Couples who struggle getting rest may find a solution in the internet’s newest sleep fascination: sleep divorce.
Sleep divorce, meaning when couples sleep in separate beds or separate bedrooms, has been in the social media spotlight lately, with more than 350,000 videos about it on TikTok, according to the New York Post.
CBS News said reasons couples sleep in separate beds or bedrooms include disturbed sleep from snoring, different wake-up times or different nighttime preferences, like temperature or amount of light in the room.
Is sleep divorce common?
The New York Times reported 1 in 5 couples sleep in separate bedrooms, with about two-thirds of those couples doing so every night, according to a survey of 2,200 Americans conducted by the International Housewares Association.
Online sleep news outlet Sleepolis published a report on sleep divorce, noting over 1,000 tweets on the subject, 61.4% of those tweets positive.
Sleepolist reported that Utah ranked No. 35 in terms of most tweets about sleep divorce and sentiments about it. About half were positive on the topic.
What are the benefits of sleep divorce?
Experts and couples told The New York Times some benefits of sleeping in different beds or bedrooms include better sleep quality, more freedom in personal agendas and better expressed individuality.
Erin Flynn-Evans, a consultant to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, told CBS News that studies show when one companion has a sleep disorder, it can impact the other sleeper negatively.
“Similarly, when bed partners differ in chronotype, like when one is a night owl and the other is an early bird, these differing sleep preferences can negatively impact both partners’ sleep,” Flynn-Evans said.
The New York Times reported the opinions of different couples who sleep in separate beds or rooms. One said that having her own physical space helped her rediscover her individuality in hobbies or personal interests.
A caution from experts
CBS News said, “On the other hand, sleeping with your partner can help in detecting any conditions you may have been unaware of, Flynn-Evans said, as sleep clinicians use reports from bed partners to help identify patients with sleep disorders.”
Flynn-Evans told CBS News if a companion is having sleep troubles, sleeping separately should not be the solution. “Couples should always seek treatment from a professional to identify sleep disorders. This is the only way to make sure both partners will obtain the best sleep they can, no matter where they end up sleeping.”
Katherine Hertlein, a professor in the couple and family therapy program at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, told The New York Times she has doubts about sleeping divorce.
“What are you pretending not to know?” Hertlein said. “I have people say things like, ‘I moved to that other bedroom because of my back,’ and I’m like, ‘Did you? Did you?’”
Cheryl Fraser, a clinical psychologist, told The New York Times that she called the sleeping arrangement “a mild pink flag,” noting that what couples consider healthy solitude could turn into “a little bit of distance.”
The New York Times said in a survey conducted by the International Housewares Association, 50% of couples sleeping separately reported the sleeping arrangement had either no impact on the relationship or positive impact, and the other 50% “did not see the set up in such a positive light.”