If you’re a couple, especially newlyweds, sleeping in separate rooms is regarded as taboo. Surely, if there’s nothing wrong in your relationship, you’d be sharing the same bed every night, right? Not necessarily. Although society has ingrained the idea that two partners sleeping apart is “unhealthy,” the opposite may actually be true.
Recent studies suggest around a quarter of couples do not sleep together in the same room—and there is no correlation that these people are any less happy than those who do. This is not to say that one option is better than the other, but there are plenty of reasons why even the most loving couple might spend their nights separately.
Snoring, for example, is one that immediately comes to mind, as are different sleep schedules (e.g., if someone works a night shift), or varying lifestyle habits (night owl vs. morning lark). All of these and more are completely legitimate explanations and they do not necessarily reflect the well-being of the relationship or make it a “sexless marriage.” Having said that, there’s a lot more to the story.
Sleeping Apart Can Be Harmful
It is true. Incompatible sleep schedules can harm your relationship, but not for the reasons you think. In the modern day, both spouses usually work full-time, and whatever hours are left over may be occupied by other obligations, such as kids. That often leaves “bed time” as the only time for the couple to spend together and connect. And if you’re both truly busy, you’ll likely be too exhausted at the end of the day to make anything of it.
If this sounds like your situation, then yes, sleeping apart may deprive you of what little time you have to hang out with your spouse. Hence, it’s very important to try to work out a more realistic schedule in which you spend adequate amounts of time with one another, whether it’s eating dinner together, running errands together, or something else.
Sleeping Apart Can Be Helpful
On the other hand, if you’re not missing your partner much during the day, and night time is the only time you’re apart, sleeping in separate rooms is unlikely to do anyone harm (provided that your relationship is otherwise in good standing). In fact, it can be a good thing. One study suggests that many couples prefer to spend nights with their partner even knowing it will result in poor quality rest. While this sounds sweet, it might brew problems later on.
Sleep is so important to not only one’s personal well-being but to the relationship’s well-being. Many modern couples are catching on to this—as even those without children (or the intent of having them) are seeking out two-bedroom properties at a minimum. If you think about it, it makes complete sense. You’re much more likely to get into petty fights (which can spin into bigger fights) if you’re sleep-deprived. Therefore, if your partner’s snoring, tossing and turning, or night owl habits are preventing you from getting shut-eye, you’ll both be better off snoozing in separate rooms.
Connect and Compromise
Regardless of whether you’re happy with your spouse and/or sleeping arrangements, it’s important to keep the concept of quality sleep on the radar. As mentioned previously, make sure you are spending quality time with one another during the day or pre-bedtime, being intimate on a regular basis, and keeping communication lines open. By doing so, you can sleep apart guilt-free, knowing that it may very well improve your relationship and sex life in the long run.
One issue some couples run into is stigma—especially when it comes to kids. Children are also indoctrinated with the idea that their parents should be sleeping together. If they’re not, they may believe it to be a sign that something’s wrong. In which case, it is wise to make sure your little ones know that “mommy needs her rest, and daddy’s snoring is not helping.” At a certain age, they won’t see that as abnormal at all, provided that your relationship dynamic during the day is untroubled. Having said that, it’s equally as important not to lie to children and send them mixed messages should there be actual turmoil between you two. Doing so can be harmful to them in defining a healthy relationship later on in life.
In addition, know that there’s nothing wrong with occasionally sleeping in separate rooms. You might be in a stressful period with work, have temporary insomnia, or simply don’t want to go to bed angry after a quibble. However, if this becomes a long-term issue that bothers either of you, it may be worth addressing the cause and working toward a solution.