Hate sharing a bed? You’re in luck - experts reveal sleeping separately could save your relationship

There are health benefits too which is another big win

Twin beds in a bedroom
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you hate sharing a bed with your partner but are concerned about sleeping separately, there's no need to worry - sleeping apart has health benefits and it's good for your relationship.

If you wonder how much deep sleep you're getting and constantly ask 'why am I so tired?', the chances are you aren't getting enough deep sleep at all. For some women, the 'rest gap' could be preventing enough slumber taking place - this covers the multitude of things that could be keeping mums up at night. It could also be one of the expected parts of being in a relationship that is keeping those peaceful dreams at bay - sharing a bed.

Snoring, bumping into each other, different temperature requirements, duvet stealing and illness can all lead to disrupted sleep when you share a bed. Similarly, work patterns and differing preferences in going to bed and getting up times can result in one-half or both sides of the partnership wishing they could sleep separately. Yet many worry doing this could harm their intimacy or hurt their relationship if they do it.

However, a study from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) suggests sleeping apart is more common than you think, with more than one-third of people either occasionally or consistently sleeping in another room to accommodate a bed partner. Men are most likely to go into another room and leave their partner to have the bed to themselves - 45 per cent of men reported doing this compared with 25 per cent of women.

Dr. Seema Khosla is a pulmonologist and spokesperson for the AASM. For those who worry sleeping in different beds could harm their relationship, studies indicate that people who don't get good quality sleep are more likely to experience conflict with their partners. Dr Khosla shares that achieving adequate sleep - seven to eight hours for adults - is important for healthy relationships. 

She tells AP News "It's really a question of people prioritising their sleep. I have had patients who have been married for 60 years and they swear that separate bedrooms is a reason."

"I have had patients who have been married for 60 years and they swear that separate bedrooms is a reason."

Dr Seema Khosla

Continuing to add that separate beds doesn't affect intimacy, Dr Khosla says "It’s not about avoiding intimacy. It’s about recognizing that you can have intimacy, you can have that time together, but then you just sleep apart. That's a really important part of the conversation. Both partners need to understand and agree."

With a better understanding of how your relationship can be strengthened by sleeping apart, going ahead and doing it can be beneficial if both sides feel this is the way forward. You can also feel comfortable knowing the major health benefits you'll be getting if your sleep improves as a result. 

Research shows healthy sleep is important for cognitive functioning, good mood and positive mental health, and cardiovascular, cerebrovascular, and metabolic health. It also reduces the rate of fatigue-induced accidents. On the other hand, poor sleep can result in increased risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity. 

Mum-of-two Lucy, would secretly love to sleep apart from her husband. She tells us "As soon as I started sharing a bed with my first boyfriend, I knew sleeping in the same bed as a partner wasn't for me. I need space to sleep in a certain way, don't want to be touched and I'm really easily disturbed. When I told my now husband I was really against bed-sharing, he was horrified. I kept going with it for that reason, and I still dislike it.

"If he's snoring or one of the children needs us in the night, he goes to sleep in another room either in the spare room or in the kids' rooms. The relief when he's gone is huge. I sleep so much better. I know it's important to him that we stay together, but maybe if he knows lots of people are doing it and it doesn't mean we'll eventually drift apart because of it, he might change his mind."

For more on sleep, we share how to fall asleep fast, and foods to help send you off to sleep. We also have tips for coping with lack of sleep as a parent.

Lucy Wigley
Parenting writer - contributing

Lucy is a mum-of-two, multi-award nominated writer and blogger with six years’ of experience writing about parenting, family life, and TV. Lucy has contributed content to PopSugar and moms.com. In the last three years, she has transformed her passion for streaming countless hours of television into specialising in entertainment writing. There is now nothing she loves more than watching the best shows on television and sharing why you - and your kids - should watch them.