Women sleeping in bed alone

Sleep Divorce: Sleep Apnea’s Attack on Bedroom Cohesion

cardiogram Heart Health, Sleep

Sleep, which we know is critical for optimal heart health and overall well-being, is also important for maintaining cohesion in the bedroom. If one partner in a co-sleeping couple is consistently tossing and turning, snoring, or generally waking up throughout the night, (all of which are common with sleep apnea) it’s likely that the other partner’s sleep will also be disrupted.

Eventually, this can result in what’s been dubbed in recent years as “sleep divorce,” which has the potential to cause resentment and strain in your relationship.

What is sleep divorce?

Sleep divorce describes the practice of sleeping separately from your partner in order to improve sleep quality. And it’s been shown that in recent years, the number of cohabitating couples choosing to sleep in separate beds has risen. One large reason for this? The increasing number of folks who are suffering from sleep apnea.

How does sleep apnea contribute to sleep divorce?

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes a cessation of breathing during sleep temporarily, but repeatedly. While this can be a jolting experience, it’s also very common for this condition to go unnoticed by the sufferer themselves.

However, sleep apnea is often accompanied by loud gasping, snoring, or even choking. Whether or not the person with sleep apnea is aware that their sleep is being disrupted, their partner is sure to be impacted by it. In fact, many partners of sleep apnea sufferers are woken up multiple times throughout the night. Of course, this disjointed sleep then consequently negatively impacts the partner’s day as well, leading to fatigue, irritability, and other negative side effects of sleep deprivation.

This can eventually create feelings of frustration and resentment within the relationship, leading to conflicts during the day. On the other end, the person with sleep apnea can wind up feeling embarrassed or ashamed about their condition, resulting in even more emotional strain on the relationship.

With this being the case, many partners of sleep apnea sufferers will eventually choose to sleep in separate bedrooms. Which isn’t all bad. In fact, some couples wind up discovering that sleeping separately is ideal for them for multiple reasons. However, for others, it can have some negative impacts, such as loss of physical intimacy and closeness, or embarrassment due to social stigmas.

How can I improve sleep quality to avoid sleep divorce?

If the idea of sleep divorce doesn’t feel right for your relationship, but you’ve found yourself running out of options, don’t give up hope! There are several ways you can use Cardiogram to improve your situation.

check your report card

Your Cardiogram app tells you your risk of sleep apnea. If you’re not sure whether or not you have this sleep disorder, but find that you and your partner’s sleep is disrupted when together, see where your risk level lies.

schedule a consultation with ognomy

If you find that your risk level is moderate to high, we recommend that you set up a virtual medical consultation with our partner, Ognomy, a virtual platform that offers remote sleep apnea testing, diagnosis, and treatment. You’ll be matched with one of their board-certified sleep apnea medicine specialists who can determine whether or not you’d benefit from a sleep study, and which treatment options would be best for you. You can learn more about our partnership with Ognomy here.

Tag your sleep

Use our automated sleep tags or create your own. Then go through your Tag Insights to see if you can spot any patterns of particular triggers or events that cause particularly disrupted sleep.


By taking notes when symptoms arise, you and your doctor will be at an advantage, able to connect otherwise seemingly unrelated circumstances. Because of this, in addition to the tagging in your heart rate graph, noting what you were doing and how you were feeling at the time of the symptom in your journal is very helpful. 

Enroll in SLEEP HYGIENE habits

Let Cardiogram be your sleeping accountability buddy to make sure you’re doing everything you can to get good quality sleep. Join thousands of other members by choosing from our “No coffee after 2pm,” “No blue light before sleep,” or our “7 hours of sleep” habits.

Taking notes of activities you engage in, people you see, and foods you eat throughout the day can also be helpful in pinpointing things that trigger worse sleep.


Cardiogram app shown on phone and smart watch


Cardiogram app shown on phone and smart watch