I think we can all agree that sleeping is a sacred practice. When it's off, we're off. So when sleeping in bed with a partner just isn't cutting it anymore, many couples opt for sleeping in separate beds (or bedrooms), and their relationship is all the better for it.
According to a 2017 survey by the National Sleep Foundation, almost one in four couples now sleep in separate beds. And despite some outsiders thinking this is a sign of a deteriorating relationship — with some going as far as calling it "sleep divorce"— many couples are still together (and thriving) because of it.
So in order to further normalize this practice, we asked couples who sleep separately in the BuzzFeed Community to tell us why they do so, and any benefits their relationship may have gotten from it.
Here are their very valid reasons and how they've made it work:
1. "We tried the whole sleeping together thing and I honestly don't know if we'd still be together if we kept it up. I was so used to my own personal space, that accomodating to someone else's sleep needs affected my own (I MISSED MY SOUND MACHINE). It slowly crept into our relationship in an ugly way."
"I'm glad I have my own space and he's glad he has his own and we're just better off that way, there's no use in judging someone for something that works for them."
2. "We sleep in separate rooms and we love it! No one fights about not getting sleep, and yes, it is fun sneaking in his bed in the morning and trying to bang him. Might not be for everyone, but we haven’t had any emotional effects. We're closer than ever and happier than before we slept separately. 🖤"
3. "My husband snores. Not just a little bit — it's pretty much like there's a chainsaw in the room. We've tried nasal strips, special pillows, nasal sprays, elevating the bed, a C-pap machine, and ear plugs (for me). Nothing silences him. After many sleepless nights (or me ending up on the couch), we made the decision to sleep separately."
4. "My parents have slept in different rooms since we moved into the house we currently live in and that was 18.5 years ago. My parents just have completely different sleep schedules."
"My mom goes to bed early and my dad is an insomniac. My mom can’t sleep unless the radio's on, and my dad needs complete silence...They’ve been together for 30 years and married for 19 of them."
5. "My partner and I didn't really choose to and probably wouldn't if we had a choice. He started working nights and I work days. I wanted to include myself because sleeping separate when it is not by choice should not be something to fear. We make the most of the time we see each other in passing and it kind of makes the naps when we do sleep together even more special."
"We cuddle just about every day before I got to work, and then again before he does. It also doesn't affect our sex life. We make time for being physical. And I know if we go back to sleeping next to each other it will need to be another adjustment because now neither of us can keep to our side of the bed. Do whatever makes you comfortable and if you feel it brings you apart change how you spend your time together when you are awake."
6. "We have wildly different sleep schedules. He is a morning person, snores, likes the room hot, no fans, and likes to sleep with our pets. I’m a night owl, need the room cold, need a fan, hate sleeping with pets, PLUS I’m a light sleeper. Why compromise and make both of us miserable when separate rooms make both of us happy?"
7. "I'm a medical student — sleeping separately most nights for three years has been a life saver!"
"We both sleep better, no one needs to go to bed early or wake up early! We do it on days off too — I just get to lay in my bed alone and play on the internet and relax! It just doesn't make sense to sleep together more."
8. "We have had separate bedrooms for a decade. Our sleeping schedule is very different. I like a cold room, he likes it warm, I enjoy having the cats in bed with me, they're not allowed in his bedroom, I like it minimalist (bed, tv, bottle of water, and that's it) and he likes all his creature comforts within an arms length"
"...We'd definitely not be together if it wasn't for the separate bedrooms!"
9. "My husband and I occasionally sleep separately. I have GERD and between reflux and stomach issues, I have difficulty sleeping and frequent bathroom trips. He's such a light sleeper that he won't get any sleep when I'm having a rough night. I have a guest bed in my office that is next to a bathroom and I will sleep there when I'm feeling ill."
10. "My husband and I have been sleeping separately for the last four months. I wouldn't say the intimacy or our relationship has changed."
"...I have my own space and get a great quality of sleep. Sleeping by yourself is a bit like using the bathroom for me, I just want to be by myself and be relaxed 100%. Nobody else there disturbing me — me not being self conscious about snoring, etc. It works for us."
11. "Sleeping in separate rooms works great for my partner and I. We both sleep better, and we have quiet time to ourselves before bed. Intimacy is not an issue at all. I think we are both better people when we’ve had a restful nights sleep."
"And if I don’t sleep well, I only have myself to blame. People need to not worry so much about what others think regarding this. If it works for your relationship, great! There’s nothing wrong with sleeping separately."
12. "If you don't get a good night's sleep, then you don't even have the energy to have sex the next day. That's how I was anyway. Once we decided to part ways bed-wise, we feel energized, refreshed, and ready to lay it on each other constantly. Bless."
13. "My husband and I have slept in separate rooms about five days a week for the last three years. He snores something wicked, and I am a very light sleeper, so ever since we had our child, we noticed that if we sleep in the same room I get zero quality rest."
"Us sleeping in the same bed actually started hurting our marriage because I started resenting him and it caused it lot of fights. We make sure to have open communication around our sleeping arrangements, so anytime one of us misses the other we share that information and will spend the night in the same bed. It's amazing how many people think us sleeping in separate rooms is a sign our relationship is deteriorating, but our relationship has never been healthier and stronger."
14. "We sleep separately because we have a three month old son. He feeds every few hours during the night and it feels pointless for us both [to wake up]. It's helped our relationship because we don't resent each other for lack of sleep."
15. "I started a very stressful job. I knew it would be stressful and have no regrets about going for it, but I get stress-related insomnia which made sharing a bed impossible."
16. "It’s actually improved our sex life…sex doesn’t just have to be in a bed at night time! In fact, working at home during lockdown has meant we can have a quickie or a bit of afternoon delight before the childcare run. By bedtime after getting a toddler to sleep, cooking, and cleaning up, we’re too exhausted to even *think* about having sex."
17. "We moved in together pretty quickly due to a roommate issue, and my partner was feeling overwhelmed, so they asked me to set myself up in the spare bedroom. Originally, it was painful because I felt like that wasn't 'healthy.' (My parents had slept separately and not for healthy reasons). But within a week, I felt like I had more agency in my home than I ever had living with a partner before."
"We've now had the option to sleep separately for seven years. Having a space all to yourself, day or night, is incredible when you're in a partnership...Finding time apart, even when we live and work together under the same roof, has been instrumental in keeping our relationship strong and agile. I would never go back to not having the option to sleep apart!"
18. "My parents have slept in separate beds since I was kid and I used to be embarrassed by it when friends came around for sleepovers. It was only until later that I understood why that made sense for them, and how I'm the same way too. My parents have been married for over 30 years now, and I'm going on four years with my husband, and we all have spaces of our own that is exactly that, our own."
Do you also sleep separately from S.O. and feel like it's improved your relationship? Let us know in the comments below!
Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.