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Split Beds for Better Sleep

Split Beds for Better Sleep

Personalization is Better with Split Kings

Sleeping together in the same bed is a staple of living together in a relationship. As a sleep scientist who has spent her career studying the coupled nature of sleep, Wendy Troxel Ph.D. is a Senior Behavioral and Social Scientist at RAND and Adjunct Faculty in Psychiatry and Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh, found that there’s seemingly no question she’s asked more often than “Is it bad if my partner and I sleep apart?”

There are several misconceptions about sleeping in split beds or even in separate beds that have picked up a lot of steam. We’re here to help set the record straight so that you can your partner can find out what the best sleeping setup is for your unique needs.

The shared bed has a number of beliefs surrounding it, but they are mainly a socially formed belief system, not science-based.

Over 60% of people are sleeping together, according to a study performed here in the US. Throughout Western history, we’ve seen society at large prefer sleeping apart, then sleeping together, and back and forth. From personal preference to wealthy separate rooms, there are all sorts of people who choose to sleep in separate beds or even rooms.

When we consider the sexual revolution, we see people begin to equate the figurative meaning of sleeping together, meaning sex, with the literal meaning, resulting in cultural attitudes that are still around today. Namely, that sleeping apart is a sign of a loveless or sexless union. We even have a term for it, a “sleep divorce” when couples decide to sleep apart.

The good news is that there are things that science tells us about the pros and cons of sleeping apart and together. When you look at sleep objectively and by itself, sleeping sans partner is better. Their snoring and movement can keep you awake and those disruptions just aren’t present when you sleep alone.

However, if you ask those disrupted sleepers “Do you like to sleep with your partner or sleeping alone better?”, most will say they prefer to be with their partner. That can suggest that our need for closeness and security is taking priority over a perfect night of sleep in our brains.

All couples need to make sleep a priority in their relationship, however. Why? Because healthy sleep can strengthen our relationships, improve our intimacy, and help us to be healthy overall. Sleep deprivation is bad for relationships and for individuals. 

For example, this of this. One partner falls asleep and starts snoring. The other partner sits there awake because the noise is keeping them up. Eventually, the snorer is poked or prodded to get them to move to stop the snoring. Neither partner is getting good sleep in that situation, and at least of them is increasingly frustrated. When you don’t do anything to fix it, the cycle is just going to repeat itself.

When scientists studied sleep and relationship quality in a group of heterosexual couples, both at night and during the day, they saw that when the male subjects slept worse, they stated that their relationship quality suffered the following day. For women, on days when they were not so happy about their relationship, both her sleep and her husband’s sleep suffered that evening.

Problems can also emerge due to differences in sleep-wake patterns. When one of the partners is an insomniac, a seemingly helpful suggestion of sleeping in or going to bed early to “catch up” on sleep can actually be detrimental. Insomnia is a chronic condition and the treatment is very specific and can actually involve spending less time in bed.

Other couples face issues because their sleep-wake schedules are out of sync. Some of us are night owls while others wake up cheerfully at the crack of dawn.

Scientists measured couples’ sleep on a minute-to-minute basis during the night and found that those who slept and woke at around the same time were more satisfied in their relationships. Other research showed that mismatched pairs had higher reports of relationship unhappiness, more conflict, and less sexual activity.

But don’t worry too much. A big key to healthy relationships is knowing how to negotiate differences and find compromises, day and night. That can mean letting the other rest earlier in the night with a sweet goodnight routine for the two of you and letting the other wake up late and greeting them with coffee in hand.

Sleeping Apart- The Science

There’s sparse systematic research on how sleeping apart affects couples’ relationship quality or intimacy. Anecdotally, however, Dr. Troxel has spoken to many couples who say that sleeping apart has “saved their relationship.” One couple she spoke to, a writer for an online media outlet, and a 9-to-5 engineer took to sleeping in separate beds but worried that it said something negative about their relationship.

After dabbling with sleeping apart when the writer had a big deadline coming up, they started to see that the new setup actually worked very well for them. They are happier and can enjoy the time in bed together on the weekends better because the previous work week wasn’t filled with less than stellar sleep.

In truth, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all sleeping strategy for all couples. Couples should make sleep a priority for both of them. We’re asleep for about one-third of our lives and when you’re together that’s a large portion of your time as a couple. Research shows that when you’re well-rested, you communicate better, are happier, more empathic, more attractive, and funnier, all of which can help you to maintain a strong, healthy relationship. It improves intimacy as well.

Being sleep-deprived and a proud chugger of coffee is not a badge of honor. Sleep is crucial to our health and the health of our relationships. Taking with your partner about what the best sleep setup is for you both as a couple is the best way to ensure that you are both performing your best both in and out of the relationship.

Should You Try Sleeping in a Split Bed?

Sure, give it a go. Sleep is so important it’s better to work on getting the best quality sleep than to go night after night miserable. And remember, just because you sleep in separate or split beds doesn't mean you don’t have a fantastic relationship! It could be wonderful for your relationship, and the myth that it can lead to a divorce is just that. Divorces happen for a number of reasons, but changing a sleeping arrangement isn’t one of them. 

A well-rested, happy person is much more likely to want to spend time with their significant other not sleeping than a grumpy person who is upset that someone kept them up all night.

Talk with your partner about sleeping arrangements if you feel you need a change and how you can make sure you’re both checking in with each other and the relationship to ensure it remains strong and healthy.

As long as you both communicate your needs and wants to one another, it doesn't have to be scary or mean that you don’t love each other. If the conversation doesn’t go smoothly or you can’t agree, or maybe if you discover there are some underlying issues, it might be time to seek help from a professional. A licensed marriage counselor can be a very effective tool for all couples.

Can Split Beds Save a Marriage?

Selecting the right bed can be a difficult task at times with all the different choices available. Adjustable beds are a great option for people who are looking for relief from various health issues or for an extra level of comfort. You can try what we recommend to every sleeper we work with when the couples want different things from their bed- a split adjustable bed. These types of bed setups can be life-changing. You have the closeness of being next to your partner while still allowing for some independence when it comes to sleeping and comfort.

In fact, we’ve been told by previous customers and there are a plethora of reviews and testimonials available about how these types of beds have been one of the best purchases a couple has ever made. 

One of the most popular comments we’ve seen is how amazing the anti-snore feature can be. When you invest in a split base that can automatically detect snoring and move to stop it, it solves one of the most frustrating issues that most couples deal with. No more waking up because of the noise and no more being woken up and told to move. 

We’ve also heard a number of people rave about the ability to position and choose the firmness of their own side of the bed. Not everyone has the same desires from a mattress. Some like ultra-firm and leaned up for back sleeping, while others want ultra-plush and angled for side-sleeping with nighttime heartburn. With a split king or split cal king bed and base, you can make those choices and they won’t affect the comfort of your partner.

Additionally, a lot of people started off worried about the actual split in the bed because it might interfere with cuddling or watching TV in bed, but nearly all of them have found that with each side in the same position and especially with good quality mattresses, you barely notice it. The point is that spending your sleep in the best, most comfortable position for you will help you to get the rest you need and allow you to be the best partner you can be when you’re awake.

How Does a Split King Work?

Mattresses are flexible. Foundations typically aren’t. That’s where the split base comes into play. A Split King adjustable bed allows each side of the bed to move separately, so it’s ideal for people who have different sleep needs. The bases can also be synced together if you don’t need or want the sides to be adjusted separately. You’ll have your own controls, either through two remotes or app-based controls, and you’ll be able to save favorite positions for when you’re sleeping or just relaxing.

Will Split Beds Affect My Sex Life?

It doesn't have to! There's no reason why you can't continue enjoying a healthy sex life even if you have separate beds or bases. When you wake up well-rested and energized, you can notice yourself making your way to your partner's side for some cuddling before coffee. Plus, you’ll actually have the energy for sex since you got a good night’s sleep. 

Healthy couples will find a way to make it work. If anything changes drastically, talk it out. Maybe you need to change the signals used for when to initiate being intimate. But switching to a base, shouldn’t kill your sex life.


If you prefer being able to move your side of the bed separately from your partner or want to stop that snoring, then a Split King is what you’re looking for. These separate but near beds can give you the best of both worlds- being near each other while still controlling your own personal sleep positions and comfort. There’s not science to support the claim that they’ll ruin your relationship. In fact, that can make it even better because as we’ve learned, rested partners are better partners.

Finished With Your Research?

If you're ready to shop, check out our wide selection of mattresses and adjustable bases from top brands to decide what will work for you and your partner. If you still need assistance with choosing a mattress or adjustable base for your unique needs, check out our Mattresses Buying Guide here or our Adjustable Base Buying Guide here.

And don’t forget about checking out the other helpful content in our Better Sleep Blog here. It can help you to learn more about sleeping better, what position is best for you, and how your health conditions can help decide what bed and position is best for sleeping.

Picking out a mattress or adjustable base is a big deal and can greatly impact your sleep quality and as we’ve seen your experiences with intimacy. Get the help you need to make the best decision to ensure you’re always well-rested and ready for anything from BedPlanet.Com.

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