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Would you consider a sleep divorce?

Men and women have different sleeping patterns. Picture: Lookstudios/freepik

Men and women have different sleeping patterns. Picture: Lookstudios/freepik

Published Jul 26, 2022

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A study published by the Library of Medicine in 2016 found that when it comes to a bed companion, men and women behave differently.

These variations in sleep patterns could be attributed to cultural norms or parenting in women, the urge for group sleep in men, and the fact that men and women typically have different nocturnal preferences and cycle phases.

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More often than not, people are now re-evaulating “normalcy” – the heteronormative ideal of sharing one bedroom in one home, to married but living apart.

They are getting the best of both worlds - all the benefits of coupledom without sacrificing individualism.

However, too little importance is attached to the link between couple sleeping and couple functioning.

While sleeping in different beds may be excellent for your sleep, it could be detrimental for your relationship. If the couple agree to sleep apart, there are several crucial steps that need to be taken to reduce some of that risk.

The fundamentals of good sleep hygiene are straightforward: try to maintain consistency while minimising distractions and maximising comfort.

But how does sharing a bed with a person, who may have their own disruptive sleep problems and irregularities, factor in sleep divorce? What should you do, then, if your relationship suffers because what's best for your sleep is in conflict with theirs?

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To prevent feeling distant from your partner, identify what brings you together and make the most of it. Picture: Freepik

There are many different sleep disorders and things that can affect our partner’s sleep or our sleep.

Some people are just light sleepers: from snoring, insomnia, getting up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, tossing and turning, or just having restless sleep, even in the absence of sleep disorders. A slight disturbance in your sleep may be the cause of your next fight.

If your partner’s sleeping habits keep you awake at night, it may be time to consider a sleep divorce.

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Twelve percent of US couples have requested a sleep divorce, and 30% have discussed it, according to a Slumber Cloud survey.

In order to avoid the risk of emotional intimacy being impacted by couples choosing to sleep apart, experts say that a bedroom is a sanctuary, a place to reconnect, and it’s important for couples to examine aspects of their lives that are inextricably linked and maximise on that.

Maybe watch a movie together – anything that makes you connected to your partner.

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