started dreading bedtime?
Maybe your spouse snores like a freight train and you’re a light sleeper. Maybe you like to wind down in the evening with a glass of wine and some quiet time with a book, but your spouse wants a television in the bedroom and turns it up until they’re out cold. Maybe you like the window open and a fan going even in the winter and your spouse feels like they’re freezing without an electric blanket.
Whatever the cause or causes, it’s clear you’re both kind of miserable – and it’s affecting not only the quality of your sleep but the quality of your relationship. It may be time to get a “sleep divorce,” or move into separate bedrooms.
Moving into separate bedrooms doesn’t mean moving on
Experts say that the benefits of a couple sleeping in separate bedrooms can heavily outweigh the drawbacks – as long as couples remember to protect their relationship and find ways to bridge the nightly distance.
That means first having an honest conversation with your spouse about the fact that neither of you can get any quality shuteye and how it’s affecting your energy levels, your emotions, your health and how you view each other. (It’s hard not to feel resentful of your partner if they’re keeping you awake every night.)
It also means taking steps to strengthen your relationship in other ways. That can include things like:
- Making time for intimacy, even if you have to plan it out in advance
- Arranging to spend some quality time together every evening, before you go to separate rooms
- Deciding when it’s appropriate to share a bedroom anyhow, whether that’s when one spouse needs extra comfort or only on weekends
Keep in mind that a “sleep divorce” isn’t supposed to be a step toward ending your marriage altogether. Instead, the goal is to find a way to improve each partner’s sleep and, as a result, the relationship. However, if you find that your sleep divorce has evolved into a lack of intimacy and a gradual shift toward separate lives altogether, it may be time to consider what’s best for your future.