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'Sleep divorce' may prevent the real thing

Snoring may seem like a relatively minor reason to get a divorce, but anyone who has tried to sleep in the same bed as a snorer might beg to differ. When you are trying to sleep after a long day, there is nothing worse than a spouse sawing logs inches away from you, or tossing and turning so much you cannot get comfortable.

An incompatible bed mate can cause sleep deprivation, which in turn can lead to irritability and fighting with your spouse. If things get bad enough, the relationship can be irreparably damaged.

Though the standard image of bedtime is of a married couple sharing a bed, more and more couples are turning to an alternative: separate beds. The Better Sleep Council and National Sleep Foundation estimate that a fourth of couples sleep in different beds, twice as many as in 2000. They call this phenomenon “sleep divorce,” an arrangement that may well have prevented many actual divorces in Texas and elsewhere.

This may sound like a good idea for many readers, but transitioning to separate beds can be surprisingly tricky. NBC News suggests the following tips:

  • Talk about it with your spouse first, so that your spouse does not feel abandoned.
  • Make sure to schedule “together time” in the evenings, to keep the intimacy going.
  • Consider medical options first. Heavy snoring could be a sign of a sleep disorder that a doctor could help improve.

Things that seem to be minor issues at first can lead to divorce if they cannot be resolved to each spouse’s satisfaction. When that happens, the spouses will want to preserve their rights with the assistance of an attorney.

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