Why the Extreme Heat This Summer Could Lead to a Rise in Sleep Divorce

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summertime sleep divorce

We’re officially in the heat of summer and I know many of us probably find ourselves pushing away our partner’s body heat and searching for the cold side of the pillow more often than not nowadays. 

With heat waves on the rise around the country, it’s no surprise that having another warm body in bed might not be the most appealing when you’re trying to get a good night’s sleep, which might lead many to consider a sleep divorce. 

This summer is on track to be one of the top 5 hottest summers on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which might mean bad news for your summer sleep schedule. 

Unfortunately, rising temps often bring with them a rise in sleep issues. A sleep divorce might be the solution to many couples’ summertime sleep problems. 

What is a Sleep Divorce?

I know that the word “sleep divorce” sounds kind of scary at first, but it’s a popular sleep trend nowadays for a reason. A sleep divorce can help couples get better sleep, which can help strengthen relationships

“A sleep divorce is when a couple decides to sleep in separate beds or separate rooms due to differences in sleep patterns, habits, and preferences that are disrupting the quality of their sleep,” says Dr. Shelby Harris, Sleepopolis’s Director of Sleep Health. 

Sleep divorces are more common than you might think. Over a third of Americans have opted into a sleep divorce and sleep apart from their partners either occasionally or consistently, according to a study by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. (1)

“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,” adds Dr. Harris.

Even though sleep divorces are becoming more common nowadays, how might sleep divorces increase even more as a result of rising temperatures this summer?

How Do Heat Waves Affect Your Sleep? 

It’s no secret that it’s hard to sleep in hot weather. Anyone who’s had to toss and turn in sweaty sheets knows that it’s no fun. 

Studies have shown that sleeping in a hot environment makes it harder to fall asleep and reduces deep sleep by disrupting the REM cycle. (2)

For most adults, it’s best to sleep in a room that’s 62-68℉, according to Dr. Harris. However, summertime heat waves can make it challenging to maintain a cool bedroom environment. 

Our body temperature drops while we sleep, however, if your sleeping environment is too hot (like it often is during a heat wave) it can disrupt your sleep. 

“If your body temperature is too warm, it can interfere with your deep sleep and cause you to wake up more frequently throughout the night, affecting your sleep quality and quantity,” explains Dr. Harris. 

So how does all this relate to sleep divorce?

Well, sharing a bed with another person only doubles the body heat in an already hot sleeping environment, which can make sharing a bed in the summer uncomfortable for both parties.

Expert Verified Benefits of Sleep Divorce in a Heat Wave 

With rising temperatures this summer, it’s no surprise that more and more couples are considering a sleep divorce in hopes of cooling down. 

Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of a sleep divorce during these scorching summer temps. 

Less Body Heat in Bed

With one less person in bed, you also decrease the amount of body heat under the covers. While it can be nice to cozy up next to your partner during those chilly winter nights, you might find yourself pushing your partner away in bed during the hot summer months. 

Less body heat in bed might just help you find a bit of relief from the heat.

Choose Your Own Sleep Environment

Not only that, but with a sleep divorce each person can control their ideal sleeping environment. Covers off? Ceiling fan running? The choice is yours. 

Your partner might have different sleeping patterns or preferences than you, but a sleep divorce allows each person to create their ideal temperature and environment to get the best night’s rest without disrupting the other.

Strengthen Your Relationship 

Some people worry that a sleep divorce is a sign of a relationship problem, but experts say that it can mean the opposite. 

“A sleep divorce, when consciously made as a decision together, 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,” adds Dr. Harris. 

If you’re better rested, you’re more likely to have more energy for your partner and the rest of things in life. 

Sleep impacts our mood and so many other aspects of our well-being, so it’s no surprise that getting better sleep can help strengthen your relationships. 

It’s no surprise that many Americans are turning to a sleep divorce this summer to try to ditch the heat and get the best night’s sleep.

Emma Ernst

Emma Ernst

Emma Ernst is an editorial intern at Sleepopolis. A rising senior at the University of South Carolina, studying public relations and Spanish, Emma is originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and loves to talk about anything Midwestern!

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