What Is A Sleep Divorce And Will It Help Your Relationship?

Let's be honest: having to share a bed with someone isn't always a picnic. From a partner's snoring or teeth grinding to their tossing and turning to their talking in their sleep or their inability to stay on their side of the bed, sleeping with someone, even if you love them, can sometimes be aggravating.

While you may not think that losing some shut-eye over the fact that you're unable to get through the night because you're sharing a bed with your partner is a big deal, the reality is that a proper night's sleep is paramount to our physical and mental health. Sleep deprivation can lead to high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular-related issues, and depression, and it can even mess with your libido and immune system (via the Cleveland Clinic).

"It's really important that couples recognize that we spend about one-third of our lives asleep," senior behavioral and social scientist Wendy Troxel, Ph.D. tells Men's Health. "That's a major proportion of your coupled existence." That's a lot of time in bed with your partner and a lot of sleepless nights if sharing the bed isn't working out. If that's the case, then it might be time for a divorce — a sleep divorce, that is.

What is sleep divorce?

Although the word "divorce" tends to have negative connotations linked to it, it's just another word for separate. So, sleep divorce is essentially sleeping separately from your partner, which isn't exactly uncommon (via USA Today). "As a couple, if you enjoy sleeping together and can do so without one party disrupting the other's sleep, then that is a great outcome. However, it doesn't mean that your relationship is better than a couple who sleeps separately," author of "Sleeping Apart Not Falling Apart" Jennifer Adams tells Good Housekeeping. "Hundreds of thousands of couples are heading to separate rooms each night and enjoying a full life, and great relationships, because they get a good night's sleep each night."

In addition to the serious side effects that come with lack of sleep, there's also crankiness. You can't expect you or your partner to be able to handle each other, especially if a conflict arises if one or both of you is cranky. It just can't be done. Because of this, sleeping apart — sleep divorce — is an option worth exploring. Just think about how well-rested you'll both be and how present you'll be for each other because you're both getting enough sleep — finally!

How sleep divorce can help your relationship

What's important to realize is that sleep divorce, contrary to its name, is a good thing. Both partners get the space they need to sleep through the night, which is healthy for both people. But if you're worried it will interfere with intimacy and your sex life together, don't. "Unless you are sleeping in a king-size bed — and even if you are — there actually may not be enough room to accommodate a wide range of sleep movements during the evening," couples therapist Dr. Gary Brown tells Ask Men. "Sleeping in separate beds allows both partners to have enough physical space to sleep in their own natural positions and to move about freely without interrupting their partner... quality and frequency of sex can actually improve if both of you are enjoying the many benefits of a good night's sleep."

If this all sounds fantastic and you've been waiting to get the confirmation you need that sleeping apart can be good for your relationship, then here you go. However, experts do suggest that if this is the route you're going to take, then you should definitely make time for cuddle sessions throughout the day. "Make sure that your partner knows that you love them and miss them and that this is just a practical decision to improve both of your health and to address your joint optimal functioning," NYC-based couples therapist Dr. Paulette Sherman tells Insider.

While you and your partner might already be secure in your relationship, reminding each other of your love, especially early on during your sleep divorce, will be just the words you both want to hear. And there's nothing wrong with a little reaffirming that you're both wild about each other.