Getting A Sleep Divorce From My Boyfriend Saved My Relationship

Ever heard of a sleep divorce? It’s a relatively new concept that might be unconventional but is actually really helpful for a lot of couples who are at their wit’s end. Frankly, with my boyfriend’s incessant snoring, I felt like I didn’t have a choice. It was either a sleep divorce or a breakup, and choosing the former meant we actually stayed together.

What is the meaning of a sleep divorce?

A sleep divorce is when a couple chooses to sleep in different beds or even in different rooms of the house so that both partners can get good, quality sleep. The reasons it may be needed vary, though loud snoring is one of the most popular. You may also need a sleep divorce if you or your partner move around too much in your sleep, you have different sleep schedules, or you prefer different conditions when you go to sleep. For instance, if you can only fall asleep with the TV on while your partner prefers silence, this could be a problem.

While it may seem strange to hear a couple in a committed relationship prefers to sleep separately, this can actually be an extremely helpful practice. Not getting enough sleep can lead to problems with concentration, lower libido, and in extreme cases, even high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke, per Cleveland Clinic.

How doing this saved my relationship

  1. Sleep divorces are now super common. According to the results of a recent study by the National Sleep Foundation, almost a quarter of married couples in the US are sleeping apart from their significant other. Mattress Clarity also discovered that 30.9% of Americans have a secret urge to file for a sleep divorce, so it’s more common than you might initially think.
  2. There are many health benefits. I’m one of those people who needs a lot of sleep to function, and not just any kind of sleep—high-quality sleep. As well as helping us to maintain a healthy weight, high-quality sleep can reduce stress and increase productivity. It’s a win, win in terms of both our mental and physical health, so sleep always has to be taken seriously.
  3. I couldn’t sleep properly for months. Anyone who’s ever slept alongside a snorer knows how disruptive they can be to your regular sleep pattern. My boyfriend isn’t just a slight snorer either—he’s a full-on walrus-style snorer. You know what? He can go all night long and it’s incredibly frustrating. I’d literally be awake all night long and feel drained and annoyed all the next day.
  4. I’m a really light sleeper. It doesn’t help that I wake up super easily at the slightest bit of noise, movement, or light coming through the window. If my boyfriend so much as breathes heavily, my eyes ping awake. It got to a point where I couldn’t carry on this way.
  5. I proposed the idea of a sleep divorce to my partner. I was constantly miserable due to a lack of sleep. My body or mind never felt very well-rested or repaired before the next morning—and it was so hard to do a full day’s work with so very little energy. Something had to change—and fast—so I told my boyfriend all about sleep divorces.
  6. He didn’t like it at first. At first, my boyfriend thought I was just trying to get away from him. I mean, to him everything was fine—because he didn’t know when he was snoring and when he wasn’t. He only saw my anguish and irritability during the day due to non-existent sleep — he never fully understood my night traumas because he was often away with the fairies. 
  7. We did a trial separation. Once I explained that the sleep divorce was purely so I could catch up on sleep, my boyfriend came around to the idea of a trial separation. Even though I really didn’t want to like it, I couldn’t deny how much better I felt once I was sleeping in a different bed to my partner. Not only could I sleep throughout the night again, but I was also back to my usual healthy, happy self during the day.
  8. There were some downsides. Even though I was catching up on those much-needed Zzzs, there were some cons to sleeping apart from my boyfriend. I mean, there’s a reason why most couples do sleep in the same bed together—it helps you feel connected, for one, and it also maintains physical intimacy. 
  9. I had to do what’s best for my healthEven though I missed being in the same bed as my partner, ultimately, I had to do what was best for me and my health. Plus, my boyfriend’s snoring was making me resent him. It put a huge strain on our relationship. Nowadays, we sleep apart most of the time unless I’m super tired and wiped out enough to think that his snoring won’t disturb me.
  10. We still maintain a physical relationship. A lot of people wonder if we still have a healthy sex life, and the answer is yes. We usually have sex and cuddle in his bed before I slink off to my own to sleep in and it works for us. We work harder to make sure that this aspect of our relationship doesn’t suffer.
  11. A sleep divorce saved us. Even though it’s not for everyone, a sleep divorce saved the day for us. Good sleep actually makes our relationship better—and that’s all that matters.
Katie Davies is a British freelance writer who has built a career creating lifestyle content that caters to the modern woman. When she's not sipping tea, shopping, or exploring a new city, you'll probably find her blogging about her fashion and travel adventures at