Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Why I Stopped Sleeping with my Husband

I am a bad sleeper. 

Some months and years are better than others, but since childhood I’ve often been restless or awake while the rest of the household sleeps. I’m one who takes it upon herself to solve the world’s problems in the wee morning hours, and is embarrassingly familiar with late-night infomercials. With all of the research about getting less than 6 hours shortening one’s life, it’s enough to make a bad sleeper lose even more sleep. 

A few years ago, realizing how important sleep is to overall health, I decided that instead of just trying to power through on grit and caffeine, I’d make an effort to get a few more hours each night.

First, my husband and I switched to a king-sized bed, hoping the extra space would help. We plotted out our territories, leaving a hefty margin in the middle that no one dared cross. It worked for a while, but then I found myself pregnant at age 46 (I guess there had been some crossing). Pregnancy, nursing, pumping, and all of the nighttime waking disrupted whatever tenuous grasp I had on precious sleep. Our baby was an amazing gift, but I was fried, again.

And just when I thought things couldn’t get worse, menopause set in. Enter night sweats and frequent trips to the bathroom to squeeze out a whopping 3 drops of pee. My eye shades, noise machine, and essential oils were no match for this new stage of life. I tossed, turned, growled, and occasionally reached out to kick my snoring husband, but I did not sleep.


When our toddler started waking in the night after a family trip, I’d had it. We would bring him into our bed, and while he and my husband fell right back to sleep, I’d stare at the ceiling fretting that if I Iet my guard down, our son would roll off the bed or get tangled in the covers. And what about world hunger and nuclear proliferation? Everyone knows that worrying is worse at night. 

Soon I took to slipping out as soon as our little one joined us. I’d find refuge on the living room couch or the floor of the basement. I knew it made no sense that I could fall asleep more quickly in these less than comfy places than in my own bed, but the change of location seemed to break the “It’s 3 am and I know I will never sleep again” worry cycle. 

Recently, we dragged a mattress to the floor of the basement, and I now have a more comfortable refuge. Sometimes I go there in the middle of the night; other times I scoot down as soon as everyone else goes to sleep. Even when our toddler sleeps through the night, there is something about being completely “off duty” that helps me sleep more soundly. I can pop a melatonin if I want. The cool, dark basement means less sweating, and when I wake at night I’m able to convince my bladder that the long trip upstairs to the bathroom just isn’t worth it.

Would I rather be snuggling with my husband in our own bed? Sure. But in nearly 26 years together, we’ve learned that there are stages to a marriage. I’m sure Tim would rather sleep alone than have a sweaty, seething menopausal woman next to him concocting ways to murder him in his (blissful) sleep. I’m not kidding, that man smiles as he dreams. It’s infuriating.

As for the impact fleeing the marital bed has on our sex life? Well, with a teen who stays up late, and a toddler who wakes up early, I’d say our opportunities are already rather limited. However, aiming for 6 hours of sleep a night can’t help but improve my mood, if you know what I mean.

15 comments:

Suburban Correspondent said...

Seriously - if my husband's snoring wakes me up right after I fall asleep, NOTHING will enable me to get back to sleep in that same bed. Often I end up sleeping on my yoga mat on the floor of our bedroom. No idea why that works, but there it is...

Ann said...

This makes me laugh so much. Because it is so true. I just turned 57 and had my last child when I was 41. I so get this! xo

Mary said...

OMG - I totally get it. I don't have the toddler, but everything else spoke to me!

Jennifer G said...

I full-on moved to the guest room last year, and it has been glorious! I love having my own room, and my marriage is better than ever (it's amazing how removing the seething resentment at my husband's snoring from my life helped my attitude towards him and us). The idea of couples sleeping in the same bed is a total social construct anyway, so why not buck the system if it makes you happy?

Pat said...

I am in OUR bed most of the time, although it requires a lot of pre-bed planning. Earplugs? check. Fan blowing high all the year round?,check! George Winston cd to aid in drifting off?,check! sleeping au naturale with no covers? check! Husband under sheets, 2 blankets and a thick spread... don't care! IT has been this way for almost 10 years and I just DO NOT care...... and obviously he doesn't either, because he actually bought me a travel fan that I can pack in a suitcase!

Ladies, we need to do whatever works to get through the night, and Anna, as usual , you keep it real!!!


Shannon J. said...

I am so glad I am not the only one who finds leaving most comfortable bed for less comfortable place is helpful! We did do the switch to a king bed with a move and hope that the new couch works as well as the old one for getting me back to sleep...no basement though!

Anonymous said...

Quiet, peaceful sleep alone sounds wonderful! My 7 year old still likes to sneak in bed in the middle of the night. Between her and my husband, the bed hog and over-cuddler, I'm always squished, too hot or uncomfortable under someone's sprawling limbs.

Angie said...

Oh, girrrllll...you MUST buy yourself some Young Living "Progessence Plus Serum" oil. I call it my "Sanity Serum." https://www.youngliving.com/en_US/products/progessence-plus-serum It's helped TREMENDOUSLY with the night sweats, mood swings, etc. It's rather spendy, but worth every cent, in my opinion. I actually order two to ensure that I never run out! Menopause sucks. I'm not a YL fan and don't order anything else from them, in fact. But the Progessence Plus? Gotta have it. I order the rest of my oils from www.hopewelloils.com :)
PS - I don't normally tell other women what to do, but menopause relief demands it. ;)

Gigi said...

Hey, whatever works! I know that if I don't get in bed and fall asleep before my husband I will never get to sleep because of his snores. He, on the other hand, has figured out that if he doesn't come to bed soon after I'm asleep he'll most likely be in the guest room because I will have commandeered the whole bed. Ahhh marriage! ;-)

Anonymous said...

I too sleep in another bedroom than my husband. I go to bed a solid three hours after him, and he wakes a solid 4 hours before me, not to mention the snoring. I sleep so much better by myself.

Steph said...

It is so terrible when you can't get back to sleep. If I wake up and can't get back to sleep I'll put it in my earbuds on low volume to a tv show on my Netflix app on my phone. I turn the phone over so I can't see light from the screen. It distracts my mind usually enough so that I can get back to sleep. Wishing you much good sleep!

www.robinbotie.com said...

I love every bit of this. Thank you. I know.

Mona Reed said...

I got married last year and the worse part of it all is that my husband snores, since starting his job last August, it has gotten so bad that impossible for me to sleep with him. I have tried everything, I have insomnia so when I get the little bit of sleep I need to manage my day; I am up cause of his snoring. We are now sleeping in separate quarters of the house. I am quite sure this may bother some people but for me I am okay with this. I am very content with having my own room again. He seems much happier as he not getting hit to stop snoring.This is my norm.

Anonymous said...

I have always thought the emphasis placed on sleeping in the same bed to be bizarre. Actual sleeping and sex are two completely separate acts and a couple can have a wonderful marriage with fulfillment in both categories while still having two rooms (and separate bathrooms). If anything, it helps maintain a sense of mystery and privacy away from the household routine. My husband and I have four children and slept in the same bed for the first ten years of our marriage, but I am a total middle-of-the-bed sleeper and night-owl while he is an occasional snorer and light sleeper, and we now sleep in separate rooms which share a little sitting area between them. I can tell you it was the best decision we ever made. We can still sleep in the same bed when we want to do so; we spend the time in the evening before we go to sleep together, and we still (ahem) sleep together quite frequently. Each marriage and sleeping situation is unique, and ours has worked quite happily for 42 years now. (Our two youngest children were born after we started sleeping in separate rooms if anyone needs physical proof!) :)

Dawn said...

Oh I know what you mean. I've been permanently located to the guest room and I love it. Except when we have guests, and then I move back in with husband. But before I moved to the guest room I'd slip out too and sleep on the sofa, or the floor of another room. Eventually I couldn't sleep at all, with him snoring and me worrying about work, until I moved. So I just moved and it's a wonderful thing. I don't know who ever wrote the rule that married people have to sleep in the same bed.