Heat, snoring, insomnia… There are a thousand and one reasons for sleeping apart. And if like 10% of the French already, you tested the “sleep divorce”? You might be surprised at the benefits of sleeping apart. Explanations with Johanna Rozenblum, clinical psychologist.
Does your companion snore, take the whole duvet or is a real human hot water bottle in the summer? Sleeping together is not always restful and unfortunately a lack of sleep can affect your mental and physical health: fatigue, bad mood, weight gain, weakened immune system… And it can also damage your romantic relationship! It might be time to try having a separate bedroom to catch up on your sleep debt.
A more common practice than it seems since according to an Ifop survey, 10% of French people living as a couple sleep separately. A more widespread habit among older couples for whom the quality of sleep becomes a priority (21% of people in separate rooms are over 65 years old compared to less than 1% among the youngest). We also note that among the followers of this practice, 18% of them were separated precisely because of sleep problems.
Psychologist Johanna Rozenblum explains the reasons behind the decision to have a separate room: “Sleeping together is not comfortable for all couples, and the reasons are very personal. Staggered schedules, the need to have time to rest alone, the need to separate for a time to better find each other… Sleeping together is a social convenience, but not a necessity.“Indeed, the symbol of the marital bed is still firmly rooted in people’s minds and having a separate bedroom would be synonymous with problems for the couple. However, sleeping apart can, on the contrary, be beneficial for the relationship, provided that certain errors.
3 tips before embarking on the “sleep divorce”
First of all, it must be a mutual decision. If the change can be initiated for one of the partners, the other must also find advantages because “if the wish is not shared, the risk is that the couple will break up, leading to a form of fracture in intimacy, whether sexual or emotional” indicates the psychologist. The important thing is to question yourself well beforehand and to think about the motivations behind this initiative. “I think we need to be able to discuss this freely so that no one feels neglected or rejected. If the need to make a separate and shared room then everything is simple. On the other hand, if the need is experienced as a failure for one of the members of the couple, it could be a source of conflict or misunderstanding.“
- Start with a trial phase: try it for a few days and see the effects after a few separate nights. Do you feel more rested? Do you feel a certain excitement at the idea of sharing an intimate moment with your partner? Or, on the contrary, is the experience a source of anxiety? Listen to your needs and those of your spouse. If the experience is positive why not try a month.
- Make room for moments for two: the risk with sleeping apart is that the couple drift apart. “Being together at night is also an opportunity to confide, to discuss the day, the family” reminds Johanna Rozenblum. To compensate, you have to create time for moments of complicity. If this is not possible, perhaps this solution is not suitable for your relationship.
- Getting into this habit: There are no rules ! Having a separate bedroom can be a short-term solution (sick spouse, heat wave) as well as a long-term solution in the event of chronic sleep disorders, for example. Everyone can have their own room or only an extra bed. And then it’s not all or nothing: you can sleep every other night, or sleep separately during the week to better meet on weekends… It all depends on the needs of your couple.
What about intimate relationships?
No longer sharing the same bed every night can make couples worry about their sex lives. However, this can create lack, leave room for the imagination. And physical separation can also increase desire for your partner and be conducive to more spontaneity. We can surprise each other when we wake up or, like young lovers, sneak into each other’s rooms on certain evenings.
For many relationships, sleeping apart could put less strain on intimate relationships, especially for women. Moreover, according to a recent study, better sleep improves women’s sexuality. Another study, published in the Journal of Sex Medicine investigated the effects of lack of sleep on female libido. The researchers observed that women had more sexual desire after a good night’s sleep. So, 1 hour more sleep would increase the chances of making love the next day by 14%. Conversely, fatigue and lack of sleep lower the libido. But it’s not just sleep that boosts libido, although it plays an important role.
But if sleeping separately is for some a way to preserve seduction and desire, for others it will be quite the opposite, a form of distancing” warns the expert. In the event of underlying disorders other than sleep, it is important to communicate with your partner to identify the causes of the problem.
Thanks to Johanna Rozenblum, clinical psychologist in Paris
Source : Study on sleep disorders and the relationship of French people to their bed, Ifop, 2021 “Ifop study for Tousaulit.com carried out by self-administered online questionnaire from April 20 to 21, 2021 with a sample of 1,014 people, representative of the French population aged 18 and over”