Why The Crown has us talking about sleep divorce

December 9, 2020 5 mins read
Why The Crown has us talking about sleep divorce

It’s what most of us can’t stop talking about, from brushing up on our British royal history to reliving tragic events, Season 4 of The Crown has definitely got us raising a lot of question marks.

Recently revealed to the world, we’ve got a glimpse into the sleeping lives of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip – they sleep in separate rooms. As sleep experts, we’re diving a little deeper into the monarchy of sleep to uncover the snoozing situation of the royal family. Are they centuries ahead of the latest sleep trend or did Margaret Thatcher get it right when she said: “Those that sleep apart, grow apart.”?

Let’s find out.

The age of the sleep divorce

In England of old, sleeping in separate bedrooms was considered a custom for the upper class and wealthy. It’s said that the royals adhered to this practice not only because of tradition but also to ensure that each night of sleep was uninterrupted by their bedfellow’s sleep habits.

This has led us to ask the question: is a sleep divorce only adhered to by the most aristocratic, or are we finding that this practice is leaning into modern households?

As it turns out, more and more couples are seeking out sleep divorces in pursuit of a good night’s sleep.

What is a sleep divorce?

Many couples (aristocratic or not) who interrupt each other’s nightly rest have found the sweet solace in sleeping apart. It’s seen to not only get them 8 hours of quality shut-eye but has also been said to bring them closer together as a couple.

So if your partner has an annoying habit of keeping you up at night, be it from snoring, stealing the covers, or even late-night shift work that sees them “creep” into bed just as you’ve finally gone to sleep, these may be reasons you’ll want to enter into a sleep divorce.

Would you consider a sleep divorce?

We know that there are many benefits to co-sleeping, but if your partner’s sleeping annoyances start affecting your waking hours, it might be time to consider taking a break from sharing a bed.

Poor sleeping habits can increase the production of cortisol (stress hormone), and when you’re inflicting your sleeping habits on your partner or vice versa, you may start seeing your relationship suffer, through conflicts or just pure lack of sleep.

So where would a sleep divorce be most helpful?

As it turns out, women are more likely to suggest a sleep divorce as they’re more sensitive to sleep disruptions (and we know that if the Queen has parted sleeping ways with Prince Philip, there must be a good method to this madness).

Whether because of hormonal changes, period fatigue, pregnancy, and age, getting good sleep is sometimes (from a woman’s needs) a solo affair. As the saying goes “happy wife, happy life,” so if your other half is asking for a co-sleeping time-out, it could be beneficial for your relationship.

Pros and cons of a sleep divorce

Is a sleep divorce the key to good sleep and a great relationship, or are there are more cons than pros in sleep-splitsville?

Pro: limits sleep disruptions

Sleep disruptions can put a lot of strain on relationships. When you’re already under stress from work, life or parenting demands – and not sleeping well – you could end up taking this stress out on one another. Sleeping in separate bedrooms (even occasionally) to catch up on that shut-eye can help you limit disruptions and see you greeting the day (and each other) with a brighter outlook.

Con: can put a strain on your relationship

A sleep divorce can make a strained relationship worse. Communication is key in knowing why you’re opting for a sleep divorce. If your reasons are purely to escape your partner’s “vibe” then there may be bigger issues at hand, and changing sleeping arrangements could make it even worse. Remember, a sleep divorce is a method aimed at getting better, quality sleep, not to escape your relationship.

If you’re in a new relationship and are looking to keep things spicy, you may want to keep up the co-sleeping arrangements. When you’re sleeping with a partner, vasopressin (a love hormone) is released, which helps bond you to one another. This is a vital hormonal alliance that can also help you sleep more soundly, especially if you’re still new to each other.

Con: it’s not a quick-fix for a sleep issue

If you’re the one with sleep issues, you may still have disturbed sleep. Just because you’ve opted for a sleep separation doesn’t mean you’ve completely limited the effect of your sleep disruptions. Especially if you’re the one suffering from an underlying sleep disorder. Understanding the root of the problem to help diagnose and treat your sleeping issue should be the first step before departing on a sleep separation.

The Queen’s pre-bed routine.

Back to the Queen. Ever wondered what the sleeping habits of the Queen really look like? Check out these facts about HRH and her rules for getting quality shut-eye.

  • It’s said that she’s quite the night owl and retires to bed around midnight every night.
  • She enjoys a solo dinner of fish and veggies (almost every night), without any carbs.
  • Her bed is one of the most expensive beds in the world, with a price tag of more than £100,000.
  • HRH goes to sleep with a hot water bottle every night. This is said to give her comfort and ease aches and pains.
  • She enjoys a nightcap – a gin and Dubonnet or a dry Martini in the evening, followed by a glass of champagne before bed.

We don’t know about you, but we’d love to end our night with a glass of bubbly too… If only that were sleep expert-approved.

Whether you’re pro sleep divorce, or against it, your sleeping habits (no matter how extravagant they are, read: the cost of your bed) should always point to good sleep.