Have you ever heard of the term “sleep divorce?” For those unfamiliar, a sleep divorce happens when you and/or your partner snore, have sleep apnea or another sleep disorder and the only solution is to sleep in separate rooms. Or, perhaps there are no sleep issues and your partner and you just like your own space to get some rest.
When I got engaged, I was instantly intrigued by the term when I heard about it on The Today Show. Host Carson Daly and his wife Siri began sleep divorcing in the fall of 2019. Siri was pregnant with their fourth child, a daughter named Goldie. Carson suffered from sleep apnea and Siri was uncomfortable in her third trimester. The two would often kick each other at night and toss and turn, resulting in awful sleep.
After Goldie was born, the couple kept up their sleep divorce because Carson would need to get up at 3 a.m. to be on TV by 7 a.m. He didn’t want to wake Siri and Goldie that early, so the couple continued to sleep in separate rooms.
Carson told People in June: “We woke up and we just shook hands like, ‘I love you, but it’s time to sleep divorce. It’ll be the best thing for all of us.’”
Reading about the Dalys lessened any nerves I had about my now-husband and my decision to sleep divorce. Like Carson and Siri, we work very different schedules. He wakes up by 6 a.m. to start work at 7:30, whereas I am a freelance writer and piano teacher in the after-school hours (i.e. I make my own hours). My husband has restless leg syndrome and I often stay up later than him as I start work at a later hour.
There are great benefits to sleep divorce, like quieter and more restful sleep, improved communication, and increased opportunities for intimacy. According to mattress company Casper’s blog, navigating big decisions such as sleep divorcing “encourages you both to speak your mind in a respectful and mutually beneficial manner.”
Also, since you both won’t be sleeping together daily, it’s an opportunity to set aside time for intimacy. I look forward to Friday and Saturday nights when we make time for each other and sleep in the same bed. It’s nice to be excited about it after a long week!
“Sleep is important, intimacy is also important,” said Lisa Concepcion, certified professional life coach, dating and relationship expert. “I think people can sleep together every night and have bad, unhealthy relationships and people can sleep separately and be connected, respectful, in love and happy.”
Of course, there are some cons to sleep divorce. If you’re in a small apartment or home, there just simply may not be enough room to have one partner move to a separate room. You also may not have the means to budget for another mattress, bedding, and bed frame. Also, there are possibilities of emotional issues. Your partner and you must be positive that sleep divorcing was a mutual decision. Moving to separate rooms could create feelings of loneliness or abandonment, which could ultimately end up being negative feelings of resentment.
I have made sure to let my husband know when I start feeling lonely or a bit distanced from him. Doing so has kept up an open line of communication between us that has allowed us to continue to sleep divorce successfully.
If you’re interested in learning more about helpful tips to get a good night’s rest, here's 12 ways to start sleeping better.