Why Some Parents Are Embracing a 'Sleep Divorce'

A sleep divorce is a clever solution that can help couples who share a bed finally get a good night's sleep. It may not be for everyone, but it's a perfectly good option for many.

Have you heard of a sleep divorce? For some couples, sharing a bed means the opposite of a good night's sleep. There's the endless tug-of-war over blankets, snoring, muttering, kicking—you name it. But before letting exhausted crankiness ruin a good relationship, some couples decide to sleep in separate beds, a strategy known as a sleep divorce.

In an interview with TODAY, Carson Daly said that he and his wife Siri embraced a sleep divorce "I was served my sleep-divorce papers a few years ago," he told TODAY. "It's the best thing that ever happened to us. We both, admittedly, slept better apart."

A sleep divorce might not be such a bad idea for exhausted parents. Anyone who has pulled an all-nighter trying to soothe an upset baby or dealing with toddler sleep regression knows that any sleep you can get is precious. So, creating an individual space to rest might be a smart approach to diffusing some of the tension and fatigue that naturally comes with the parenting territory.

So, how does a sleep divorce benefit a couple? We asked Lauren Lodder, a popular Instagram creator known as Mommy Owl who has been open about her sleep divorce arrangements in the past.

"In the more than 12 years we've been married, my husband and I have never slept in the same room," Lodder tells Parents. "I've found that having my own bedroom not only ensures I sleep well but makes me a more rested person and, in turn, a happier spouse."

Lodder adds that some of the magic of their unique sleeping arrangement has led to some marital staying power.

"When we both roll out of bed in the morning and meet in the kitchen for coffee, it's almost as though we've returned from mini-vacations and we genuinely miss each other," she says. "And let me tell you—he is cooler, funnier, and HOTTER to me after I've had 8+ hours of solid sleep. For us, I think our sleeping arrangement has been the secret to our success as a married couple."

But if the idea of arranging separate beds sounds too radical, Scandinavians think you should try their unique method of ending the nightly battle for a good snooze. According to Wendy Troxel, Ph.D., a behavioral scientist and author of Sharing the Covers: Every Couple's Guide to Better Sleep, the Scandinavian sleep method is a common method in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden to have a happy sleep. And to that do, Troxel shared with TODAY, you make your bed with one fitted sheet but two different, individual sets of blankets, eliminating the need to wrestle over covers and hopefully leading to a more personalized sleep experience.

The idea is that by creating personal spaces in a shared bed, couples can control elements like blanket coverage, temperature, and even movement. That said, not all couples will feel happy sleeping without their partner, so by encouraging each person to design a space that fits their sleep needs, couples may be able to find the perfect solution to their sleeping woes.

If you try to rearrange the blankets or even tweak your family's sleep schedule and habits, but nothing seems to be working, then making separate sleeping areas may be just the thing to help.

"If your partner is snoring like a truck, the Scandinavian method is not going to do much good," Troxel told TODAY. "The solution really is going to depend on the nature of the problem."

Although, it may feel a bit uncomfortable to move out of the bed in a culture that assumes a couple should sleep together. To that end, Lodder has some advice on how to get through that initial awkwardness.

"I think a lot of people worry that separate bedrooms is a hop, skip, and a jump to separate lives," Lodder tells Parents. "This might be the case for some couples, so I would never say to anyone, 'You should do this!' I think at the end of the day; you should always find the arrangement that works best for you and your partner. Period. Exclamation point."

And if anyone tells you that your sleep arrangement is weird or that it may be a sign that your relationship is in trouble, Lodder says to ignore the naysayers.

"I have had friends say this to me, and 12 years later, my husband and I are still passionately and happily married. People love to have opinions, but the only ones that matter in this case are yours and your partner(s). Do what's best for you!"

So, the next time you wake up in the morning feeling cranky from a terrible night of sleep, consider talking to your spouse about getting creative with the nighttime arrangements. You never know, it could work!

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