Relationship expert reveals how to make ‘sleep break-up’ work for you

Can nodding off in separate bedrooms be good for your relationship? Sexologist reveals how to make a ‘sleep break-up’ work for you

  • Nearly 200,000 Australian couples are now sleeping in separate beds
  • Snoring, restlessness and blanket stealing are some habits keeping them up
  • Sexologist Dr Nikki Goldstein shared tips to make a ‘sleep break-up’ work for you

Snoring, different snooze patterns, insomnia and blanket stealing… the pesky bedtime habits are causing disruption between the sheets.

And so it’s no wonder sleep-deprived couples are considering a night apart by disappearing into their own bedrooms so they can enjoy a good shut eye.

Nearly 200,000 Australian couples are now sleeping in separate beds to get away from their partner’s distracting habits, a new study has found.

Sydney’s sexologist Dr Nikki Goldstein said sleeping in separate bedrooms can be good for your relationship if you approach it the right way.

Here, the relationship expert revealed her tips to make a ‘sleep break-up’ work for you – and how you can tell your partner about the sleeping arrangement without hurting their feelings.

Snoring, different snooze patterns, insomnia and blanket stealing… the pesky bedtime habits are causing disruption between the sheets (stock image)

Sexologist Dr Nikki Goldstein (pictured) shares her tips on how you can sleep in separate bedrooms while maintaining a strong relationship

‘We all have a fantasy that the perfect, ideal relationship is that you both go to bed at the same time, and potentially have sex when you do,’ she told Daily Mail Australia.

‘But look at the facts, sleeping has nothing to do with intimacy, we all need sleep to survive.’

New research from Australian specialist mattress and bedding retailer Bedshed has found tens of thousands of couples are now sleeping in separate beds.

‘It’s quite common for couples to sleep in separate bedrooms but people don’t like to admit it because they fear others might think there’s something wrong in their relationship,’ Dr Goldstein said.

So if you’re struggling with restlessness, she said there are ways to deal the your sleeping issues with your other half.

‘The first thing is be very precise and clear with how you explain it. If it has something to do with sleeping circumstances, be prepared to compromise. Your partner might see it as a rejection to them because you no longer want to sleep in the same bed – so compromise, compromise, compromise,’ Dr Goldstein said.

‘If you do decide to sleep in separate bedrooms because you both have a busy lifestyle, make sure you lock intimacy time. Compensate not sleeping in the same bed and have a schedule to spend time together.

‘What I don’t encourage couples doing is permanently sleeping separately. Maybe once or twice a week so you can get a full night’s sleep – and you’re not waking up grumpy and resentful – it’s that resent that leads to other layers in your relationship.’

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Top sleep disruptions for couples

  • Snoring partner
  • Getting too hot
  • Hogging the blankets
  • Can’t stretch out
  • Sleep at different times 
  • Partner’s hair in face

Dr Goldstein said you can solve sleep incompatibility without having separate beds.

‘Sleeping in separate beds can be a good idea for your relationship but you should always look at what you can do in the bedroom before you go down that route,’ she said.

‘If you’re finding you’re both knocking into each other in bed, invest in a bigger bed. If the other person is snoring, send them to a sleep doctor… If one is hogging the doona, get two doonas. Have a look at the logistics first.

‘You need to investigate why your partner wants to sleep in a separate bedroom. If there’s various issues to work on, couples should come up with a solution to understand why they need separate beds.

‘If you find yourself sleeping separately, put effort into finding a solution. If there’s a problem and you’re the one who’s left in bed and don’t want your partner to leave, then solve the problem. For example, if you’re snoring, go to a sleep clinic.

‘For whatever reason your sleeping situation is, make sure you keep the physical intimacy going, whether it’s sex, touching or kissing.’ 

The relationship expert shared her tips for those struggling to nod off – and how to approach your partner with the sleeping arrangement without hurting their feelings (stock image)

Earlier this year, Jennifer Adams, 52, revealed she and her husband Fraser Mackay, 50, have been happily married for 14 years despite sleeping in separate bedrooms. 

Speaking to Daily Mail Australia, Ms Adams busted the myths about separate sleepers, and how the arrangement made her marriage stronger than ever. 

Ms Adams said she wanted to break the stigma surrounding the separate sleeping arrangements between couples. 

‘Show me the stats of the divorced couples who shared a bed every night,’ she said.

‘Sleeping in separate rooms does not mean the end of a relationship, it’s just a way of doing maintaining our relationship.

‘Talking about it openly becomes more socially acceptable. You would be surprised at how many happy married couples out there already doing this.’

Happily married couple Jennifer Adams and Fraser Mackay have been sleeping in separate bedrooms for 14 years – and they insist the arrangement has strengthened their relationship

Ms Adams said she wanted to break the stigma surrounding the separate sleeping arrangements between couples

Ms Adams – who’s the author of Sleeping Apart Not Falling Apart – said couples should not resist sleeping apart if it means a better night’s rest.

‘It’s practical. If you’re being disturbed by your partner’s snoring, and you’re not getting enough sleep, then you need to do something to restore yourself,’ she said.

‘The key message is this should be done for health. Sleeping is such a luxury and if you’re not getting enough, ask yourself: If your partner is disturbing your sleep? If so, then you should consider sleeping in separate rooms.

‘Be explicit with each other and have those rituals so you know everything’s okay. Be honest about why you’re doing this – that’s your key to send it into success.

‘If you’re doing it because there’s issues in your relationship, then you need to address those problems first.

‘It’s not a black-and-white issue. Consider sleeping separately sometimes. You might need sleep on some days because of work commitments or you just need a good night’s sleep.

‘We are both well rested now, it was such a key drive for us. We are both people who needed sleep, and the separate rooms took away that tension of both being tired.

‘Talk to your partner. Be confident in your decision and just be proud about it. If you’re doing it for the right reasons, then you don’t have anything to worry about.

‘Just remember, it’s not you, it’s about sleep.’

For more details, please visit Dr Nikki Goldstein on Facebook or Instagram.

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