It’s becoming more common for married couples to choose to sleep in separate rooms because of snoring. Sometimes dramatized as a “sleep divorce,” this step can actually help couples strengthen their marriage and avoid true divorce. However, before you decide to sleep apart from your partner, it’s important to take steps to ensure that you’re doing what’s best for all. 

At the Advanced Dental Sleep Treatment Center, our Omaha sleep dentists want to help individuals and couples enjoy their best health and happiness by helping them get the best sleep. If you’re considering sleeping apart because of snoring, our sleep dentists can help you do it successfully. 

illustration of a couple sleeping separately

Why More Couples Sleep Apart with Age

Part of the reason why more couples are sleeping apart is because we’re all getting older. Age makes sleeping apart both more important and more possible. Here are some reasons why getting older leads to sleeping apart. 

Snoring Worsens

Perhaps the most important reason couples sleep apart as they age is that snoring worsens, which is more likely to drive them apart. Snoring worsens with age for both men and women. 

For men, snoring largely increases with age because of weight gain. As men get older and less active, they are likely to gain more weight, contributing to snoring. Fat deposits on the neck can compress the airway more, and fat deposits on the tongue fill more airway space, resulting in a narrowed airway. This airway is also more likely to collapse completely, leading to sleep apnea–more about this later. In addition, reduced exercise can lead to less muscle tone, contributing to a sagging and closing airway.

For women, hormonal changes make a bigger impact on snoring. Young women have a much lower snoring rate than men their age, except during pregnancy. However, during menopause a woman’s risk of snoring increases until it’s almost equal that of men. Weight gain can also contribute to a woman’s increased risk of snoring. 

If you find your snoring has worsened, we recommend scheduling a consultation with an Omaha sleep dentist to evaluate the possible risks to your health. 

Physical Intimacy Is a Lower Priority

Another reason couples choose to sleep apart is that physical intimacy matters less to older couples. It’s true that older couples tend to have less sex than younger, newlywed couples, but that’s not the entire story. As couples bond over time they can establish deeper relationships built on emotional intimacy that helps bind them in addition to physical intimacy. 

In addition, long-married couples often negotiate their relationship in ways that may not rely on the simple fact of physical closeness to ensure both partners are happy in their relationship. 

Unfortunately, a loss of libido, sexual dysfunction, and decreased sexual pleasure are also symptoms of sleep apnea, commonly associated with snoring. If you find that a snorer has simply lost sexual drive or can’t enjoy sex, please schedule an appointment with an Omaha sleep dentist to evaluate potential causes. 

Empty Nesters Have More Space

In addition, older couples are more likely to be able to sleep apart. Younger couples focused on building a family may set aside all the space in the home for children. However, as they get older and children move out to attend college, then live independently, older couples may find they have more unused space to convert to a separate bedroom.

Nor is this just related to children. A couple where one or both partners has retired might find that a home office is better. 

Before You Sleep Apart: Three Key Considerations

So, if you’re a couple considering sleeping apart, how do you make your separate sleeping arrangements? There are three key considerations to ensure your new sleep solution works for you.

Test for Sleep Apnea

First, it’s important that any snorer should get tested for sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a potentially deadly condition that often accompanies loud snoring. Before attempting any solution that addresses the sound of snoring, you need to know if your snoring is harmless or harmful

Testing for sleep apnea can help you live a longer, healthier, and happier life. People with sleep apnea tend to die years earlier than people without it. Sleep apnea also leads to numerous health problems that can make life harder, even if it doesn’t make it shorter. This includes depression, a common symptom of sleep apnea. In addition, sleep apnea can decimate your retirement savings: older individuals with untreated sleep apnea may incur $20,000 more in medical bills per year than those without the condition. 

Head off these problems by having any snorers test for sleep apnea with an Omaha sleep dentist at the Advanced Dental Sleep Treatment Center. 

Make Sure It Will Work

Another important concern is ensuring that sleeping apart solves the snoring problem. Some people are such loud snorers that sleeping in another room is insufficient. The sound penetrates the walls, making it impossible to sleep. 

Before picking a room for sleeping apart, put a phone set to detect snoring in that room. If the phone can still detect snoring from there, either choose a different room or investigate snoring treatment instead. 

Make Sure You Both Agree

It’s also important to ensure you’re both onboard with this solution to the snoring problem. If one person decides to sleep apart without talking to the other, it can create just as much conflict as the snoring. It can make the left-behind partner feel abandoned and/or insulted. 

Take the time to talk about this approach to dealing with snoring. Faced with being left alone at night, many snorers would rather seek treatment for snoring, even if they hadn’t been willing to consider it before. 

Snoring Treatment in Omaha

It’s important to understand that effective snoring solutions do exist. You might have tried over-the-counter solutions, crazy fads, anti-snoring pillows, etc. However, until you’ve tried actual prescription snoring treatment, you should not give up on snoring treatment. 

To learn how our sleep dentists can help you, please call (402) 493-4175 or use our online form to request an appointment at the Advanced Dental Sleep Treatment Center, serving Omaha from our office in North Park.