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Could a sleep divorce improve or doom a struggling marriage?

On Behalf of | Mar 11, 2024 | Divorce

The idea of a sleep divorce flies in the face of what people typically expect from marriage. Joining lives usually means sharing a home and also a bedroom. Spouses typically sleep together after getting married. Sharing a sleeping space can lead to improved intimacy between spouses, but it may also sometimes be a source of conflict. Different schedules, snoring and issues with blankets can compromise sleeping. Spouses may also prefer different temperatures, light levels and degrees of quiet.

Some couples eventually agree to a sleep divorce. A sleep divorce does not mean making any legal changes to a marital relationship but instead simply agreeing to sleep in separate bedrooms. Sleep divorce has become an emerging trend in recent years, with many people embracing the idea of maintaining separate bedrooms for improved sleep hygiene. Others worry about disrupting the intimacy of the marital relationship.

Does a sleep divorce have the potential to resolve marital issues, or does it exacerbate existing damage to a marriage?

Sleep divorce can be beneficial for some, not others

Researchers at the University of Michigan have determined that sleep divorces often have a net positive impact on married couples where sleep issues have arisen. The reason is simple. The quality and duration of someone’s sleep have a major impact on their overall daily lived experience.

If one spouse is a light sleeper and wakes up consistently when their partner snores or rolls over at night, the frequent disruptions to their sleep could affect their mood. Over a long enough time, sleep issues could affect someone’s mental health and even their physical health. Sleep challenges can cause intense resentment between spouses.

In scenarios where sleep issues are the driving factor behind marital stress, the decision to begin sleeping separately could have a major impact on the quality of the marital relationship. However, not all spouses find that sleeping separately leads to improved relationships. Sometimes, one spouse uses that extra space to cover up infidelity. Other times, the decision to sleep separately leads spouses to the painful realization that the issues with their relationship go beyond sleep challenges.

Ultimately, every marriage is different and every “sleep divorce” is going to evolve differently as a result. Therefore, some marriages may benefit significantly from this course of action and others could inspire spouses to learn more about what’s involved in a legal divorce filing.


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