Barbara Corcoran Says a Sleep Divorce Helps Keep Her Marriage “Fun”

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sleep divorce

When it comes to sharing a bed with her spouse, businesswoman and Shark Tank investor Barbara Corcoran might say, “I’m out.”

Corcoran revealed in a recent episode of Today that she and her husband, Bill Higgins, have had separate sleeping arrangements for around 40 years. Corcoran spilled some details in the interview, stating that their sleeping arrangement brings some excitement into their marriage, and the couple goes as far as inviting each other into their rooms.

“I have to invite him in, he invites me in,” said Corcoran, “It keeps a sexiness in all of it.” (1)

This practice is commonly known as a “sleep divorce,” which sounds dramatic, but in reality can actually help couples get better sleep.

Dr. Shelby Harris, licensed clinical psychologist and Director of Sleep Health at Sleepopolis told us that she doesn’t like the negative connotations of the term “sleep divorce” explaining, “When consciously made as a decision together, this practice can actually bring couples closer together as it lets go of any resentment related to poor sleep. Better sleep often equals better mood and a stronger connection as a couple.” (2)

Corcoran and Higgins are not the only celebrities choosing to sleep in separate bedrooms. Cameron Diaz and her husband reportedly sleep in separate beds, along with David and Victoria Beckham, for example. 

Dr. Harris says, “It’s very common for couples to be fully compatible in most aspects of their daily life, but incompatible when it comes to their sleeping habits and preferences.” (2)

The Benefits of a Sleep Divorce

There are a few reasons why this unusual practice may help couples like Corcoran and her husband. 

“Oftentimes, couples choose a sleep divorce as a result of one or both partners’ sleep quality suffering. This choice is most commonly made due to differences in sleep patterns, habits, and preferences or disruptive snoring from one or both partners,” explains Dr. Harris. 

Corcoran suffers from sleep apnea, a sleep disorder that causes lapses in breathing while sleeping, and uses a CPAP machine which may cause sleep disturbances for some partners. 

In the Today interview, Corcoran explained that their unconventional sleeping arrangement is preferable to them because of their differences in cleaning habits. “He’s such a mess,” said Corcoran about her husband. She explained that he “puts piles of stuff everywhere” while she is “very neat” and this prevented her from sleeping well. After their sleep divorce arrangement, she said she “sleep[s] like a baby.” (1

If you’re thinking about opting for a sleep divorce like Corcoran, Dr. Harris says, “It’s really important to make the decision together as a couple, not one person reacting to another’s snoring, for example.”

Dr. Harris also recommends setting up equally comfortable sleep environments (aka, it’s not a good idea to send your partner to the couch). “The ideal way to do this is to make sure that both partners have comfortable sleep environments when they decide to sleep separately — otherwise poor sleep and resentment can take over.” 

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Sources

  1. “Barbara Corcoran talks marriage, ‘SNL,’ manifesting, and more.” Today. March 28, 2024. https://www.today.com/video/barbara-corcoran-on-how-she-turns-adversity-into-inspiration-207873093733
  2. Harris, Shelby. Personal Interview.

Brianna Auray

Brianna is a Data Analyst at Sleepopolis. Her goal is to collect, analyze, and interpret data on sleep health and share new insights with our audience. When she's not researching sleep topics, Brianna enjoys working out, traveling, and hiking.

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