When we think about couples who sleep in separate bedrooms, images from movies about failing marriages probably flash through our minds. Sleeping separately is the first step to actual separation, right? Actually, nope! For some couples, sleeping separately solves issues and improves relationship health, satisfaction and intimacy.
It’s estimated that about 1 in every 4 US couples choose to sleep in separate bedrooms. And we’re talking fully-functional, still-love-each-other couples. Yet many people are still sheepish about it, because it’s kind of like this unspoken taboo. Still, even with the bad press, more couples choose separate sleeping arrangements every year.
The Truth about Sleeping Separately from Your Partner
Life today is different, especially since many couples have spent 24/7 together since the pandemic began literally years ago. We all need a bit of alone time, and in some households that’s really difficult now. That’s just one reason having some “me time” at the end of the night and curling up alone in your bed might actually be more self-care than self-sabotage.
Many couples tend to have one dead-to-the-world sleeper who may or may not snore, and one troubled sleeper who gets frustrated (and, let’s be honest – jealous) watching their partner get the sleep that they could only dream of…if they could sleep. Choosing to sleep in different rooms means the troubled sleeper in the couple can eliminate all the outside stimuli that disturb them at night. And everybody knows a better night’s sleep = a better mood, so a separate sleep might eliminate that resentment and annoyance the troubled sleeper may feel.
Just like people have different sleep styles, people have different preferences when it comes to comfort. For couples who sleep in the same room but have different firmness or material preferences, you could always try a split king mattress. But if that doesn’t cut it, there’s nothing wrong with each of you treating yourself to a custom-made mattress created to your exact specifications. No compromises necessary.
Busting the Intimacy Myth of Sleeping Apart
Another total misconception about separate bedrooms is the whole idea that it’s the beginning of the end for intimacy. But sleeping together isn’t actually a measure of intimacy in a relationship – that’s just part of that taboo view of sleeping separately as being the death knell of relationship intimacy.
Sleep is just sleep; we literally have to do it. Biologically. Are we really going to flatten the idea of sleeping together as the only way a couple can be sleeping together? Some sleep researchers and relationship therapists argue that the exact opposite might be true for some couples. The logic is, sitting and sleeping in the same bed every night can take away the romantic idea around the bed and make it mundane. Whereas, if you’re just visiting and then get to go back to your own space, it can revitalize a couple’s view of intimate time, and their desire to have that intimate time. Plus, the whole separate bedrooms = no sex and no closeness idea hasn’t actually been researched in a scientific way; it’s just this idea our culture has created. That’s weird in itself, but what’s even weirder is that people have been sleeping in separate beds or in separate rooms, like, forever, and in way more places than just the US.
Just because you choose to sleep in different places, at different times, in different ways, doesn’t mean your relationship is broken – it just means you’ve tailored it to the way you want (just like that custom mattress you don’t have to share). Every relationship is different, and if yours is happy and healthy, who cares about those sad couples in the movies? They’re made up anyway.