We share our lives and our homes with our partners — and in most cases, we also share our beds. But is sleeping in the same bed as your partner affecting your ability to get a good night’s sleep?
Tossing and turning, loud snoring, a lack of space and body heat are just some of the reasons why some couples opt to sleep separately. In fact, a recent study found that more than 200,000 Australians opt to sleep in a completely separate bedroom from their significant other.
Sleeping apart may be unconventional, but many swear by this approach. So, are separate beds better for our sleep, and how do you make the switch?
How does our bed partner affect our sleep quality?
A number of factors affect our ability to sleep soundly, including sleep environment, diet and exercise, stress levels…and our sleeping partner. If your partner snores or often gets up in the middle of the night, this can affect your ability to sleep well.
Studies into the influence of bed partners during sleep revealed that we objectively sleep worse when we share our bed with someone else. The research showed that when we experience partner disturbances on our beds, we discreetly shift as well. This is only exacerbated further if our partner snores: findings have shown that a person with obstructive sleep apnea or snoring can be responsible for up to half of their partner’s sleep disturbances.
Poor sleep quality can also affect the quality of a relationship. If our partner causes us to lose sleep, we might feel resentment for that — and when we’re grumpy from lack of sleep, we’re also quicker to lash out at our partner.
On the flipside, couples who are more in sync with their sleep patterns are more likely to be content in their relationships. A study found that couples who share the same sleep-wake cycles benefited from less conflict and greater relationship satisfaction, among other things.
So what are the benefits and drawbacks of sleeping separately? We take a look at these in detail below.
The benefits of sleeping separately
As we touched on earlier, sleeping in separate beds or separate rooms leads to less disturbance throughout the night.
Perhaps your partner is working late on a night shift and doesn’t want to wake you when they come home. Maybe you’re a light sleeper, or perhaps your partner has sleep apnea or grinds their teeth at night. Regardless of the reason, sleeping separately removes this problem from the equation altogether. You’ll experience less disturbance, which in turn will leave you feeling more energised and alert throughout the day.
Sleeping separately also allows you to tailor your sleep environment to suit you. You can set your preferred bedroom temperature and pick a mattress with the exact firmness level you prefer (whether that’s extra firm or super plush) — plus, you can stretch out across the entire bed. And if you’re more of a night owl or an early riser, you can wake up and fall asleep whenever you choose without worrying about disturbing your partner.
What are the drawbacks of sleeping separately?
However, getting a ‘sleep divorce’ does come with its drawbacks. For some couples, sleeping together provides a sense of intimacy and connection. If you sleep in separate rooms, you might lose opportunities to connect and share or, alternatively, you need to be more deliberate about creating these moments with one another.
Sleeping separately can also come with some stigma attached. While it’s perfectly reasonable to want to sleep in different spaces, you may get asked by friends and family why you’re not sharing the same bed. These questions can get tiresome, but you’ll need to get used to them if you choose to sleep apart over a sustained period of time.
Finally, it’s important to both be on the same page about sleeping separately, otherwise it may lead to problems down the line. For example, if one partner wants to sleep separately but the other isn’t happy with the decision, it could cause resentment or a breakdown in communication in the future.
Considerations to keep in mind before switching to separate beds
Ultimately, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. For some couples, separate beds may be a game-changer; but for others it’s not the right solution.
Before making the switch, here are a few things to keep in mind:
1. Figure out the root cause of your sleep issues. It’s important to address the underlying cause of any sleep disturbances, as some problems could be solved without needing to sleep apart. For example, if your partner snores, it might be worth investing in an adjustable base such as the A.H. Beard Uplift Electric Adjustable Base. This allows your partner to independently adjust their sleep angle to alleviate snoring, without the need for entirely separate beds.
2. Be deliberate about bonding with your partner. It’s entirely possible to cultivate intimacy while sleeping apart, but it requires more intentional actions from both sides. It could be that one partner joins the other for shared time in the evenings, before returning to their individual bed to sleep.
3. Try to synchronise your sleep schedule. If you’re sleeping in separate beds and sleeping at different times, it could make it harder to find time to connect with your significant other. When possible, try to keep to the same sleep-wake schedule so you don’t feel like you’re both just ships passing in the night.
4. Have an open discussion, and be willing to compromise. Above all else, it helps to have an honest discussion about your sleeping arrangement and come to your decision together. Even if you enjoy sleeping in a separate room, your partner might not feel the same way. Openly talk to one another and work together to find a solution that works for both of you.
If you’re not sure where to start, you could try:
- Sleeping separately a few nights a week to see how it feels
- Sleeping in separate beds during the week, and sleeping together on weekends
- Choosing a mattress that suits both your preferences, such as the A.H. Beard Sleep My Way mattress
Sleep your way in the same bed
With our Sleep My Way mattress, it’s possible to enjoy a restful night’s sleep without sleeping in separate beds. Sleep My Way’s innovative adjustable support core allows you to choose the firmness level on each side of the mattress with the touch of a button.
For the ultimate comfort, pair the mattress with one of our electric adjustable bed bases, such as the A.H. Beard Uplift Electric Adjustable Base. Each side of this smart bed base is independently adjustable for maximum comfort and flexibility — making it the perfect solution for couples who want to sleep independently, together.