More than a third of Americans choose to have a 'sleep divorce'

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Whether your partner is prone to snoring or you need to wake up at 3 a.m. the next day, couples have plenty of reasons for sleeping in different beds at home.

The nontraditional sleeping arrangement is described by experts as a “sleep divorce” and is more common than you might think.

A new survey from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine shows 35% of respondents sleep in a different room from their partner consistently (15%) or occasionally (20%).

“The question really is why do you have to sleep separately, what’s going on with your bed partner,” said American Academy of Sleep Medicine board member Dr. Fariha Abbasi-Feinberg. “I think it’s a negative if you are ignoring any underlying sleep issues that can be fixed and resolved and evaluated.”

The survey talked to 2,005 people across the country and found men are likelier to say they move to a different room than women. Forty-five percent of men reported sleeping in another room some or all of the time compared to just 25% of women.

The survey also shows a big difference between age groups when it comes to their willingness to hit the couch or a spare bedroom.

More than four in 10 (43%) of millennials are willing to find their own spot to sleep compared to just two in 10 (22%) of baby boomers. The 33% of Generation X and 28% of Generation Z that sleep apart from their partner fall somewhere in between.

Other sleeping strategies reported include using earplugs (15%), eye masks (18%), sleeping earlier or later than desired (33%) and using a silent alarm (16%).

Abbasi-Feinberg said she’s delighted to see people prioritizing their sleep but urges people to seek help.

“Make sure that you figure out why you’re sleeping separately,” she said. “If it’s just a difference in terms of habits, timings, covers, things like that, I think it’s reasonable to prioritize your sleep and sleep separately. But if it’s because your partner’s snoring or kicking, or you know, talking or jumping around in bed, that’s something that should be evaluated before you start sleeping separately.”

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends people get at least seven hours of sleep. Abbasi-Feinberg said ideally, you’d do it all at nighttime because that’s when our circadian rhythms work best if we keep a good routine.

However, she knows there are lots of people that work different shifts with different schedules.

“You do the best that you can, but try to aim for at least seven hours in a 24-hour timeframe,” she said.

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