Actress Cameron Diaz was quoted this month as saying society should normalize partners and married couples sleeping in separate bedrooms. “To me, I would, I have my house, you have yours. We have the family house in the middle. I will go and sleep in my room. You go to sleep in your room. I’m fine,” Diaz said. “And we have the bedroom in the middle that we can convene in for our relations.”
There is a lot to say about sleep disorders and how lack of sleep causes a mental, physical, and emotional toll. Sometimes the answer is, as Diaz references, a sleep divorce from your partner or spouse and even, possibly, your dog.
Sleep divorce, also referred to as “sleeping apart together” or “separate sleeping,” involves couples intentionally choosing to sleep in separate beds or bedrooms. This decision is not a reflection of marital issues but rather a pragmatic approach to addressing individual sleep needs.
The Better Sleep Council supports the idea of the bedroom divorce statistically showing 1 in 4 couples sleep better at night in separate bedrooms. In a market research poll for Slumber Cloud, 46 percent of the 2,000 Americans polled wish they could sleep in another room from their partner. For some couples, this is a mutual decision where sleep does not affect the core of their relationships; for others, it is never discussed out of fear of hurting their partner’s feelings.
Wondering if a bedroom divorce is right for your relationship?
- Night owls versus early birds. Each has their own needs and a separate room may be helpful when one wants to read or watch TV and another wakes up early to work out.
- Health issues that demand a different mattress. Picking a mattress as a couple can be stressful. If one has health issues with their back or restless leg syndrome, a separate bedroom may be the answer.
- Pregnancy. There is no other way to get comfortable sometimes when pregnant so you may need to stay in a guest room until the baby arrives. Purchasing a maternity pillow may also do the trick and would require a king bed or your bed.
- Men are from Mars and women are from Venus. Each gender has different needs in the bedroom including the number of quality sleep to be a productive part of work and society.
- Poor sleep hygiene. Just like men and women have different sleep needs, people have different sleep hygiene. If your partner has experienced poor hygiene from college or has lived with roommates for years, it could be staying in the same bedroom is not in the cards for a proper night’s sleep.
- Shift work could be a reason for a bedroom divorce with 15 percent of Americans working an abnormal shift outside the normal 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. traditional day.
It could be a temporary issue that causes the bedroom divorce like PTSD or grief after the death of a loved one. In either case, seeking professional help is the first step to removing any barriers emotionally or spiritually that are hindering your sleep. But there are also some possible remedies to try as well if you are suffering from PTSD or grief.
Pets in the Bedroom
According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), less than one-half of all pet owners share their bed or bedroom even with their pets. Co-sleeping with your dog was featured in Human Nature in a study that found sharing space with your dog compares to co-sleeping with a child.
Before bringing your dog into the bedroom, there are several questions to ask yourself.
- Are you a light sleeper? Dogs are polyphasic sleepers and average three sleep/wake cycles per night whereas humans are monophasic sleepers (one period of sleep over a 24-hour cycle). If disturbance is a normal issue outside of a dog in the bedroom, co-sleeping may not be for you.
- Do you get startled easily? While sleeping, dogs stay alert for sounds which makes them lighter sleepers than their humans. This could mean a bark in the middle of the night or a growl.
- Will you stay in one position? Owners of tiny dogs need to think seriously about co-sleeping if they are heavy sleepers and move a lot at night. A tragic crushing or smothering of the dog would be traumatic for the owner.
- Are you or your dog sick? If you are already sharing a bed with your dog, make certain it is when you are both healthy. The last thing you want is an accident in your bed.
- Are you single? Two people in a bed can already be disruptive enough especially if you are newlyweds so make certain you want to add a third entity. Intimacy may be affected as well if you lock your pup out during a romantic evening. Be prepared for scratching or crying at a closed door.
- Do you leave your dog at home during the day? If the answer is no, you may want to reconsider sharing a bedroom. Your dog could develop separation anxiety if you are always together.
- How committed are you? Maybe you decide from day one that your little puppy will be sharing your comfortable, warm bed. The first few nights cuddling up to you will make it harder to transition your pup out of bed. Think first before you commit; the transition will be very hard getting your pup into a new routine.
In a world where the demands of daily life can take a toll on sleep, prioritizing rest becomes essential for individuals and couples alike. Sleep divorce offers a practical solution for couples facing sleep-related challenges, emphasizing the importance of prioritizing individual well-being to strengthen the overall relationship between two people or between pet owners and pets!
If you live in Alaska and want to see if a sleep study is right for you, contact The Alaska Sleep Clinic by clicking the link below for a free 10-minute phone call with a sleep educator who can help determine if a sleep study is necessary or if a consultation with our sleep specialist needs to be scheduled.