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The warning signs that show you need a sleep divorce

A ‘sleep divorce’ might sound like bad news for couples. But really it could be the answer to our heatwave-induced sleep woes.

Of course, not everyone has the option of a spare room, or space and budget for two beds. But if it is a possibility, as unlikely as it sounds, a ‘bedtime breakup’ could actually be a positive move for your relationship.

Heat is a major sleep disruptor“The human body has an optimal temperature range, typically around 36.1°C to 37.2°C, for initiating and maintaining sleep. This range supports the body’s natural decline in core temperature, which is an important component of the sleep process,” explains Carolina Goncalves, superintendent pharmacist at Pharmica.

“When ambient temperatures rise, the body struggles to dissipate heat effectively, which is necessary for the onset of sleep. During sleep, particularly in the stages of deep and REM sleep, the body’s ability to regulate temperature diminishes, making it more challenging to cool down when it’s hot.

Sometimes sleep trumps snuggles (Alamy/PA)

Sometimes sleep trumps snuggles (Alamy/PA)

“This inability to effectively lower core temperature can lead to increased awakenings and a lighter sleep state, as the body repeatedly attempts to cool itself.”

Feeling uncomfortable and sweating as the night goes on compounds the problem – and once that frustration sets in, the chances of waking up bushy-tailed and rested are long gone. Adding another sweaty, frustrated body to the mix isn’t going to help.

“The additional heat provided by another body is definitely not helpful,” says Alison Cullen, sleep expert at

“Sharing body heat is a lifesaver in very cold conditions, and there’s nothing nicer than a warm body to drape your chilly feet over in the colder months. But when it’s hot, being close to another heat source just adds to the problem.”

Win-win situation

With a sleep divorce, this problem’s instantly eradicated. It also means you get complete control of how airy and dark the room is, what duvet to use (or not use), and sticking a leg or arm out to cool off won’t be an issue for either party.

If it means better sleep for either or both of the couple, the health benefits are likely to benefit their relationship too…

“Sleeping apart may seem like a negative step in a relationship, but if it means better sleep for either or both of the couple, the health benefits are likely to benefit their relationship too,” says Cullen.

“Feeling rested, restored, less achy, with fewer carb cravings and more energy is a great way to start a new phase in your connection.”

In some parts of the world, it’s a lot more normal for couples to sleep in separate beds – Scandinavia, for example. And there might be other reasons for considering it, such as health conditions, having different preferences and routines, and of course, snoring – often a fast-track to misery for couples if not addressed.

You might appreciate intimacy more as a result

Goncalves agrees a sleep divorce can be beneficial – and may even bolster relationships.

Rested couple = happy couple (Alamy/PA)

Rested couple = happy couple (Alamy/PA)

“The most substantial benefit of sleeping in separate beds is a potential improvement in sleep quality for both [people], improving their collective cognitive and emotional health, and strengthening their bond as a couple,” says Goncalves. “It can also help minimise conflicts stemming from changes in mood due to a lack of sleep, potentially leading to greater relationship satisfaction and stability.

“Lastly, sleeping in separate beds can provide couples with the opportunity to appreciate the intimacy of sleeping together. The physical distance from sleeping in separate beds may enhance longing and desire for one another, contributing to a more passionate and fulfilling relationship, and increasing how meaningful the relationship is for both individuals. This can help foster deeper emotional connections and improve relationship satisfaction.”

Tricks to keep your home cool:

We all love a heatwave, but with most typical UK homes lacking in the air-con department, how can you keep your cool when it’s sweltering outside?

“When the next heatwave comes around, I think we’ve all learned from last year it’s important to be prepared,” says Sam Greig, senior designer at Swoon.

“Firstly, for a great night’s sleep, consider your bed linen. Heavy synthetic materials are almost guaranteed to create a clammy atmosphere when the temperature begins to rise; so switch your summer sheets to a cotton alternative.”

As he points out, cotton is great at wicking moisture and will therefore help you stay cooler during the night. “Opt for the highest thread-count fabric you can, as the higher the count, the smoother the experience.”

Your duvet and mattress also have a massive impact on your temperature whilst sleeping, highlights Greig. “During warmer months, opt for a lower tog duvet, meaning it will be lighter on your body and will allow more airflow.”

When it comes to sleeping soundly, Greig also suggests choosing a mattress topper which is adequate for the weather. “A cooling gel topper is a great option for a full night’s rest – no matter what mother nature decides to throw at you.”

Additionally, Alison MacLean, who designs show homes at St. Modwen Homes, says: “Most newer build homes are extremely energy efficient, meaning they’re well insulated and keep the heat in during the winter.

“During the summer, to keep the temperature regulated, it’s a great idea to keep exterior windows and blinds closed – as this is where most of the home’s heat is drawn from.”

Additionally, she says keeping your interior doors open will help keep a flow of cool air circulating – keeping warm air out, and cool air inside.”

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