Is Sleeping Apart Bad for Your Relationship?

WebMD Blog:

Is Sleeping Apart Bad for Your Relationship?

By Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD


Sleeping together brings closeness – sharing in the experience of letting go of the day’s struggles, slipping into a more peaceful state of being, and finally falling asleep. The comfort and warmth partners feel in doing this can be a powerful connection. So, it’s often a good idea to try to sleep together regularly.

In addition to a routine of closeness offered by sharing a bed, sleeping together offers many opportunities for spontaneous closeness. Comfort followed by sensual touching might crescendo in more passionate sex. And sharing lazy drifting thoughts offers insights into each other and can lead to deep conversations.

Yet, sleeping together is sometimes difficult. One common reason people sleep apart is differing bedtimes. Some people cope with this problem by routinely lying down together, though one of them might get up again after a time. Or, they might make it a point to sleep together on weekends, or whenever their schedules would allow for it.

Another frequent problem people face with sleeping together is when one person snores. Beyond the problem this causes in your relationship, snoring can be a sign of a serious medical condition – so, consult with your doctor about it. As for sleeping together, you might need to resort to earplugs. Or, consider other ways to address this problem, as suggested in this snoring article on WebMD.

But those are clearly not the only reasons people sleep apart. Sometimes it is because one person is an active sleeper. Other reasons are that one or both partners feel a need for more personal space, or they prefer different sleeping conditions (e.g. window open/shut, temperature warmer or cooler). Or, partners might live apart for reasons such as working in geographically different areas or not wanting to disrupt the lives of their children from previous relationships. While any of these people might prefer to sleep together, they might also feel they don’t have that option.

That said, there can be positives to sleeping apart. For instance, getting a good sleep is essential to feel rested and happy. People are clearer thinking and have a greater ability to deal with difficulties and frustrations. As a result, they are more likely to get along better with others (their partner included). Many people also find that they really enjoy their alone time at the end of a day or early in the morning.

So, the real issue is ultimately not whether or not you are sleeping together – after all, you’re unconscious at the time! Instead, it’s the closeness that physical intimacy provides. So, if you cannot sleep together or prefer to sleep separately, then make it a priority to find other ways to create closeness. However you do it, physical and emotional intimacy will help create a happier relationship.


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