[dropcap]S[/dropcap]leep is nothing to mess around with—just ask the growing number of couples who are ditching the age-old idea that they need to bunk beside their mates. A survey from the National Sleep Foundation found that almost one in four married couples sleep in separate beds. Considering resting your head in another room than your spouse? Here are the top relationship benefits of being a bed hog.
1. WAKE UP HAPPIER
If you’ve been snuggling with your partner for years, you may no longer notice how hard it is to get a full night’s sleep without any interruptions. David Bennett, a certified counselor and author of seven self-help books, says partners who sleep together wake each other up six times a night on average. “This can be a result of snoring, kicking or bumping, et cetera,” says Bennett. “The health effects of a lack of sleep include an increased risk of a host of mental and physical ailments, including depression and obesity, neither of which are particularly helpful in keeping a relationship thriving.”
2. DITCH THE PRESSURE TO HAVE SEX
The default time to get down with your partner may be right before bed, but it can be especially hard to get in the mood when you’ve had a busy day or if sex seems forced because it is so routine. If your partner hasn’t made you feel wanted throughout the day, “sending the vibes when you’re ready for sleep isn’t the best approach,” says author and intimacy expert Miyoko Rifkin. “By sleeping in separate beds you avoid the risk of feeling like you’re obliged, or having to reject your partner.” Saving sexy time for your awake hours will result in “more passionate energetic encounters,” adds Rifkin.
3. LOOK AND FEEL SEXIER
Getting good quality sleep has major health benefits. “Studies show that people who don’t get enough sleep have more fat in the mid section,” says Rifkin. “Whether your partner snores or keeps you up in other ways, not getting a full night’s rest can take its toll.” By sleeping soundly (alone!) “your body will require less work to stay in shape,” says Rifkin.
4. APPRECIATE YOUR RELATIONSHIP MORE
The old cliché of “not knowing what you have till it’s gone” comes into play here. “By sleeping in separate beds, you have a better chance of prioritizing intimacy and physical touch,” says Kristie Overstreet, Ph.D., a clinical sexologist, psychotherapist, and author who helps people improve their relationships with themselves and others. “It’s not as easy as rolling over and reaching out for your partner. You put more thought into the action of seeking out your partner for intimacy. This helps you keep the physical nature of the relationship as a priority and prevents you from taking it for granted.”
5. ARGUMENTS MIGHT THIN OUT.
When sleep is interrupted or nonexistent, we can feel a bit on the edge, and when we feel like that, we tend to do and say things we don’t really mean. Overstreet says the separate bed split can make you feel less irritable and argumentative. “Sleeping solo allows you to wake up more rested and refreshed,” says Overstreet. “Uninterrupted sleep is key to decreasing irritability and mood fluctuates. This can lead to less conflict within your relationship.”
6. GET SOME ‘ME TIME.’
Even if you don’t see your partner all day, every day, sleeping in the same bed with them every single night might start to feel stale. Certified relationship coach Chris Armstrong says sleeping away from your partner gives the relationship a breather and gives you the personal space you crave. “We all need a timeout and sometimes, a good night’s sleep away from our partner gives us that,” says Armstrong. “Additionally, it can bring two people closer together. If they slept separately because one or both partners needed a timeout, they will likely embrace in the morning and think twice the next time an argument escalates to the point that another all-night time out may be in order.”
7. FIND MORE LOVE
All of us have weird things we do when we sleep, whether it’s snoring, tossing and turning, or talking in our subconscious state. Armstrong says sleeping solo can help end resentment for those things and improve communications. “This is true if one partner is a snorer or tosses and turns and the other partner has something big going on the next day,” says Armstrong. “I’ve had clients that try and sleep together regardless of this and end up resenting or arguing about the snorer/tosser costing the other person sleep. While sleeping separately should not be a permanent solution it is a needed and underused one at times.”
Jen Glantz is the brains behind the business, Bridesmaid for Hire, the heart behind the blog, The Things I Learned From, and the main character inside of the Amazon-best-selling book, All My Friends are Engaged.