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:
• HOW TO LOVE YOUR LOUD SNORING SPOUSE
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:
• DOES YOUR SPOUSE SNORE (Or Steal the Blankets)?
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:
• Is It Okay for a Husband and Wife to Sleep in Separate Bedrooms?
• When Your Husband Snores: What to Do About It
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.
More from Marriage Missions
Filed under: Assorted Marriage Issues
24 responses to “Separate Bedrooms, Snoring and Other Sleeping Problems”
(SOUTH AFRICA) My husband does snore a lot and even though he knows it, he often resists when I ask him to face to another direction when he sleeps. I often find it very difficult to fall asleep with him snoring and breathing heavily on my ear. I must admit, I get very irritated and actually resent him for it. I know he has this problem, but it would help if after making love, he would just turn and face away from me (without me telling him sometimes). That’s not an ideal situation, but it is better than me going to sleep in another room.
How can I make him understand that this is driving me crazy without being rude or without a fight? On top of all the problems we have, this snoring issue becomes a big deal too. Like I said, I have accepted the problem, but please dear God, help my husband to be able to turn his head away from my ear every night.
(US) Great post. I find the difficulties and choices made by couples in their sleeping habits to be fascinating. I’d love to read more on this topic. Here’s a recent article I particularly enjoyed on couples’ sleeping arrangements: http://burisonthecouch.wordpress.com/2009/11/24/zzzzzzzz/
I’d love to see more like it. Thanks!
(USA) Ok, I’ll admit it. I’m a female who, yessss SNORES!!!! I snore so badly that one time I kept 4 other women in my hotel room up all night while I slept. I also spent the night with the Vice President of the company I worked for. She was so excited to meet me, but the next night she drove all the way home. Why? Because of my snoring I’m certain. She drove 1 1/2 hours home and back the next day because my snoring was that bad.
Anyways, I am not overweight, and I come from a long family of snorers. My dad could knock the house down with his snoring. Anyways, its so bad that my husband has his own bedroom. He used to sleep in our closet on the floor, but with all the rooms in our house he found one and declared it his own room. I sleep upstairs in my room, and he sleeps downstairs in his room. We both have our own bathrooms also. It has definitely affected our marriage. I mean its like we live in apartments because of it. Our house is around 4000 square feet, and I live upstairs and he lives downstairs. Not good. Believe me.
(USA) My husband snores and I can no longer sleep in the same room with him. He thinks I should be able to stay in the bed anyway and just deal with it like other wives do. I need 9 hours sleep every nite to even function the next day. This is so irritating we fight ALL the time. It’s ruining my marriage and making me hate him for being so inconsiderate about wanting to get proper sleep for myself. He seems to think it’s my problem that I’m so sensitive to noise! Tried ear plugs- ear infections and don’t stay in ears. HELP! I’m sick of being told it’s my problem.
(USA) So we sufferers of partners who snore should be grateful that they snore? Don’t buy it. I resort to the couch many times. And sometimes I can hear him snoring the night away through a closed door. He says he can’t help it. Yes, yes, he can. Lose the weight. Over the years, as the weight has increased, so has his amount and loudness, increased, going from none to most of the night. I’m going to make one of the rooms into my room so I can get a little more sleep. (I don’t sleep comfortably on the couch and wake many times. But at least there’s no noise, for the most part.)
MY sleep is just as important, right? Or is the health of the non-snoring spouse unimportant and being there for him is? It DOES affect the relationsip. I’m grouchy and resentful for anything that has to do with him after a restless night. And I also drive while drowsy. But it’s not my fault I’m that way, is it? No more than he ‘can’t help snoring’.
Earplugs aren’t a solution. They don’t stay put, nor do they block out enough of the loudness to get to sleep or stay asleep. Being a helpmate and/or soulmate doesn’t mean one has to suffer from sleepless/restless nights. Being a helpmate and/or soulmate doesn’t mean your health isn’t as important as your spouse’s.
Sorry to be so negative about it, but if your husband snored almost continuously all night long, most every night no matter what position he’s in, I’m sure you’d not think of just a little nudge to help is useful. I KICK! I ELBOW! Sure, it wakes him SOMETIMES and I don’t care how mad it makes him. He made me mad first by ruining MY sleep, IF I was able to get to sleep. At least I’ve not suffocated him yet, but the thought HAS entered my mind several times. LOL (No, I’d never do that. But the thought of pushing him off the bed might come true… lol) Have to have some humor in all of it, since afterall, most of my brain is usually too blank to think straight nost of the time.
Separate bedrooms can be a path to disaster. Separate beds in the same room is also not a good plan. Loud snoring is a problem? There is everything available now from breathe right nasal strips to white noise generators. These are just a few inexpensive solutions to what is a minor problem in comparison to sleeping apart. My wife and I have slept in separate rooms for years and I know it is the wrong road. Sleep in the same bed and and you’ll be much better off.
Sleeping apart stinks. I have sleep apnea and need oxygen and breathing machine and it’s loud. It’s absolutely destroying my wife and my intimacy in the bedroom. I feel we are just roommates now sharing the bills, not an intimate husband and wife. My heart hurts so bad not being close to my wife anymore. I hate it!
I desperately miss my wife’s closeness, I miss making love, I miss touching and holding her, I miss kissing her. Like others have said it feels like we live in two seperate residences in the same house.
Dear Heavenly Father, my heart is hurting so much like she doesn’t desire me anymore. She says she loves me but if we don’t sleep together that’s one of the joys of being married.
Jeff, Why not plan on going into one of your bedrooms together for about an hour (or more) before you will go to sleep? That’s what we do. We sleep in the same room, but we go to bed a period of time before going off to sleep to snuggle, hold each other, touch, talk and so. This has really ramped up our intimacy. We’re close to each other BEFORE we go off to sleep. If you have to go to a different room, then do so after you’ve had some personal time together. And then tuck her in, kiss her good night, pray over her, and then slip into the other room. But you have had a time of closeness beforehand… it will give you better dreams and better feelings.
With my husband’s diabetes (Type 1 for over 40 years), we’ve had to think outside the box on certain things that other couples can do. Now, we can either cry about the tough “luck” of it all (which we have done in the past) or we can put our energy and efforts into figuring out, and then implementing ways to step past or over the problems. Don’t get stuck into the one-size-fits-all type of behavior. Get creative… you would have done so when you were first married, do so now. Don’t let challenges take you down. Find other non-traditional ways to spend time together in intimacy.
I wish she would. I would love to do that. Now that she’s used to sleeping alone she says it’s uncomfortable having me in the bed with her. I hate this. I feel like my intimacy and marriage is going right down the toilet.
My heart hurts too. I’m on day 5 of not being able to sleep next to my husband. Crying myself to sleep right now.
My husband doesn’t even bother whether I’m sleeping, getting crazy, crying because of deficient sleep… he just sleeps not in nights but yes when he is free.
My husband has begun snoring. The few times I’ve tried to get him to stop by turning over he says he wasn’t asleep. I thought he was trying to be funny.
Tonight I tested the sleep theory and quietly hushed him when he began to snore, and he did stop for a brief moment, but then went right back to it, this time LOUDER! So I quietly hushed again, and he stopped briefly again. However, this time I nudged him and said please turn over. He went in a fit of rage and said ‘I WASN’T EVEN ASLEEP!” So I asked him if he remembered me hushing him and he said “NO!”
He is angry and thinks I’m trying to drive him crazy. But there has to be a rational explanation for this aside from… he’s losing it. Is it at all possible for someone to sleep and wake up with the feeling that they never fell asleep?
Yes Donna, this CAN happen. Your husband isn’t “losing it.” He may be sleep deprived, for different reasons (which may or may not be causing his snoring), but he isn’t crazy, and neither are you. I’ve also suffered from this disorder and would be shocked when my husband would say that I was snoring when my eyes were wide open. But in trying to figure out why I’m having so many problems sleeping 7-8 hours straight through (like I used to), I’ve discovered that my body goes into stages of “Micro-sleep” to compensate for at least some of the sleep I’m not getting.
Here’s something that an ABC report stated about Micro-sleep: “Micro-sleep occurs when you nod off for a second or a few seconds, often without even being aware of it. In some instances, your eyes may even be open and you can perform a task as if on a kind of auto-pilot, but you’re asleep. ‘Micro-sleep is a brief transition from wakefulness to sleep and it can last up to maybe 20 or 30 seconds,’ said Dr. Charles Czeisler, chief of theDivision of Sleep Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. ‘You’re awake and then suddenly you’re asleep.'” You can find the rest of what is in that report at: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/blink-eye-dozing-driving/story?id=17870880.
You can also look the term Microsleep up the Internet. I believe you will find it to be informative. It may also help you and your husband get to a better place, as far as his snoring problems (even while he feels he’s awake). It’s worth the research. He may have sleep apnea going on, or something else, which is causing his snoring and sleeping problems. Whatever it is, try to find peaceable ways to attack the disorder, not each other. SOMETHING is up… and it needs to be addressed. Please make it your mission to respectfully work through this issue. You both need sleep. But please don’t let this “problem” cause additional problems in your marriage.
My wife snores all night, in every position. She’s been on the sofa for months trying to let me sleep for once. When she comes to bed, occasionally, she’s back at snoring and I head to the sofa. We talked about separate bedrooms and felt it was bad for us, but after tonight, we WILL sleep in different bed rooms, because not sleeping is harming my health and marriage. It is true, that sleeping apart affects the marriage, but sick, ill, people make a worse marriage, because the cuase of that illness is snoring. We don’t know how to fix this. I do know that I look forward to sleeping alone now.
I am heart-broken. My wife has tried everything and as a couple, we have tried everything. She has had “the surgery”, had a CPAP machine, which she supposedly doesn’t need anymore and now she has a brace on the lower jaw. We just purchased a very expensive Sleep Number Bed with Sleep IQ a week ago and I am headed to a different room tonight. I love her so much but I must get some sleep and I am worried about her because it cannot be good for her! What do I do? I love her and want to spend the night with her so bad but I must get some sleep! There is no sense in both going without sleep. As I stated, I love her so much but she snores, a lot. Have you found an answer different than sleeping apart? This is making me sick just thinking of it.
Andy, How sad I am for you and for your wife to have this problem come up in your marriage. Sometimes we have some really tough stuff that happens, and there really isn’t much we can do except do the best we can. I don’t know if you read the linked articles within this one, but they have some very good suggestions for ways to still make your “going to bed times” special, even if you have no choice but to eventually sleep apart. Perhaps your choice may be to stay in the room together, and slip into the next room when it gets too loud. If that ends up being most or all nights, then so be it. At least you had some time together, which can be better than no time.
It’s wonderful that you still want to sleep together… that is best. I can’t imagine sleeping without my husband, even though he has issues with his Diabetes sometimes and it causes many, many sleepless nights. But that is a life and death situation, where yours is not. You are right… there is no sense in both of you going without sleep. Please try to find a way to make the best out of this difficult situation. Keep reassuring her of your love, and your prayers for her (because of her not getting restful sleep). Make the best out of it that you can. I wish I knew of better advice to give you, but I don’t. Some people develop sleep problems, and obviously your wife is one of them. Love her, show love to her, and reassure her of your love. That will go a long way in her eyes, I’m sure.
If you are able to rest or maybe nap later in the day, it wouldn’t be such an issue, but when you only have a set amount of hours during the night to sleep with no other option to catch up on sleep, then it can be a big problem. Those who need to be up and out and spend the whole day at a job outside the home, or any other comitments which prevent them from resting really do need to sleep at night, in bed. No ifs or buts.
I agree Fiona. The things mentioned in this article aren’t for everyone. But these are options if any of them can work for you. I wasn’t able to nap (and still don’t), but because of my husband’s type of diabetes the doctor told me/us that I shouldn’t sleep in another room if there are restless nights. We can’t sleep separately. So we have worked through these issues in the same room. Yes, I feel sleep deprived at times, but it’s better than the alternative (Steve could slip into a coma without my being there to help). You just have to work out what will work out best for your marriage. Some couples sleep in separate rooms; some don’t/can’t. But whatever you do, make sure you feed your marriage relationship in other ways if you DO sleep in separate rooms.
The Bible says to not allow the enemy any room. Your marriage is very susceptible to attacks from the enemy to divide you from one another. Look at society… Each spouse now has to work in order to meet ends. And it’s destroyed the design of the home.
Don’t allow satan access to your marriage. Understandably you can’t sleep with the snoring… But don’t allow it to divide you. I read the posts and there’s a lot of hard feelings and criticism to the spouse that does snore. Some are even resentful. Watch those seed loves!! Stay in a tightly knit weave of you, your spouse and God. Marriage has been under attacks since the beginning and it’s getting worse. Praying over each of you.
By the way, my husband snores… Often, I’m able to turn a fan on, on my side of the bed on high and the white noise will dull the sound of him snoring. And once I fall asleep, somehow in a California King bed, we find ourselves in the middle, snuggled up. Be blessed.
Amanda, Very wise advice that you share! I sometimes snore and wake my wife when I sleep on my back. She gives me a gentle nudge, to wake me, so that I can roll over on my side and fall asleep again, with no snoring. We always fall asleep snuggled up together on our sides. Such a sweet way to end each day!
Amanda, very good comment, one of the best I have read on here. My own marriage has been strained from both of us having to work, cost of living, out of town children and family.
I am a 21 year old married lady. My husband is a regular snorer and due to this my sleep life is the worst. Every night due to awful sound from snoring I am unable to take complete sleep and as a result my health condition gradually deteriorates. Last week I visited the doctor and tell him about my husband’s problem. My doctor has given me the advice to use CPAP masks for side sleepers. As per doctor it has superior effect on sleep disorders and snoring and it will work. Hope it will work for my husband also.
How do diabetics who live alone deal with nocturnal hypos? I believe technology plays a part. Alarms which detect persperation on skin etc could be useful for some. Catching up with your sleep is necessary. Sleep is vital, not a luxury.
That’s a difficult one… quite a challenge, to be sure. My husband Steve (who has been a Type 1 diabetic for almost 50 years) has a Dexcom Continuous Glucose Monitor that lets him know (by beeping or buzzing or vibrating, depending how we set it) that alerts him if he’s over 200 or under 100. (You can set that lower or higher, if you want to.) That helps him so he can treat his highs and lows more readily. We have juice boxes by the bed (honey is another option). Sometimes I have to shake him a bit to let him know his monitor went off (because he can sometimes sleep through them because of his brittle diabetic condition… he can go down real low, real fast… it’s difficult to explain). But that is quite rare and most people don’t experience this at all. So you might check into getting one, if your health care system allows it. It has literally been a life saver for him. We don’t know what we’d do if he didn’t have this. It has given him MUCH better control and helps A LOT at night.
Also, there are wonderful service dogs that can alert their owner when their sugar goes down (or up). We’ve read and heard about some real life-saving incidences where this has helped–real touching stories. Since being aware of this, I told our grown sons that if anything happened to me that I would want them to make sure their dad got a service dog as soon as possible to sleep in his room (and of course, be his companion other times). But since Steve got the Continuous Glucose Monitor and since I’m there as his back up if he’s sleeping too soundly (which I don’t), we haven’t felt the need to get a Diabetic Service Dog at this point. But we highly recommend them! Just look up the term on the Internet and you can read up about them. They’re remarkable!
We do everything else that we can to make conditions right for sleeping (cooler room, absolutely no lights, have a comfortable mattress, we put technology in the other room so close contact with radiation isn’t a problem; we go to bed on the earlier side, and make sure we calm things down closer to bedtime, and listen to Christian radio before bed to put our minds in a peaceful place). Since the monitor is rechargeable, and not Wi-Fi run, we don’t have to have the Internet on at night, so we turn off our router at night. We know all of that helps. You’re right; sleep is vital and not a luxury.
I hope this helps. Don’t really know of anything else other than what you suggested. With a diabetic who lives alone, it’s a balance between technology and trying to do things as naturally as possible. I pray you find what you need. This is all quite a challenge!