In a 2018 survey of 3,000 Americans, our data found that just over 30% of respondents nationwide wanted a sleep divorce, meaning they would prefer to sleep separately from their partners.
The topic of “sleep divorce” is on the rise, so we conducted a new survey of over 2,000 Americans in April of 2023 to compare America’s current feelings about sleeping separately with our results back in 2018.
What Is A Sleep Divorce?
As the name suggests, a “sleep divorce” happens when a couple decides to consistently sleep separately. This could mean one person takes the bedroom and the other is on the couch, in the guest room or out of the house entirely. The separation is only when it comes to sleeping arrangements, the rest of the relationship remains cohesive.
It’s understandable that a relationship may struggle if partners are disturbing each other’s sleep. A simple solution, in some cases, may be to separate so that each person can concentrate on getting the sleep they need to stay healthy.
So, how many people have a sleep divorce and what’s driving couples to want to sleep alone? We’ll take an in-depth look at our survey results below.
Almost a Third of Americans Regularly Sleep Separately From Their Partners
About one third (32.71%) of people married or in a domestic partnership reported that they regularly sleep separately from their partner. The majority (67.26%) of Americans that are married or in a domestic partnership consistently share a bed.
Most People Would Like a Sleep Divorce—but Not Every Night
In our survey, we found that 42.99% of those who don’t already have a sleep divorce would like to sleep separately at least sometimes (2.95% said “yes” and 40.04% responded “sometimes”).
Our survey in 2018 found that just over 30% of people wanted to try out a sleep divorce. So, when we look at the number of people that already have a sleep divorce (677) alongside those who want one at least sometimes (598), it looks like most people (61.65%) currently, or would like to, sleep separately from their partner from time to time.
Lack of Space or Extra Beds is the Biggest Reason People Haven’t Tried a Sleep Divorce
30% of our respondents that did not have a sleep divorce said that space in the home was preventing them from sleeping separately from their partner. Reasonings behind these answers included not being able to afford the extra space or bed, living in a small apartment or having children occupying other rooms.
Other common reasons for not getting a sleep divorce included fear of hurting their partner’s feelings (129 responses), preferring to sleep together (149 responses) and beliefs that married couples should sleep together.
Snoring is the Most Common Sleep Disturbance for Couples
52% of people said that their partner’s snoring was a contributing reason to their mid-slumber wake-ups. The next most common reason was their partner getting up in the middle of the night (30%) followed by moving around at night (29%).
There were 4,686 responses to this question, meaning that for each respondent in our survey listed 2.27 reasons on average. So, solving the issue of partner sleep disturbances might not be as simple as fixing one small issue.
The Term “Sleep Divorce” is Perceived as Relatively Negative
When asking respondents to rate the term “sleep divorce” on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being negative and 10 being positive, the mean score was 2.96. We then asked respondents to also rate the term “sleep alliance” on the same scale.
Sleep alliance, an alternative term for sleep divorce, was rated at 6.28 – more than 2x as positive. This new term, coined by Wendy Troxel, could be a solution to the controversy around sleep divorce.
We surveyed over 2,000 Americans over the age of 18 that were married or in a domestic partnership on their partner sleep preferences. Survey questions were distributed through an online platform in April 2023 and consisted of short answer and multiple choice questions.