It’s the “dream” of most couples who marry, to be able to drift off together into a peaceful night’s sleep. And yet statistics show that close to 30% of all marriages are negatively impacted because of snoring. So, what do you do when there are snoring and other sleeping problems, and you just can’t get a good night’s sleep? Do you get separate bedrooms?
We’ve talked to quite a few couples who say that snoring is robbing them of being able to sleep together. We’ve been amazed at how many couples aren’t sleeping in the same room at night because of this problem. One wife told us that she had enough of sleepless nights and finally had to start sleeping in another bedroom because it was affecting her health.
Sleep, Health, and Snoring Issues
“Even though God designed us to need sleep, sleep problems are rarely considered major health epidemics. Yet Dr. James Maas, author of Power Sleep, says that sleep is a necessity, not a luxury. And it’s not just the amount of sleep that’s important, it’s also the type.
“Even if you’re in bed for ten hours, you may not be able to reach all the stages of sleep if you’re constantly jolted awake. You may awaken feeling as if you haven’t slept at all. And if you don’t reach all the stages of sleep, you’ll be prone to more viral infections, mood shifts, and emotional stress.” (Sheila Gregoire, from the Marriage Partnership article “When Sleeping Together Drives You Apart”)
Different Solutions to Snoring
We know of another wife who said that her husband finally found a solution that helped. He wears nasal strips on his nose at night. And thankfully, they seem to help stop his snoring! One brand is called “Breathe Right.” But we’re sure there are others.
My husband has tried those. And sometimes they work; but other times they don’t. Steve doesn’t snore every night. But when he does, it makes for a long night for me. Actually, it is for him as well. That’s because he doesn’t sleep as soundly on those nights. I’ve found that often by just nudging him to change sleeping positions, it often works to stop his snoring.
Sleep-deprivation from a Snoring Spouse
I used to get quite angry about it when he would snore. Sleep-deprivation and a bad attitude can do that sometimes. But then the Lord helped me to see that he wasn’t doing that on purpose. So by being mean towards him over this problem, I wasn’t helping things at all. I was just causing division between us. Plus, I was being disrespectful and unkind. That is just not acceptable. And it sure isn’t what God wants me to do!
Through time I’ve learned to be much kinder in how I nudge him. I am no longer elbowing him. I gently nudge him. And when that doesn’t work, I’ve used those times to pray for him and for others. The Lord impressed upon me to make the most of those times, “redeeming the time.” So that’s what I do!
I have to say that my husband feels terrible when his snoring causes problems for me. But I also have to say that his expressing sympathy helps in some ways. Saying “I’m sorry” goes a long way. It doesn’t solve everything, but it does help.
What if Health Issues are Involved?
Because Steve is an insulin-dependent Diabetic, he often has insulin reactions in the middle of the night. Sometimes he needs me to help him get through them. So, if for no other reason, my husband needs me to sleep by his side. His doctor let me know that this is a life/death situation. He needs me to be there, “just in case.” So, as his partner, some sleepless nights is a small price to pay for his better health. I’d much rather suffer from less sleep than have him go through a severe insulin reaction (or worse).
I know of many widows who would love to have a few sleepless nights in exchange for having their husbands by their side in their beds. I never want to take my husband for granted that he will always be here. But still, how do you live with this problem?
Truly, I’m not sure. I know that God is working within me and my husband through this problem to take it one night at a time. Talk to Him and He will give you wisdom, as well.
Below is an article that goes along with much of what I have learned. I hope it will help you, as well:
More Articles to Read
In addition, you will find several articles, which talk about this dilemma that many of us face. By reading them, I pray the Holy Spirit, our Wonderful Counselor, will guide you to learn how to best deal with this problem, so that it does not cause harm to your marriage relationship.
Marriage is a vehicle God uses to help us to live as Christ. We are to live in self-giving, sacrificial ways, for the betterment of all. Through this vehicle we reveal and reflect the heart of Christ in our everyday lives.
In learning how to deal with the “sleep” issue you are facing in your marriage, I encourage you to glean from the following articles. Look to see if any of the info mentioned can help you. This is not a “one-size-fits-all” issue. So don’t treat it as such. Pray, ask for wisdom, and use what you believe will help in your situation.
First, here’s a snoring article, written by Jayna Richardson, that gives great insight into this subject:
And then, Sheila Wray Gregoire offers some suggestions that may help you in your situation. She gives a lot of different “solutions” you might consider:
— ALSO —
I know this is a lot of reading for you to do. But the more you read, the more of a chance you have that you will find a solution (or several) that works for you.
With that said, the following link has a few additional suggestions you also might find helpful:
Sheila Wray Gregoire also wrote some insights on this sleeping issue, which sometimes causes spouses to sleep in separate bedrooms. The first is posted on her web site within a blog she terms as “Wifey Wednesday,” which can give insights to husbands on this matter, as well, and the second is a regular blog. I really appreciate what she wrote and hope you will too. Here’s the question she addresses, and another related subject:
Sleep Apnea Problems
We also know that Sleep Apnea can cause problems with snoring. Some people have found help as they wear a breathing apparatus when they settle down at night. That might be something you can ask your doctor.
And finally, there is another solution to this problem. Although we don’t highly recommend it, we do know of couples where it does work for them. You just need to make sure that you are both in agreement concerning this plan and you find ways to initiate being intimate with each other where both of you are satisfied. Otherwise temptations outside of the home may be more problematic, because of a loss of intimacy in not sleeping together.
In a Marriage Partnership Magazine article titled, “One Marriage, Two Beds” Deanna Hershiser, tells how she and her husband have battled their different sleeping patterns for years. They finally gave into sleeping apart. And it has been working for them just fine, other than the embarrassment that they experience when others find out that they are sleeping separately. In response to this problem…
“It’s like we’ve altered the rules of a secret society. We’ve besmirched a tradition dating back to Adam and Eve’s shared goatskin. Can our marriage be healthy? As in any committed union, Tim and I make our own special times. On nights away from home we cuddle honeymoon close. …Not having to deal with our varying sleep patterns so often, we’re less stressed out. I even suspect our disagreements get settled sooner since we’ve become more well-rested.
“Am I advocating a separate quarters campaign for couples? No way. In most cases, the marriage bed is just one of many areas where two people can compromise and come up with a working system. My dad and mom have managed, despite sleep disturbers ranging from hormonal hot flashes to deviated-septum snores, to spend 44 years of nights together in their queen-sized bed. For them it’s part of that cleaving to each other thing the Bible teaches.
“For others who’ve admitted slumbering apart keeps them from leaving, it might help to learn there is a quiet consensus about lone nighttime rituals. A recent study reported in Health magazine found two out of ten young adults prefer to sleep without their mates. Over age 65, the number of partners snoozing solitarily rises to five in ten. Apparently TV-sitcom writers don’t know there are couples who sleep asunder and stay together. They certainly don’t know Tim and me or the love we share all hours of the day. So I’ll keep hoping my neighbors won’t snicker when they overhear our son telling his friends Daddy spent last night on the couch. I’ll bet some of the married folks can relate to us, though, and take heart knowing they’re not alone in reaping double blessings by sleeping single.”
All of this is something that you and your spouse need to consider in dealing with your sleeping problems. But, for one more look at this issue, Paul Byerly, of The Generous Husband, weighs in on this same point:
I hope all of this helps in some way as you decide what works best in your marriage. Please though, if you have other suggestions to help spouses dealing with spousal sleeping issues, please write your comments below. We would sure appreciate it!
Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International is the author of this article.
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