Sleeping with your bed partner

How did you guys handle sleeping with a bed partner? Every time I get sleep he would move and I would be wide awake. I did sleepio course before and sleep counseling while sleeping in a separate bedroom but it really put stress on our relationship. It was like we were just roommates. My sleep did improve while I was sleeping alone but as soon as I tried to sleep in the same bed as my husband, the insomnia all came back. I think it is now worse than ever. So I am desperate and I have a 1 yr old to take care of during the day. I am trying the sleepio course again but this time remaining in the same bed as my husband. However, I am not sleeping. Any advice is appreciated

Posted 6 Feb 2013 at 10:05 AM
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  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    This is a vexed question that requires a lot of mutual understanding. I've been very fortunate as I have an extremely supportive and understanding partner. I have, quite selfishly? concentrated on the sleep thing. Now I'm much better things are back to normal. Everyone gains.
    Isn't in all your longer term interests to find a solution to your sleep problem and needs you both working (even if not sleeping) together. Perhaps, green tangle, you need to talk about priorities?

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    My partner likes to watch shows on his ipad till the wee hours of the morning. He'll do it with his headphones on, so he thinks it shouldn't bother me. I sleep with an eye mask on, but just 'knowing' it's on next to me bothers me, it's almost like my skin can sense the energy of the flashing images. Does that sound weird? Then he'll sleep half the day and I have trouble getting out of bed because it's too cold and laying next to him is warmer. I don't want to blame my sleep problems on him, but at the same time I feel it's hindering, not helping the situation. Now it's nearly 1am, he's loudly munching on an apple and he's watching a show. Help! What do I do? I can't sleep anywhere else, it's too small in here. I don't know what to do….

  • Sleepio Member

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    I found that changing the bed from a normal double to a super king sized bed has worked wonders. I'm still working hard on the course, and have a long way to go, but the problems of trying to sleep with my 6ft 3, 17 stone partner in a bed that was just too small, has been easily rectified. If you have the space, and can afford it, I can strongly recommend a super king sized bed!

  • Sleepio Member

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    I stopped sleeping with my late husband about 9 years ago because my snoring bothered him. He passed away 4 years ago and I have since met a wonderful man who loves me but…...I can't sleep with him!! I really want to and I do try but I start feeling anxious as soon as we go to bed and lay awake most of the night. Usually I end up going to another room to sleep. I'm really hoping this program will help with sleeping in general and sleeping with my boyfriend (who is moving in this spring so I really want this resolved). Most nights I wake at least 4 times through the night and sometimes take an hour or more to fall back asleep. So frustrating!!

  • Sleepio Member

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    Someone suggested separate duvets, that has made such a difference for me.

  • Sleepio Member

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    My partner and started sleeping in separate rooms because our sleep patterns were so different. This was well before I did the sleepio course but we still do. We like it! It means we can both go to bed and get up when we want, and if we wake in the night there is no problem about putting the light and/or radio on. I always go through to his room in the morning once I know he is awake (he sleeps longer than I do) for a cuddle, etc!

  • Sleepio Member

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    Congratulations on your new relationship and plans to live together, especially after the sad years after losing your husband. I think it might be good not to put pressure on yourself about the importance of actually literally sleeping side by side. It would be nice if you achieve that eventually but maybe work on your insomnia first. You can still share a bed for the important relationship stuff :) ..... But maybe sleep separately until all the anxiety about insomnia is sorted.
    My sleep is loads better now after Sleepio but I'm still easily disturbed by my husband's restlessness or worry about disturbing him myself. We have a super size bed that has 2 separate mattresses zipped together and separate duvets. It really helps be together but separate. Though we have no problem with going back to different rooms if I have insomnia blips.
    I wish you all the best. Keep us up to date with how you're going on. X

  • Sleepio Member

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    Session 5

    I'm also having issues sleeping with my partner. At the moment we live in separate houses, so she only sleeps over around 3 times a week, but on these nights I sleep poorly, wake up often and have trouble falling back asleep. She is a very quiet sleeper and doesn't move around a lot at all, however just knowing that someone else is in the bed is causing me to worry about sleeping. It could be anybody else, it almost feels as if just the fact that they are there is putting pressure on me to go to sleep. Does anyone have any suggestions? Separate blankets is a good one.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    That's really thoughtful of you, worrying more about the effect on your partner than you are about your own sleeplessness. If you can't get back to sleep, then it's best to get out of bed till you feel sleepy again. The worst thing to do is to lie there desperately trying to sleep, worrying about fidgeting and disturbing her, and feeling despair about your sleep.
    As you progress through the course there are tools to help you deal with those negative thought spirals, as well as the work on consolidating your sleep. The CBT approach is very powerful alongside the work on improving sleep, but it does take time. You may not get the sleep you want for another few weeks, but be reassured that the change does stick.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Hi ikaboka,
    I realize that having your partner over 3 times a week may mean you might not appreciate the following idea, which is to sleep in separate beds, if available. A number of members have done just that as that they go through the program and have found that it relieves their anxiety about sleep somewhat so they can focus on improving their sleep. Just something for consideration. This of course doesn't mean one can't have their “snuggle” time in bed together, it just means removing yourself from the bed and sleeping somewhere else.
    anniem

  • Sleepio Member

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    Session 5

    Thank you for all of your comments, Marie Elaine and Anniem. I find that a big problem is that some nights I am actually able to get a decent sleep (6 hours) and others I lie there awake. So I never know what to expect and always try think that I will get some decent sleep (although that doesnt always happen). Unfortunately I don't have another bed room in the house, so we cannot sleep in different beds.
    Perhaps Marie Elaine, your suggestion is best – to get up out of bed and come back when I am more relaxed and tired.

  • Sleepio Member

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    A king size bed has made a huge difference for me because with it I am not able to feel the mattress move if he's restless at all. I also feel less self-conscious about my own restlessness possibly waking him up, even though he sleeps like a rock. His snoring is still an issue for me though – working on that one as ear plugs hurt my ears after more than one night.

  • Sleepio Member

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    I have found that having a king size bed essential. if on holiday we always try for twin beds. My husband has frequent nightmares or noisy dreams so space is crucial. also earplugs!

  • Sleepio Member

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    Hi denised, its worth shopping around online for different types of ear plugs. There are some (sorry I don't know the name) that are yellow and pink stripy and VERY soft and squidgy. I find they don't work as well as the SCAN ones that are like little orange bullets, but I change between the two types to give my ears a rest.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Marie Elaine, I will look for the yellow and pink stripey ones. I tried the clear silicone ones last night that I think were gentler though harder to get in place since they don't fit in the ear the same way.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Insomnia in the double bed has been a real problem for me for. To get back in the double bed, with Sleep window ending 5.30am I needed an alarm to make sure I didn't overshoot it some days. But not waking up my wife. Even a vibration alarm under the pillow woke her. But I found a Casio watch alarm £27 in Argos with Vibration alarm function seems to work for me. Maybe this info could be useful for someone.

  • Sleepio Member

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    My husband is a real fidget in bed. He falls asleep before his head hits the pillow and will sleep for weeks if it was not for the alarm clock (ok for some isn't ?). He throws himself around the bed all night and it really disturbs me (he has some sensory/neurological problems in that all movements he does are exaggerated so a gentle roll over is impossible for him). I have suggested separate beds but he gets annoyed and says we may as well not be married if we do that. He does not see it as his problem and states I am the light sleeper, empathy is a major problem for him. Tbh it is not so much that I am a light sleeper it is that he is such an aggressive fidget. His fidgeting is not the root cause of my worst sleep problems but it does not help. It has disturbed me for many years so maybe it was inevitable that I would end up with major sleep problems eventually. I would love separate beds (or rooms would be even better). Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Hi sleepypuss, I haven't been on here for a long while, but I had to offer something to your plea as I think it must be incredibly challenging for you. I'm one of the lucky ones with a supportive spouse. Here are a couple of suggestions based on our experience:

    1. Sleeping separately doesn't have to be forever…your husband could think of it as a short-term treatment for you…and it will benefit you both. We slept separately during the course and for several weeks afterwards. This was crucial for my ability to complete the course as my husband twitches all night, and once I'm awake, I can't get back to sleep. After the course (well it took about 6 months to be honest, but it did work…the brain just takes time to retrain), my sleep is much better and I can now sleep through his smaller twitches and can get back to sleep after his larger ones (using sleepio and sleep meditation techniques). When I am well rested, I am happier and easier to live with…so sleeping apart has benefits to both of us. Maybe it would help your husband to know that others have gone through the training with separate beds, but have been able to sleep together once sleep has improved. We still occasionally sleep separately if I have had a couple of bad nights in a row. Then it's all the nicer when we get to share.

    2. If that doesn't work, have you tried separation within the bed? We find that separate quilts really helps--when he twitches the cover off, I notice much less if I have my own quilt. I also found that having a thin extra mattress (a thermarest) on my side added some separation that kept him on his side even during his sleep. We tried putting a divider between us, but it was a bit intrusive. Separate quilts seems the easiest step. You can even put yours on once he's asleep, so he wouldn't even notice.

    I see that you're in week 3. The next few weeks will be very challenging, particularly without support at home. Ask for help from the sleepio community if you need it. I don't check up here very much any more, but if you write a question to my profile, it'll come into my personal email and I will respond.

    Good luck, Karen P

  • Sleepio Member

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    We have also gone back to blankets instead of a duvet as I'm always hot. We have one blanket that covers the whole bed and 4 individual throws and move them during the night as necessary. We're both amazed at how this small change helps, no more laying under a huge duvet sweating to death or throwing it off and freezing 10 minutes later!

  • Sleepio Member

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    I really relate to this. My husband and I actually slept separately for an extended period of time, which helped me. Unfortunately, he began to grow resentful (the futon was not the most comfortable for him and the “temporary” arrangement was becoming long term) so we bought a king bed. This has been a good start, but now all I can hear is his breathing! It's not really a snore, more of just a heavy breathing which I get fixated on. I have a sound machine and I tried ear plugs. The plugs are good, but I want to be able to hear our preschooler on the 2nd floor when she cries out. So, I'm struggling but planning to try the “conditioning” method of recording his breathing and playing it so that I become “immune” to it.

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