More and more Americans are turning to a “sleep divorce” to improve their nightly slumber. Whether it’s due to partners who hog the covers, toss and turn endlessly, or unleash a thunderous snore, sharing the bed is becoming a less popular choice for a good night’s rest.
The Rise of ‘Sleep Divorce’
A recent survey conducted by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) revealed a surprising trend: over one-third of respondents admitted to occasionally or consistently choosing to sleep in a different room to ensure a peaceful night’s sleep alongside their partners. This “sleep divorce” has gained traction in American bedrooms.
Gender Disparities in the Quest for Peaceful Sleep
The AASM survey further revealed that the initiative for a “sleep divorce” is often spearheaded by men. Approximately 45% of male respondents reported that they occasionally or consistently sleep in another room, compared to 25% of women. It seems that men are more likely to seek a separate sleeping space when sleep disturbances are an issue.
Dr. Seema Khosla, a pulmonologist and spokesperson for the AASM, emphasizes the potential relationship strain caused by sleep disturbances. Poor sleep can lead to irritability and more arguments between partners. Sleep quality is intrinsically linked to overall health and happiness, making it understandable why couples choose to prioritize their well-being through separate sleeping arrangements.
The Impact of Sleep on Relationships
The significance of healthy sleep for relationships cannot be overstated. Research has demonstrated that couples experiencing consistent poor sleep are more prone to conflicts. Furthermore, sleep deprivation can reduce one’s ability to accurately perceive and understand their partner’s feelings. In essence, insufficient sleep could hinder empathetic responses.
When dissecting the data by generation, the survey revealed that 43% of millennials occasionally or consistently opt for separate sleeping arrangements to accommodate a bed partner. Generation X follows closely behind at 33%, Generation Z at 28%, and baby boomers at 22%.
Encouraging Partner Wellness
While the term “sleep divorce” may sound severe, it essentially means that individuals prioritize the importance of sleep. Dr. Khosla suggests that when one partner’s loud snoring prompts the separation, it is crucial to address the issue. Seeking medical advice, especially for obstructive sleep apnea, is highly recommended. This advice applies to both men and women who experience disruptive snoring.
The Significance of Snoring
Loud and persistent snoring isn’t just a nocturnal nuisance; it is a potential sign of sleep apnea, a common sleep disorder. While not everyone who snores has sleep apnea, snoring should not be ignored. When snoring is accompanied by choking, gasping, or silent breathing pauses during sleep, it strongly suggests sleep apnea.
Recognizing Sleep Apnea Symptoms
Individuals should be aware of other common sleep apnea symptoms, such as fatigue, daytime sleepiness, unrefreshing sleep, insomnia, morning headaches, nocturia, difficulty concentrating, memory loss, reduced sexual desire, irritability, and trouble staying awake during activities like watching TV or driving. Excess body weight is a significant risk factor for sleep apnea.
Incorporating good sleep habits and addressing potential sleep disorders can pave the way for more restful nights, potentially reducing the need for a “sleep divorce” while improving overall well-being and maintaining stronger relationships.