‘Til sleep deficit do us part?
Incessant morning alarms and a crescendo of house-rattling snores could drive a wedge in a marriage and make it nearly impossible to catch some z’s, prompting an estimated one-third of couples to file for “sleep divorce.”
A recent survey from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine of more than 2,000 adults showed that couples are using earplugs, eye masks, silent alarms and tucking into bed at earlier or later times to accommodate each other and ensure a good night’s sleep.
But more than one-third of respondents skipped all those trappings of rest, opting instead to put a wall between themselves and the source of their wakeful woes: their spouse.
Sleeping in a separate room, otherwise known as a “sleep divorce,” is a time-honored tradition for mismatched sleeping spouses who seek to prioritize precious shut-eye — and stave off relationship resentment.
“We know that poor sleep can worsen your mood, and those who are sleep deprived are more likely to argue with their partners,” Dr. Seema Khosla, a pulmonologist and spokesperson for the AASM, said in a statement Monday.
“Getting a good night’s sleep is important for both health and happiness, so it’s no surprise that some couples choose to sleep apart for their overall well-being,” Khosla added.
When author Marcella Hill got the urge to move into her own bedroom, she thought she “was on the verge of a divorce situation” — until she realized how healing it could be.
“I did not know so many of you guys were out there just happily having your own room and that it was saving your marriage and making it even better,” she said in a video she recently shared on TikTok.
And it helps that it’s “pretty sexy to be able to invite each other over,” she noted.
Sleep divorce is buzzing on the app, with the hashtag scoring hundreds of thousands of views as husbands, wives and partners share their experiences and opinions on the unconventional sleeping arrangement.
Content creators and parents Matt and Abby Howard, who run a joint couple account on TikTok with over 5.1 million followers, stopped sleeping in the same bed after having kids.
Their newborn regularly wakes up, Abby explained in a TikTok video of her own that garnered more than 15.8 million views, and Matt has been assigned to the night shift.
“I, on the other hand, am a pretty deep sleeper, can’t sleep in and hate napping,” she said, comparing herself to her hubby, who can snooze throughout the day.
“I was super hesitant at first, but sometimes you just gotta sleep,” she added.
But viewers in the comments section were divided: Some warned ditching co-sleeping could be a precursor for a real divorce.
“Keep it temporary for sure! My parents haven’t shared a room since I can remember. Or a life for that matter. They’re ‘married,’” one user anguished.
“I did this temporary when my daughter was born and we never slept in the same room again. We just got use to it and it wasn’t the greatest idea,” another cautioned.
Not everyone was in agreement, though, as some called for normalizing the practice.
“We really need to normalize this. Nothing wrong with sleeping in different rooms,” one person wrote.
“Why is this not more normalized? it’s just very practical. if people break up doing this, it’s not because of the separate bedrooms,” another agreed.