Husband Who Sleeps In A Tent While His Wife Sleeps In Their Bed Says Their Marriage Is As Strong As Ever

How the unconventional sleeping arrangements have changed his outlook on life.

man in tent, woman sleeping in bed Annie Spratt and Acton Crawford / Unsplash

Rich Roll, an athlete and podcaster, has been sleeping in a tent outside of his home for almost two years now while his wife sleeps in their bed — but he says it's not an indication of their marital status.

For at least five years, Roll has slept in a tent separate from his wife of over 20 years.

"Sleep divorces" are becoming increasingly common for couples, and have been proven to improve health, increase intimacy and encourage a deeper connection. While this typically means couples sleep in separate bedrooms, Roll explained why he decided to leave the house altogether in favor of a tent.


"Being outdoors, breathing that outdoor air, sleeping under the stars is a very simple and basic way of reconnecting with what it means to be fundamentally human," Roll said in a YouTube video explaining these sleeping arrangements.

Roll is a former lawyer and a recovering alcoholic who changed his life when he was 40 years old by switching to a plant-based diet, losing 50 pounds, and completing a three-day double Ironman Triathlon — that's a 6.2-mile swim, 260-mile bike, and 52.5-mile run — in Hawaii. He’s written a memoir, titled “Finding Ultra,” which details his transformations, and also talks about it on his self-titled podcast.


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Before he started sleeping outside for good, he slept the way any conventional person would — inside, in bed with his wife, Julie Piatt.

However, Piatt prefers a warmer sleeping environment, so their sleeping conditions weren’t always compatible.

"No matter how much we would try to compromise to make it good for both of us, Julie would always be bundled up under a ton of covers, and I'm sleeping on top of the covers sweating," he told Tim Ferriss on an episode of "The Tim Ferriss Show" podcast, "And then neither of us sleeps, and we get up and we're not happy."

One night, he and Piatt were hanging out with their four kids on their roof — projecting movies on the wall, eating popcorn, and ended up sleeping in sleeping bags.


"I woke up the next day just feeling amazing from the outdoor air and the cool desert air of Los Angeles," Roll said. "And I was like, 'I can't remember the last time I slept so well.'"

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As such, he did it again, and again, and when he got tired of waking up in the morning dew, he decided he would just put a tent up on the roof. When a windy day threatened to launch him and the tent off the roof, he moved it to his yard, where he's been sleeping ever since — even furnishing the inside of the tent with a mattress and plenty of blankets.

"I just love it," he told Ferriss of sleeping in a tent. "It's really been beneficial to my sleep."




Sleeping in a tent has improved his outlook on life and is not a sign that his marriage is on the rocks.

"If everything went terribly wrong, and I lost everything, I know that I'm happy sleeping in a tent, and I don't really need that much ultimately," he explained to Ferriss.

And for the people who think it means his marriage is failing, he assures their relationship is in a good place.


"We have our quality time, I promise you," he told Ferriss. "Everything is fine in my marriage."

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Isaac Serna-Diez is a writer who focuses on entertainment and news, social justice, and politics.