What is a ‘Sleep Divorce’?

March 01, 2021  |   Posted by :   |   Divorce

Dealing with the breakdown of a relationship under pressure during the pandemic is no small feat—especially when you may be unable to make any practical changes to your situation for the foreseeable future. Delays to the family court, lockdown restrictions, financial concerns and employment uncertainty are putting many couples’ separation plans on hold, while others are still undecided over whether they want to split, left in the limbo of not knowing if it’s the stress of the current circumstances that’s the problem or if there really are underlying issues in their relationship.

If you’re struggling but stuck living together for the time being, a ‘sleep divorce’ might help to give you both some space to consider your situation, your relationship, and how you might move forward.

What is a ‘sleep divorce’?

A sleep divorce is a temporary or long-term decision to have separate sleeping arrangements. There are many different reasons why this could work for a couple—whether or not they’re having difficulties in their relationship—for example: disruptive sleeping habits, incompatible work hours, or simply the need for a little extra space. A sleep divorce might involve separate beds, separate rooms, or different sleeping schedules, whatever suits your circumstances—the point is to give yourselves some breathing room to take some of the strain off being under each other’s feet 24/7.

There’s evidence that having your own sleeping space can positively impact your mental and physical wellbeing (particularly if the alternative is sleeping next to someone who snores!). Sleep is vital to well-being. Poor, insufficient or disturbed sleep can contribute to conditions like depression, high blood pressure, and neurological disorders.

Of course, sleeping separately doesn’t necessarily mean the end of a relationship—in fact, it can be a way to find the balance you need to make things work. Some separate-sleeping couples start the evening snuggling together or watching a movie before heading to their own beds for the rest of the night, while others only sleep apart on weeknights so they’re well-rested for work.

But if living together is proving particularly hard and you find yourselves on the path to separation, you may even want to extend your ‘sleep divorce’ to other aspects of your relationship, for example eating separately or having individual living spaces while you figure out a more permanent change to your situation. Allowing yourselves some extra physical space can make a big difference in gaining the necessary distance to consider your situation more objectively, improving your ability communicate and cooperate when it comes to making decisions about your separation.

For more advice on the next steps of divorce and separation, and for a free 45-minute family law consultation, get in touch with the friendly team at Frances Lindsay & Co.

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