Written by: Juliann Scholl
Updated February 26, 2021
For many people in relationships, it seems that there is a societal expectation to sleep together in the same bed, but that arrangement doesn't work for everyone. Snoring, tossing and turning, and differing temperature preferences can all pose challenges for couples seeking quality sleep.
For those who share a bed with a restless sleeper, a motion-isolating mattress can help limit some of these disruptions. However, especially for couples with differing sleep schedules, having separate beds – or even separate rooms – can help ease some of the tensions caused by disrupting each other’s sleep.
The best solution for each couple is a matter of personal preference, but choosing not to share a bed doesn’t have to mean the end of intimacy, and can in fact be beneficial to the health of both the relationship and the individuals in it.
Benefits of Sleeping Alone
Sleep is a crucially important biological process (1) during which your brain processes new information and forms memories. Sleep also impacts your mood, your metabolism, and your immune system.
If sleeping with a partner is disruptive, the consequences can be more than just feeling tired and irritable. Lack of sleep can be detrimental to your health. It can put you at higher risk for multiple health conditions, including a poor functioning immune system (2).
Some benefits of sleeping alone include:
Better Sleep Quality: Females with snoring partners have a lower quality of sleep (3) and wake up more often through the night. If you have a partner that snores, moves around a lot, or keeps a different schedule, sleeping alone may help you achieve better sleep quality.
Less Stress: Being married and sleeping alone doesn't mean there is a relationship problem. In fact, it can help reduce stress between the two of you. If you and your partner share a bed, and it's causing you to have trouble sleeping, it may create problems. Lack of sleep (4) can contribute to conflict. Getting sufficient rest can help reduce this stress, resulting in less anger and more empathy toward your partner.
Individual Bedtime Routines: Not all couples go to bed (or wake up) at the same time. Your partner may work late, stay up watching TV, or wake up before you. Differing routines can make it challenging for either person to get a full night’s rest. Sleeping alone allows you to go to bed and wake up on your own schedule.
Comfort: Couples are likely to have different sleep preferences. Sleeping alone allows you to customize the room to suit your needs. You can select your preferred mattress firmness, room temperature, and bedding. You can also choose whether to share the bed with a pet.
Staying Intimate While Sleeping Alone
Sharing a bed is one of the most intimate things a couple can do together. But research indicates that physical intimacy (5) and emotional closeness during the day may lead to a better night's sleep.
Though you may have separate beds, you can still find ways to be intimate:
- Touch each other frequently throughout the day. Not only does physical touch offer emotional benefits, it has physiological benefits as well. Touching each other throughout the day can lower cortisol levels (6) and reduce certain physical symptoms (7).
- Schedule a time for sex. While scheduling intimacy may not sound romantic, it is one way to make sure that you and your partner make time for sex. It can also give you both something to look forward to.
Sleeping alone offers couples multiple benefits. While it may seem unconventional, it can lead to less stress in your relationship and improved sleep quality.
- https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/sleep/conditioninfo Accessed on February 18, 2021.
- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4568388/ Accessed on February 18, 2021.
- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5152533/ Accessed on February 18, 2021.
- https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1948550613488952 Accessed on February 18, 2021.
- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2644899/ Accessed on February 18, 2021.
- https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18842747/ Accessed on February 18, 2021.
- https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22582337/ Accessed on February 18, 2021.