Sleeping in Separate Bedrooms? How to Get Back to Bed

Believe it or not, there are some couples out there who insist on sleeping in separate bedrooms. Though about 87 percent of all adults in relationships sleep in the same bed, there is a growing segment of the population that opts for having their own private space. In fact, only a few decades ago it was considered normal for a couple to sleep in the same room but in different beds. Does sleeping in separate bedrooms mean that a couple is on a downhill slide toward demise?


The reasons that people choose separate bedrooms usually boil down to very specific problems that actually have nothing to do with intimacy. Excessive snoring is a very big reason why couples choose to sleep apart. The person who snores might sleep just fine, but the one who doesn’t could be assaulted by the noise every night, and earplugs don’t help the situation. Another issue might be restless leg syndrome, or even sleepwalking or REM behavior disorder, in which the person doesn’t fall into a deep enough sleep and instead acts out their dreams in bed.

The good news is that most of these situations can be remedied. Several nocturnal behavior issues, such as restless legs or sleepwalking, can be helped with medications and in some cases, with various therapies. Snoring can be alleviated in many ways, and it all begins with a visit to the doctor.

Many of those with excessive snoring actually suffer from sleep apnea, a condition in which breathing stops for a short period of time, then resumes with very loud snoring. This condition is not only annoying for the bed partner, it is very dangerous for the person who suffers from it. A typical solution is a CPAP machine, which can maintain air flow to the lungs throughout the night. Though a CPAP machine can be noisy, it is usually much quieter than the snoring — and some spouses report that once they get used to the constant rhythmic sound, it becomes like white noise. They can’t fall asleep without it!

Other nocturnal issues boil down to behavior. For instance, sleeping with the television on can be soothing to one person but grating to another. When one person needs more blankets than the other to stay warm, the fight over sheets and quilts might ensue. These issues can be remedied by choosing to ban all electronics from the bedroom, using it for intimacy and sleep only. If the problem is with quilts and blankets, it’s absolutely okay to have your own separate bedding — his quilt and her quilt, just like you have different pillows.

Finally, remember that if you absolutely must sleep in separate bedrooms, it is more important than ever to make the times you are together count. Find ways to connect during the day. Enjoy long sex sessions at night before one of you retires to the other bedroom. Try sleeping together from time to time. If you can sleep in separate beds but in the same room, try doing that. Ultimately, no matter what the issue is that leads to separate bedrooms, keeping communication alive can go a long way toward keeping your relationship intact.


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  1. Victoria Z says:

    Hi Jennifer, thanks for your comment! Your book sounds something I am interested in reading and would love to write a review on if you’re interested.

  2. Sleeping together or separately is definitely an individual decision based on sleep needs, behaviours and patterns. Sleeping separately doesn’t have to spell the end of a relationship and I agree that maintaining intimacy is important – critical actually. My interest in how couples approach and manage sleep turned into a book I wrote to help couples consider how they might both get enough sleep and keep their relationship on track. Titled ‘Sleeping Apart not Falling Apart: How to get a good night’s sleep and keep your relationship alive’. My hope with the book is to normalise sleeping separately, so couples that have no choice, don’t feel their relationship is unfairly judged as a failure. After nine years of sleeping separately from my husband – I know it can work.