Could Separate Beds Distance Couples? Scientists Answer


| LAST UPDATE 03/08/2022

By Eliza Gray
effects of sleeping apart

Whether we'd like to admit it or not, the idea of sleeping in separate beds than our partners has crossed our minds on the odd restless night. But with fears of diminished intimacy or connection and social stigma, most couples have shoved the idea to the back of their mind. But is there any truth to the concerns? Scientists have finally added their two cents to the sleeping arrangement conundrum, and here are the facts.

For starters, the social pressure certainly can't be ignored. Whether purposeful or not, co-sleeping with partners has been the social norm since the "sexual revolution" swept across America and the Western world. But interestingly enough, the opposite used to be a sign of class. Scenes from The Crown accurately portrayed the royal couple's approach to sleeping where they each had separate rooms far away from the other. That being said, a study conducted by the Sleep Foundation in 2005 found that over 60 percent of Americans were stepping into bed with their loved ones each night. And with those high stats, the term "sleep divorce" has risen to suggest the negative snowball effect of sleeping apart. But interestingly enough, co-sleeping often comes at the expense of a quality night's rest.

sleep divorce study facts
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And as scientists have observed, exhaustion can play a harmful role in a relationship. From shortened tempers to mood swings and even depression or anxiety, the impacts are numerous. Differing sleep-wake patterns or conflicting work schedules can all interfere in the bedroom, whereas there is little evidence that sleeping apart can do any harm to a relationship - it's all about how it's approached! Invested time dedicated to intimacy and open communication can bridge all of those "sleeping divorce" worries, and a good night's rest can do wonders for one's mood. If you're interested in learning more about the theories surrounding this phenomenon, you can check out Wendy Troxel's TedTalk dedicated to the topic below.

One thing's for certain - whether snuggling the night away or snoozing on your own, whatever works for your relationship works for your relationship! Be sure to check back soon for more interesting scientific concepts explored daily at!

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