Home Health & Wellness One-Third of Brits Open to “Sleep Divorce” for a Better Night’s Rest

One-Third of Brits Open to “Sleep Divorce” for a Better Night’s Rest

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A recent study by bed and mattress specialists, Time4Sleep, found that just over one third of Brits are open to the idea of sleep divorce, a sleep habit that involves sleeping alone despite living with a partner in order to get a better night’s sleep. The study reveals that 1 in 5 Brits claim that they often or always sleep separately from their partner. 

Time4Sleep has previously revealed that some of the most popular reasons for sleep divorce included snoring (43%) and heat (34%). While sleep divorce may provide a practical solution to disturbances such as snoring, for many, it has become a lifestyle choice that prioritises healthy sleep routines without impacting the intimacy of a relationship. 

But while many professionals advocate for the benefits of sleep divorce, the study showed that 50% of Brits are reluctant to the idea, claiming they would never consider sleeping separately from their partner. Furthermore, it was found that men were less likely to sleep separately from their partner, with 61% claiming they never would.

For those who might be a little sceptical, resident sleep expert at Time4Sleep and NHS GP, Dr Hana Patel, shares the benefits of sleeping separately from your partner and how to approach conversations around this.

Better sleep for both partners

Dr Patel says: “Sleep divorce can lead to improved sleep quality for couples facing disruptive sleep disorders like loud snoring, sleep apnea, or night terrors. By sleeping separately, individuals can create a sleep environment that caters to their specific needs, ensuring a more restful and undisturbed night for both partners.”

Less disturbance for parents 

Dr Patel explains: “Couples with young children often experience sleep disturbances due to one parent attending to the needs of the child during the night. Sleep divorce becomes a practical solution, allowing one partner to manage parental responsibilities without interrupting the other’s sleep. 

“This individualised approach to rest ensures that both parents can address their child’s needs while still prioritising their own sleep, contributing to overall parental well-being.”

Better understanding of your partner’s needs

Dr Patel says: “A study at the University of Arizona suggests that while sharing a bed with a partner has its benefits, it may not be suitable for everyone. Sleep divorce is so popular because it acknowledges and respects individual sleep preferences and habits, allowing couples to tailor their sleep arrangements to better suit their unique needs. 

“Approaching relationships with an openness to accommodate conflicting needs nurtures an understanding and supportive relationship, as both partners prioritise their own rest without compromising the quality of their connection.”

While sleep divorce is something that could improve sleep for individuals, it may not be the right path for every couple. 

Dr Patel says: “Sleep divorce is definitely something you can consider to improve your overall sleep health. However, studies have shown that sleeping with your partner has benefits too, in fact, sleeping with your partner has been proven to make you feel calm

“Sleeping close to the person you love helps to release oxytocin (the love hormone), serotonin (contributes to wellbeing and happiness), norepinephrine (helps to regulate sleep and balance stress), vasopressin (increases sleep quality and decreases cortisol) and prolactin (which is associated with improving the immune system and improving sleep).”

“Before you settle on sleep divorce, there are other things you can try, such as the Scandinavian sleep method, which involves couples sleeping in the same bed but using two separate duvets or blankets. Two blankets can help eliminate sleep issues associated with body temperatures as well as tossing and turning.”

It can be hard to have a difficult conversation with a loved one or partner about sleep divorce, especially if they would prefer to sleep in the same bed.

Dr Patel recommends: “Approach the conversation with empathy and a focus on mutual well-being, emphasising that the decision to sleep separately is rooted in improving both individuals’ sleep quality.”

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