Can You Have a Healthy Marriage if You Sleep in Separate Beds?

two married men embraced in bed

You’ve said your "I do's" and settled into your new routine as a married couple. However, you may have found yourself struggling with a common problem that’s not often discussed — bedsharing. Yes, it’s a normal part of a married life, but is it right for everyone? The answer is no.

Just because you don't share a bed doesn't mean you can't have a healthy, happy marriage. In fact, in some cases, separate beds can save a relationship.

The Toll of Sleep Deprivation on Your Marriage

Just because you don't share a bed doesn't mean you can't have a healthy, happy marriage. In fact, in some cases, separate beds can save a relationship.

Bedsharing can often lead to sleep deprivation of one or both partners. You're probably familiar with this situation if you're a light sleeper or if your partner snores. However, it's no laughing matter if you're getting less than seven hours of sleep at night.

Fluctuating Emotions

Sleep deprivation starts to rear its ugly head whenever you get less than seven hours of sleep. The less sleep you get the more intense the effects of sleep deprivation. Unfortunately, lack of sleep causes changes in the brain that alter your emotional stability.

The area of the brain that processes emotions becomes overactive and extra sensitive to negative experiences and thoughts. Simultaneously, the area of the brain responsible for executive functions like logic, reason, and decision-making slows down, which reduces its influence over your emotions.

Consequently, stress levels rise, emotional outbursts increase, and arguments with your partner ensue. The more stressed you are the harder it becomes to sleep and the cycle continues.

Poor Overall Health

Lack of sleep does more than affect your emotions. A 2017 study found that sleep loss led to an increase in inflammatory proteins, which contributed to marital stress and a higher risk of developing illnesses like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and arthritis.

But rather than sleep deprivation causing one partner to have more inflammatory proteins due to sleep loss, it was found that during marital conflict both partners had a higher inflammatory response. Basically, poor sleep made them more susceptible to stress-related inflammation due to the stress of arguing.

Sleep isn't a luxury; it's essential to your health and the health of your marriage. For that reason, sometimes separate beds (bedrooms) are the best choice for the health and happiness of both partners.

How to Get Better Sleep (Whether You Share a Bed or Not)

Whether you're sharing a bed or not, good sleep habits can improve the quality and quantity of your sleep.

Get to Bed on Time

A consistent bedtime can work wonders for your ability to fall asleep. The brain tries to anticipate your preferred sleep schedule and a predictable bedtime allows it to adjust accordingly.

Nightly Routine

Your nightly routine helps the brain recognize when to start the release of sleep hormones. It's also a time to relieve tension and stress before bed. A warm cup of milk, hot bath, or ten minutes of meditation are all great ways to relax the mind and body at night.

Create Sleep-Supportive Conditions

A sleep supportive bedroom eliminates distractions and interruptions. Blackout curtains and white noise machines are classic ways to block out light and noise. Make sure you have a mattress that works for your preferred sleep style and weight. One bonus of separate beds, you to get choose a mattress that’s perfect for you.

Read a Book (Skip the Screens)

You don't have to read a book, but you really should skip screen time two to three hours before bed. Televisions, smartphones, and e-readers can emit a blue spectrum light that suppresses sleep hormones.


The health of your marriage doesn't rely on where you sleep. It's built on an emotional connection that requires adequate sleep. Make the choice, whatever that may be, that strengthens your relationship with your partner. Your marriage will be stronger when you’re both happy, healthy, and getting the rest you need.


Stacey L. Nash is a Seattle area writer for whose insomnia led her to research all aspects of sleep. With a degree in communications from the University of Puget Sound, she helps put sleep into the forefront of the health and wellness conversation. When not researching and writing about sleep, she spends time with her husband and four children on their heavily-wooded, twelve-acre piece of heaven.