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Can a “sleep divorce” improve your marriage?

Those of us who watched I Love Lucy (or the reruns, anyway) will remember the separate beds in Lucy and Ricky’s bedroom. While this concept will seem prudish and outdated to most couples today, for others it is an arrangement that could help a difficult marriage.

A National Sleep Foundation survey carried out in 2015 suggested that 25% of all couples in the U.S. are sleeping in separate beds if not separate bedrooms. The reasons for this growing trend include:

  • One partner has insomnia or snores, keeping the other partner from sleeping well.
  • One person is an early bird while the other is a night owl, resulting in an incompatibility as sleep partners.
  • One partner likes to surf the web or watch TV in bed late into the night, keeping the other one awake.

The reasons for sleeping apart are unique to each couple, but most of them agree that doing so improved their relationship.

What the experts say

Research has suggested that lack of sleep can have a negative effect on a romantic relationship. One study conducted by the University of California, Berkeley, found that sleep deprivation can leave a couple too tired to openly express their appreciation of one another, a situation that often results in one or both partners feeling taken for granted. People who did not sleep well were more likely to be self-centered than those who got the rest they needed, with predictable results.

Another study, this one conducted by Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada, concluded that couples who share a bed don’t always achieve the deeper, more refreshing stages of sleep because their partner’s sounds and movements constantly wake them up throughout the night.

This situation does not affect every marriage or relationship, but for those who feel their situation is deteriorating due to lack of sleep, investing in an extra bed can make a huge difference. As a result, more architects and interior designers are being asked to produce homes with two master bedrooms.

Not a universal solution

Although “sleep divorce” can save relationships with sleep-related challenges, inability to get enough rest is not a pivotal factor in all marriage crises. In these cases, there may be other matters that cannot be resolved by turning the spare bedroom into another master bedroom, and the couple decides that they are better off apart for good.

If this happens to you, then consult a New York family law attorney who can help you decide whether legal separation or divorce is the best way to deal with the situation. Once you decide on a course of action, your attorney will advise you on the necessary legal steps so that your decision is legally as well as personally valid for you. For a free in-person initial consultation with an experienced Bronx divorce attorney, call the law offices of Jayson Lutzky at 718-329-9500. Mr. Lutzky has helped many clients successfully file for uncontested as well as contested divorces over the past 35 years.

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