This weird, old fashioned sleep hack could save your marriage (and sanity)

When you are watching an old movie or TV show (probably pre-1965) one of the things you always notice if there is a married couple in the film is that they tend to sleep in separate beds (and also the most pristine pajama sets you’ve ever seen.) It seems so odd, old-fashioned and rather prudish (we’re looking at you Rob and Laura Petrie), but it turns out the whole sleeping in separate beds thing may have actually been the key to a successful marriage according to experts.

In a new New York Times piece called “Is it time for a sleep divorce?”  Jennifer Adams, the author of “Sleeping Apart Not Falling Apart” said sleeping separately may be the key to a couple’s bliss. “When both parties are getting a restorative night’s sleep it allows them to feel emotionally, mentally and physically healthier without one resentful of their partner for keeping them awake, nor the other feeling guilty for disturbing his or her mate,” she told The Times. After all, Ladders has reported on numerous studies that show recurring nights of low quality sleep can lead to health problems, accelerated ageing, depression, lack of productivity and other terrible things. Being a sleep-deprived person basically turns you into one of the trolls under the bridge from The Three Billy Goat’s Gruff. 

Adams isn’t alone in her thought logic. Mattress Clarity recently asked 3,000 Floridians about how they slept and nearly 40% said they would rather sleep in separate beds than in bed with their partner and 30.9% said they would like to file for a sleep divorce (ask to sleep in separate beds.) That survey also found that 10% of people have ended a relationship because of sleeping issues with their significant other. Better a sleep divorce than a real divorce, right?

Mary Jo Rapini, a relationship and intimacy psychotherapist, told The New York Times that women tend to be more sensitive when it comes to sleeping conditions so they are often the ones pushing for the sleep divorce. Pregnancy and hormonal changes can also impact this sensitivity. Plus, a recent report from The Sun that surveyed 2,000 British residents one in two British women said they were sleep deprived while only two in 10 men said they woke up in the middle of every night.