Actor Rob Lowe raised some eyebrows recently when he made a striking confession about his sleeping habits. Appearing as a guest on The Ellen Degeneres Show, Lowe admitted that he sleeps better when he’s on tour. The reason? “Because I’m not with my wife,” he explained, to gasps and laughter from the studio audience. Lowe assures us his marriage is a healthy one—“I love her enough to speak the truth,” he says—but he does complain about his wife’s habit of playing Family Feud on her tablet when he’s trying to get some shuteye.
Lowe and his wife, Sheryl Berkoff, aren’t the only couple who have gone through a “sleep divorce”. According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), one in four U.S. couples sleep in separate beds. “That may sound decidedly unromantic,” says the NSF, “but many people have a good reason for splitting up after dark.” Whether it’s because of snoring, conflicting work schedules, or different sleep styles, some couples just need more personal space at night. Just because you and your partner might opt for different beds in the same room or even separate rooms altogether doesn’t mean your relationship is in trouble.
Sleep is crucial to our health and well-being, so it’s important not to sacrifice a good night’s rest because we’re afraid of hurting our partner’s feelings or doing things differently. In fact, even if only one person in a relationship is getting poor sleep, that can cause health problems for both partners. In other words, if you’re worried about how whether sleeping in separate beds is bad for marriage, remember that ignoring the problem could be even worse in the long run.
That said, a “sleep divorce” doesn’t have to be your first option. If sharing the same bed is causing problems, talk about it! We can all do more to be better sleep partners, but the issue could stem from something more serious, like sleep apnea or another sleep disorder. The culprit could even be something as simple as an old, uncomfortable mattress. (Check out our mattress buying tips for couples to find a bed that’s better for both of you—it might even help your sex life.) The most important thing is to find a solution that’s comfortable for both of you, regardless of what anyone else thinks. This is your relationship, after all.
Do you and you partners sleep in separate beds? Is it something you would consider? Let us know in the comments below!