Is sleeping apart from your partner a bad sign?

Jonathan Warren

Author: Jonathan Warren



Is sleeping apart from your partner a bad sign?

Despite what Agony Aunt columns might preach, sleeping separately from your partner might actually bring you closer together, rather than push you apart. 

Let’s face it, we’ve all been kept awake by our other half snoring from time to time, or been clocked in the head by a flailing limb on the odd occasion. There’s a lot to be said for the correlation between personal space and good rest!

So, if you’re worried about whether sleeping in separate beds might lead to divorce, fear not! We’re here to dispel the miserable myths and instead reveal some benefits of having a bedroom all to yourself.

Is sleeping in separate beds normal?

Of course it is! It was normal all the way through your childhood, teenage years and single adulthood, so why should it be weird now that you’ve fallen in love? And who’s to say you can’t sleep in the same bed if you want to, too? Sometimes social constructs start to feel a little Big Brother-esque and we think too much about what others think about our habits behind closed doors, when actually you should do what works best for you, when you want to.

In fact, research has shown that more and more couples are going to bed separately; a recent survey by the National Sleep Foundation found that one in 10 couples sleep in separate rooms, with almost one in four married couples sleeping in separate beds. So yes, it is indeed very normal! 

While the term “sleep divorce” has been bandied about, many couples who go to bed in different beds at different times have revealed it has actually saved their relationships as it has improved their quality of sleep and reduced their resentment for each other’s sleeping habits come bedtime. 

The history behind couples sleeping in the same bed

For almost a century between the 1850s and 1950s, separate beds were seen as a healthier option for modern couples as Victorian doctors warned that sharing a bed would affect sleep quality. In 1861, Dr. William Whitty Hall (author of Sleep: Or the Hygiene of the Night) stated everyone “should have a single bed in a large, clean, light room, so as to pass all the hours of sleep in a pure fresh air, and that those who fail in this, will in the end fail in health and strength of limb and brain, and will die while yet their days are not all told”. A bit dramatic from Dr. William maybe, but the point still stands – at this moment in British history, sleeping alone was considered a matter of good health.

By the 1950s however, sleeping separately fell out of fashion as high-profile figures (such as birth control advocate Marie Stopes) began to blame them for distant and failing marriages. Stopes went as far to call the twin bed set “an invention of the Devil, jealous of married bliss”. Her partner clearly didn’t suffer from sleep apnea. Nowadays, we just seem to accept the social construct of sleeping in the same bed as our loved one as a matter of fact. But in the age of TikTok fame, international lockdowns and the prospect of Trump 2024, who says we should have to follow silly made up rules? Do what’s best for you!

What are the benefits of couples sleeping separately?

While it may suit a lot of couples to sleep in the same bed, separate sleeping arrangements can work extremely well for others. If you or your partner move around a lot during the night, snore, have sleep apnea, insomnia or another sleep disorder, sleeping in different beds could be life changing for you both. Here are some of the best benefits for couples who sleep apart.

Improved sleep quality

Many different scientific research studies have found people sleep worse with a partner, with up to 50% of your nighty disturbances being caused by your bed buddy. By making your sleep a priority and sleeping in separate beds, you are statistically guaranteed to have a better sleep, away from your other half and their sleeping habits. Maybe they snore, maybe the hog the duvet, maybe they run too hot. Whatever the case may be, by sleeping apart couples can get a much better night of quality sleep and not blame their partner for any disturbances which could lead to some real resentment over time.

Better communication

Couples that sleep in different rooms are better rested. And a well-rested human means a happier, more communicative human. Improved quality of sleep from sleeping separately could lead to better communication in your relationship as irritability is reduced and you find each other feeling more empathetic and patient with each other. That’s how you maintain a good relationship!

More personal space

As human beings, we’re sociable creatures, yes – but we also need our own space. It really is imperative for our mental health. By having two separate bedrooms, you no longer have to worry about walking into dirty socks or towels on the floor, that’s their problem! Your room is your safe haven, full of your own personal favourite things where you can relax and unwind at your own pace night after night. Nobody’s saying you can’t have a sleepover.

Suits different schedules

We’ve all had an argument about when to turn the lamp off. Maybe one of you is a night owl and the other is an early bird. Maybe one of you does shift work. If your sleep-wake schedules are out of sync for whatever reason, you can inadvertently harm your partner’s (or they, yours) quality of sleep with your varying sleep schedule. By sleeping in different beds, even just during the working week, you can drastically improve both of your energy levels by not disturbing each other as you come and go. You can always have a cuddle on the weekend!

Searching for more ways to boost your sleep quality?

At Time4Sleep we are all about enhancing your sleep quality. Whether you’re looking to explore what dreams actually mean or perhaps you are debating whether to sleep with a pillow between your legs or trying to understand what you should drink before bed, our Time4Sleep blog has plenty of hints and tips on how you can get the most restorative sleep possible. You can also check out our best single beds and compact double beds for sleeping separately to start your new dreamy sleeping journey!