Pop Culture dictionary

sleep divorce

[ sleep dih-vawrs ]

What is a sleep divorce?

Sleep divorce is a term that refers to the decision of a couple to sleep in separate places, such as separate beds or separate rooms.

The phrase sleep divorce is used to describe the decision by a couple who live together to sleep in separate places. Usually, the phrase refers to the couple sleeping in separate beds or separate rooms.

Although it uses the word divorce, sleep divorce is typically not used to imply the couple do not like being together. In most cases, the couple decide to sleep separately for practical reasons. For example, the couple may be on different sleep schedules or one person may move around a lot during sleep.

The phrase sleep divorce occasionally gains wider awareness when it is used by a celebrity or when used in a mainstream media article.

Where does sleep divorce come from?

sleep divorce white/blue text yellow background

The phrase sleep divorce includes the word divorce, which usually refers to the breakup of a marriage or to married partners separating from each other. In sleep divorce, the word divorce is used figuratively to refer to a couple physically separating from each other in order to sleep in different places.

The situation of couples sleeping in separate places predates the term sleep divorce. The exact origin of the phrase sleep divorce is unknown, but one of the earliest uses of the phrase appeared in a 2013 news article cited by an article on Huffington Post that repeated the phrase.

Since 2013, the phrase sleep divorce has repeatedly appeared in mainstream media articles about sleep research and the effect that a lack of sleep can have on relationships.

Examples of sleep divorce

My partner's snoring has reached legendary levels. I think it's time for a sleep divorce. 😂 #snoring #sleeplessnights
@HealthInfo123, August 23, 2023
The group's survey of 2,005 adults in the U.S. found that 43% of millennials engage in sleep divorce, followed by 33% of those in Generation X, 28% of those in Generation Z and 22% of baby boomers.
Sara Moniuszko, CBS News, July 11, 2023

Who uses sleep divorce?

Sleep divorce is not a commonly known term. On social media, it is most often used by people who have encountered the term through media articles.

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This is not meant to be a formal definition of sleep divorce like most terms we define on Dictionary.com, but is rather an informal word summary that hopefully touches upon the key aspects of the meaning and usage of sleep divorce that will help our users expand their word mastery.