Need A Sleep Divorce? 7 Ways To Tell, According To A Neuropsychologist

Your partner snores, and they kick you in the middle of the night. You like to hog the covers, and you get up every night to go to the bathroom at 2 a.m. Both of you toss and turn, and neither of you can remember the last time you enjoyed a restful night’s sleep. While you might be able to function during the day (when you’re not busy yawning), not getting a healthy sleep isn’t good for your health in the long run. That’s because as we sleep, our body undergoes a process of repair and regeneration that helps to maintain physical function and support a healthy immune system.

“Getting a good night of sleep is particularly important for physical restoration, as this is when our body repairs tissues, muscles, and bones,” Dr. Sanam Hafeez, a NYC-based neuropsychologist, tells Scary Mommy. “Sleep is also essential for our brain to function correctly, as it helps with memory consolidation, concentration, and cognitive function. In addition to this, sleep is also crucial for regulating hormones such as cortisol and growth hormone, which are essential for managing stress.”

Not only can poor sleep affect your physical health, but it can also contribute to depression and anxiety, which can further impact your relationship. If any of this sounds familiar, it might be time to kick your partner to the curb — uh, the guest bedroom — and sleep separately.

What are some common signs you and your partner should sleep separately?

According to Hafeez, if any of the following sound familiar, you should consider sleeping separately — aka get a “sleep divorce.”

  1. Loud snoring: “If your partner snores and it disrupts your sleep, consider sleeping separately from them because this can lead to fatigue, irritability, and other health problems,” she advises.
  2. Different sleep schedules: “If you and your partner have vastly different sleep schedules, it can be challenging to get quality rest,” Hafeez says. “For example, if one of you is a night owl and the other is an early bird, one person may end up disturbing the other’s sleep by staying up late or waking up early.”
  3. Restless sleeping: “If your partner frequently tosses and turns during the night, it can cause disruptions to your sleep,” Hafeez explains. “This can lead to problems such as stress, anxiety, and physical discomfort.”
  4. Different temperature preferences: If you and your partner have different temperature preferences, Hafeez recommends considering sleeping separately. For instance, if one of you prefers a warmer room while the other prefers a cooler one, it can lead to discomfort and restless sleep.

What are the benefits of a sleep divorce?

Sleeping separately from your partner might not sound as cozy and romantic as waking up next to each other every morning, but it does have its benefits — especially if you feel resentful towards your partner over your lack of quality shut-eye. Below, Hafeez outlines the benefits of sleeping separately.

  1. Improved sleep quality. “Different sleep schedules, snoring, or other sleep disturbances can affect both partners’ sleep quality,” she says. “Sleeping separately can remove these distractions and allow each partner to get a better night’s sleep.”
  2. Reduced disturbances. Partners can have different preferences regarding sleep temperature, light, and noise. Sleeping separately, says Hafeez, allows each partner to create an environment tailored to their specific needs, reducing disturbances and increasing overall sleep satisfaction.
  3. Improved intimacy. While it may seem counterintuitive, sleeping separately can sometimes enhance intimacy. “If one partner is consistently disturbed by the other’s sleep habits, it can create tension and resentment that can harm the relationship,” Hafeez explains. “By prioritizing restful sleep, partners may be more patient, understanding, and affectionate during waking hours.”

How do you communicate to your partner that you want to sleep separately?

Breaking it to your partner that you’d prefer their warm body to sleep elsewhere can be tricky. And while communicating with your partner about wanting to sleep separately can be a sensitive topic, Hafeez says it’s vital to approach it with honesty and care.

“First, explain why you believe sleeping separately could benefit both of you,” she suggests. “Consider mentioning specific reasons such as different sleep schedules, differing comfort levels, or the need for privacy. Emphasize that this decision is not a reflection on your relationship but rather a practical solution to improve your sleep quality and overall well-being. Reassure your partner that you care for them and that this is not you trying to distance yourself from them.”

With any luck, they’ll understand your perspective and agree that a sleep divorce is worth a shot.

Originally Posted Here

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