Sleep Better

Most Couples Would Sleep Apart For Better Rest

07 Jan 202210 min read
sleepsleep qualitysleep tips

Whether they like to starfish, wrap themselves in the duvet or are a persistent snorer, sleeping in the same bed as your partner isn’t always easy.

While many of us get used to their annoying sleep habits over time, some of us are not willing to sacrifice our sleep for sharing a bed with our significant other. 

In fact, in our recent survey of 1,000 Brits, more than half (51%) said they sleep in a different bed or room to get a better night’s sleep!

Here, we reveal which sleep habits are driving us into the spare bedroom, and speak to those who wouldn’t dream of sleeping separately, and those who have never looked back!

Man and woman sleeping with backs to each other

Women are more likely to sleep elsewhere to avoid their partner's sleep habits

According to our research, women are more likely to resort to a separate bed or bedroom. 56% of women said they sleep separately compared to 49% of men.

Revealed: 6 bedroom habits that force us to sleep separately

We also asked our survey respondents which sleep habits interrupted their sleep most often:

  1. Snoring (48%)
  2. Tossing and turning (15%)
  3. Stealing the duvet (13%)
  4. Watching videos on TikTok/social media (9%)
  5. Taking up too much of the bed (9%)
  6.  Different working from home or work schedule (6%)

Snoring is the most annoying sleep habit

Overall, 48% of Brits admitted that their partner snoring is most likely to wake them up. This figure rose to 55% amongst female respondents and dropped to 43% for the men we surveyed.

Woman covering ears with pillow as partner snores

Social media continues to interrupt our sleep

Taking fourth place overall is watching videos on TikTok or social media. 9% of respondents complained it had disturbed their rest, rising to 13% amongst men.

We recently investigated why using social media before bed is so addictive. Check out which social media apps are the worst to use before you sleep.

Real-life stories from four couples

“We’ll never go back to sharing!” says couple of five years

For some people, sleeping separately just works for them. That’s the case for Luana Ribeira, who has been with her partner for five years and has always slept apart.

Luana explains: ‘We sleep much better alone. If we have a bad night's sleep, we can't blame the other for snoring or shuffling around. Likewise, there’s no issue if one of us wants to go to bed later or get up earlier than the other, and we can spread out as much as we want!

We have separate rooms. Mine is exactly as I want, and his is how he prefers it. We both have very different tastes and completely different preferences with mattresses too. Mine is the best mattress ever but he finds it too soft. His is rock hard but he thinks it’s great. 

We both work from home, we have our own space if we want to be alone or need peace to focus on work. We enjoy spending time together in the evening then saying goodnight and going to our separate rooms to relax before bed. We get excited about seeing each other in the morning.’

Despite having separate beds in separate rooms, Luana admits that her partner still managed to disturb her sleep! ‘Even though he's in another room, he turned his light on last night using Alexa and due to a set up error, it turned my light on too!’

However, she is confident that sleeping separately has positively impacted their relationship: ‘Getting a good night’s sleep is so important and we’re both light sleepers. There are no downsides whatsoever. The quality of our sleep is 100% better. We’ll never go back to sharing.

Now I have a baby on the way, we plan on taking it in turns having the baby in each room so we both get equal sleep!’

Man and woman cuddling in bed

“I can’t imagine ever choosing not to sleep with my husband” says couple of 21 years

Senior therapist Sally Baker and her artist husband, Arnold Dobbs, have been together 21 years and married for 13 years. She explains how important sharing a bed is to her relationship:

‘I can’t imagine ever choosing not to sleep with my husband, even though he can be truly annoying at night. For every annoying thing he does, he also reaches for me and I can reach for him. Sleeping together feels like the greatest treat; sanctuary at the end of our busy days.

We chat in the middle of the night; we listen to audible books or Radio 3. He’ll make tea and sometimes toast too. It can feel like the best part of our relationship when we've finally got time for just each other.’

Sally believes that sleeping in separate bedrooms could negatively impact her relationship with her husband: ‘One of the first warning signs that a relationship is in trouble is the diminishing importance of intimacy. Withdrawing can be a passive aggressive sign that all is not well between you both. 

Sharing a bed together makes it easier to face some of the real everyday challenges of living in close proximity with another human being, and allows you to reconnect with one another. It would be easy to let small gripes escalate over nights spent apart, so that entrenched negative thoughts become habitual and harder to change.’

In fact, Sally sometimes finds it hard to sleep without her husband: ‘I sleep for England when he is there and sometimes I’ll go to bed earlier than him and think I’ll just sleep, but the reality is I simply can’t. I like him being there. I guess if that fundamentally changes then we’re done, but for many years now he has been a crucial component of my perfect night’s sleep.’

“If I woke up each morning and didn’t see him, I think I’d feel an emotional distance”, says couple of 10 years

Similar sentiments are echoed by Jasmine from Bedford. She’s been with her partner for 10 years and still looks forward to sharing a bed with him: 

‘I enjoy sharing a bed with my partner for a few reasons. On a very basic level, I like to be warm and he serves well as a human radiator. More than that though, after a long day where I might not have seen him much due to work or busy lives, I like knowing that no matter what, I’ll end my day next to him the majority of the time. 

I do think sleeping in separate rooms would negatively affect our relationship because for me there’s a sense of closeness by sleeping in the same bed, physically and emotionally. The chats just before going to sleep or watching The Office for the millionth time as we get gradually more tired is a constant and comfortable part of being together and I’d miss that a lot. 

If I woke up each morning and didn’t see him, I think I’d feel an emotional distance… almost like we’d become friends instead of in a relationship. When he’s been away before, or when he’s up and out before I’m awake, which is rare, I feel a bit flat when I wake up.’

Despite everything Jasmine enjoys about sharing a bed with her partner, he’s not without his annoying sleep habits which sometimes interrupt her rest: 

‘The age-old duvet argument can be frequent in the winter… so much so that at one point we had a double duvet each (it solves it). He also sometimes talks in his sleep but I find this funny rather than annoying and a little nudge tends to do the trick.’

Jasmine is so used to sharing a bed with her partner that her sleep suffers when he’s away: 

‘When I stay in hotels or he works away, my sleep is definitely negatively affected. This could be down to not having the comfort I’ve been used to for 10 years, but I also feel safer when he’s there too. I do sleep ok when I’m on my own, but I 100% sleep better when he’s there.’

“My body physically goes into a state of calm when she is nearby”, a male perspective from Jax

So far, we have heard from females about their sleeping habits, but how does a male opinion compare? We spoke to Jax to get his opinion on sharing a bed with his partner:

“I’m a rather affectionate human so I enjoy being able to have a cuddle and kiss with my wife, but even since day one of dating, I would say that my body physically goes into a state of calm when she is nearby and my sleep improved substantially when compared to being single all those years ago

Whenever I travel or if she’s out for a late night, I notice that I feel restless when I first hop into bed and try to sleep. Even staying asleep can be more challenging.”

When asked if he thought sleeping in separate beds or rooms would negatively impact his relationship, Jax replied: “100%. This would genuinely be a deal-breaker for me. I think intimacy and closeness are important to a relationship and sleeping in the same bed adds to that. Without it, it’s just one step away from the “friendzone” and I would not want that with my partner.”

5 ways to make sharing a bed easier

Men Cuddling in Bed

1. Choose a large enough bed

First and foremost, make sure your bed is the right size for you and your partner. If you’re not a cuddle-sleeper, sleeping on a mattress that’s too small may mean you’re closer to your partner than you’d like to be. King size or super king size mattresses are a good choice for couples, giving each of you enough space to sleep comfortably.

Carefully consider the type of mattress you choose too. Some mattresses have a little more movement than others, which could see you feeling the effects of every turn your partner makes.

2. Invest in separate duvets

Hogging the duvet was the third in our list of things that will likely disturb our sleep. If your partner has a habit of stealing it all for themselves, there’s an easy solution: invest in another duvet. 

That way, you’re both free to wrap yourselves in the duvet without the other lying there cold. Plus, you can choose duvets with different tog ratings - perfect if one of you is normally warmer than the other.

3. Try ear plugs

If your partner is noisy at night, whether it’s because of snoring or talking in their sleep, it may be worth investing in ear plugs. They can also be useful if you like to go to bed earlier than your partner, as you’re less likely to hear the noise of them getting into bed.

4. Consider your bedtime

You and your partner might have very different body clocks; one of you may be an early riser while the other is a night owl. For that reason, having the same bedtime may simply not work for you.

For example, expecting a night owl to be in bed for 10pm will likely result in them lying awake and tossing and turning, which could keep you awake as a result. Just because you’re a couple, you don’t have to go to bed at the same time.

If you’re sleeping with a snorer, it could be wise to go to bed earlier than they do, so you have time to fall asleep before their snoring begins.

5. Be considerate with your phone

If you can’t sleep, you’ll likely reach for your phone to pass some time on social media. However, this is a no-go when sharing a bed with a partner, as the light of your phone along with any sound that may play could wake them up.

Ideally, you wouldn’t use your phone at all during the night, as the blue light emitted could make it harder to get back to sleep. But if you do want to spend some time scrolling, take your phone into a different room so you don’t disturb your partner. 

If you’re struggling to sleep alongside your partner, give the above tips a try. If not, perhaps sleeping separately is the right option for you.

For more sleep advice, check out our other articles, such as how to get to sleep fast and whether anti-snore pillows really work.