Cameron Diaz wants to ‘normalise’ sleeping in separate bedrooms – could it help your relationship?

Cameron Diaz Wants To ‘Normalise’ Sleeping In Separate Bedrooms – Could It Help Your Relationship?
Cameron Diaz, © PA Archive/PA Images
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By Lauren Taylor, PA

Actor Cameron Diaz has said we need to “normalise” married couples sleeping in different bedrooms, or even having separate houses.

The Charlie’s Angels star was speaking on the Lipstick on the Rim podcast, which she appeared on with her wine brand business partner, Katherine Power.


The 51-year-old, who is married to Good Charlotte musician Benji Madden, said: “We should normalise separate bedrooms. To me, I would literally, I have my house, you have yours, we have a family house in the middle. I will go and sleep in my room. You go to sleep in your room. I’m fine.”

Diaz has a three-year-old daughter with Madden, 44, who she married in 2015.

“By the way, I don’t feel that way now because my husband is so wonderful,” she told hosts Molly Sims and Emese Gormley, People magazine reported. “I said that before I got married.”


Still, she might have a point. Some relationship experts have been touting the benefits to both your partnership and your sleep, when it comes to having separate bedrooms.

In a 2020 TED talk, US sleep medicine specialist Wendy Troxel said when sleep is measured objectively, people actually sleep worse with a partner.

“In fact, if you sleep with someone who snores, you can blame them for up to 50% of your sleep disruptions,” she said. “But when you ask those disrupted sleepers, ‘Do you prefer to sleep with your partner or do you prefer to sleep alone?’, most say that they prefer to sleep with their partner. This suggests that our social brain is prioritising our need for closeness and security at night – even when it comes at a cost to our sleep.”

While a 2016 study by Paracelsus Medical University in Germany found sleep issues and relationship problems tend to occur at the same time. And another 2013 study by the University of California, Berkeley, found one partner’s sleepless night caused by disturbances from the other partner can result in relationship conflict the next day. “Couples experience more frequent and severe conflicts after sleepless nights,” said study lead author, Amie Gordon.


So is it just a cultural expectation that we sleep next to partners? And rather than an indicator of relationship troubles, could it actually be a positive thing?

A couple in bed

“I have done a lot of research on this subject, and I always get asked by clients whether sleeping separately to their partner would be hugely beneficial. My answer is ‘yes’ – as your partner can often be the cause of a bad night’s sleep,” said sleep expert Joy Richards.


“I think there is a stigma behind couples sleeping separately, with many suggesting it is a sign that a permanent separation is on the way, but if anything, it probably helps a relationship build as your mood will be improved throughout the day.

“You won’t be able to blame your partner for keeping you awake with their tossing, turning or snoring.”

The term sleep divorce has even become a well-known phrase as a way for couples to stay together – but not sleep together.

Richards added: “I think this stigma needs to be addressed, as sleep divorce is extremely common in the UK, but you often think the worst when you hear that a couple sleep separately.”

Plus, lack of sleep can negatively affect your health. Regularly falling short of enough kip can raise your risk of serious health issues like heart disease, diabetes and depression. A bad night’s sleep can also affect your productivity at work, make you irritable and, ultimately, cause tensions in your relationships during the daytime.

In fact, a study from the University of California, Berkeley, found that over time, sleep deprivation can leave couples “too tired to say thanks” and can make one or the other partner feel unappreciated.

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