The agony of sleeping together when you have insomnia (and my Ozzie and Harriet solution)

Updated Oct 12 2015
Guest post by TorchyBlane
"Life with an insomniac" by: Anita DaltonCC BY 2.0
This post is about sleeping together. GAUCHE! Except, I mean, actual sleeping. As in closing your eyes, turning off your brain, allowing the worries of the day to melt into tiny, infinitesimal oil slicks on the calm sea of your beatific self-possession. Oblivion sneaks over you like the smell of a fart in a conference room, and before you know it you're flying to Magnolia Bakery for red velvet cupcakes in the TARDIS with Joseph Gordon-Levitt until, precisely eight hours later, you awake to the sound of early morning songbirds outside your window like a goddamn Disney princess.

Seriously, fuck those people.

I'm an insomniac. Not in the cool way. I'm not staying up because I'm punk and badass, or my thoughts are too deep to be constrained to your bourgeois daylight hours. I'm talking about the kind of insomnia that sees me refreshing websites that don't update at night, over and over, because I am too tired to concentrate enough to navigate to actual content. The kind of insomnia that can play Tetris for seven straight hours and never get past level ten. The kind where I've occasionally laid in bed actually crying because I want to sleep so, so badly.

This is my whole life, basically — certainly my life past puberty. When I took my GREs I hadn't slept in three days. I got the scores back and literally didn't even know I had taken the test, which was awesome because I drove to it. I have ground most of the enamel off my teeth because the mouthguard my dentist gave me keeps me awake. Everything keeps me awake. When the cat drinks from her bowl in the kitchen, the sound of her tongue keeps me awake in the bedroom.

And now I have a fiance.

If Disney had made a princess movie starring a 6'4" tattooed guy with a beard and glasses and enough muscle to pick up a couch with one hand, that princess would sleep the way my fiance does. When he has to fly at 5am, he'll say things like, "Well, we should leave the house at 3am, so I'm going to go to bed at 7:30 tonight so I have enough sleep." Then he puts his dinner dish in the sink, brushes his teeth, packs his suitcase, lays down in bed and actually does it. I've never seen him take more than five minutes to fall asleep — and I've had ample opportunity, as we've lived together for two years and in that time I've never once fallen asleep before him.

He's not a perfect sleeper (he's occasionally sleepwalked, and sleeps very lightly) but every time he wakes up he just falls right back to sleep. It's enraging enough to make me occasionally — usually around 5am when I'm just sitting in bed waiting for his alarm to go off — wonder if he'd nod off so easily with a mouthful of fist. (Spoiler alert: I've never actually punched him, but I think the answer would be yes.)

Being an insomniac is bad enough. Being an insomniac in love with a good sleeper is its own special kind of torture. Here's a nightly schedule:

  • 10:30. Fiance, who works an early schedule, goes to bed. I go in with him for cuddling, because I want him to at least associate some positive thoughts with me and bed, and we both know what's coming.
  • 10:35. Fiance falls asleep. I do the routine; make sure his blankets are good, refill his water glass, turn off the radio. That sounds '50s housewife, yes, but I know if I don't the guilt later will be enough to keep me awake even more.
  • 10:40. My night life begins. The first three hours are me trying to tire myself out. I do mentally taxing activities — writing, video games, money management, a fair amount of wedding planning. I try to make schedules and get a little ahead on work so my anxiety will have fewer anchorages to latch onto later.
  • 2am. I start trying to wind myself down with Sleep Literature tricks — yoga, directed thinking, breathing exercises.
  • 3:30. The tricks haven't worked, and I've thought of at least four things I still need to do. I figure, why not do them now, since I'll just obsess about them anyway?
  • 4am. Go to bed. Fiance is woken up by: me opening the door, me opening the pajama drawer, me getting into bed, every microscopic motion I make once I'm in bed. Some of the wakings are accompanied by him getting more blankets or getting a drink, which means he's awake longer and I feel bad. Sometimes they're accompanied by him asking sleepily, "You need anything, babe?" which just stab me in the heart already, why don't you.
  • 4:30am. Sleeping in here isn't happening; I've been lying as stiff as a cadaver listening to his breathing with my teeth gradually turning into cornmeal. Either I stay in this position, my muscles freezing in shape, for another hour until his alarm goes off, or I go lay on the futon. Most nights I go lay on the futon.
  • Sometime during the next day. Him to me: "Hey babe, I'm sorry if I wasn't much fun to sleep next to last night. What can I do? I hate seeing you sleeping out on the futon." And then my heart breaks forever.

Recently, I've gotten a job that gives me proper benefits, and as it turns out, we live in a region with a few really good sleep specialization centers. So I'm finally biting the bullet and getting some tests done — probably an MRI and I might sleep for a few nights in a university basement with Science Pads glued to my head. But gradually I've been wanting one solution more than anything else, even more than strong drugs (which is saying something, because I really want strong drugs): Separate beds, like Ozzie and Harriet.

I get my own blankets, I don't have to feel like every time I roll over I'm ruining his sleep, and we get to be in the same room every night in touching distance.

I finally sat the fiance down and discussed it with him. I had no idea how he'd react — I mean, how weird is that? This is literally a piece of furniture that is not made for adults. We would have to buy children's beds and probably decoupage over the vinyl Buzz Lightyear decals with pages from Dwell. Plus, there's the rejection factor. What if he thought I meant I didn't want to sleep with him, you know, in the Biblical sense, anymore? What if he thought it meant I was subconsciously disgusted by him? What if it made him resent me? What if this was the death knell that would be the end of all our joy, and I'd spend the rest of my life alone on my tiny twin bed, looking across the nightstand at what might have been?

His response? "Oh man, could we maybe get bunk beds? That'd be SWEET!"

I love this man. And I guess this will work out.

  1. Have you tried ASMR vids on YouTube? They help me relax A LOT. Like, can't make it through one without nodding off.

    • As a fellow insomniac, I can attest that ASMR helps… might not be a miracle cure, but it helps greatly… if you experience ASMR, that is.


        Added benefit: The tingles.

        Unfortunate side-effect: People who catch you watching the videos will think you have a strange fetish for whispery foreign girls.

          • I know I'm like, 6 months late to this thread, but I'd also recommend binaural beats. I have experienced insomnia like what you've described for most of my adult life and this has helped me a TON. I think that the the idea is pretty similar to ASMR (which I'd not heard of before this thread), it's basically biofeedback where you listen to tones (that may or may not actually be audible to you, they are usually blended with some white noise or background noise) that are designed to relax you and help you sleep. It sounds pretty weird and new agey, but dammit, it works for me. I downloaded an app called sleep machine binaural beats for my iphone and it's the best $1.99 I've ever spent. I used to worry that the noise from the app would bother/annoy my dude but the app I use lets you pick a blend of background noise, and he really likes the rain storm and crackling fireplace, so it's a win/win. πŸ™‚

      • Autonomous sensory meridian response. I just Googled ASMR. I guess people make videos with different sounds that are supposed to give you the tingles and help you relax.

        • After watching a few of these….Yup, relaxing, but would definitely be awkward to be caught watching.

          • Aiyee watched a little bit and was like what in the world is this woman saying? And then she got closer and closer and I'm all omgosh I'm at WORK!

            I'll take a look at this at home…

  2. Bunk beds would be amazeballs!! πŸ™‚ But not for that reason. πŸ™ Hopefully they figure out your insomnia and you get some relief!!! I have a little insomnia related to a few obsessive compulsions (I have to check that the door is locked. A lot. Among other things.) and general anxiety, but NOTHING like what you suffer from.

    Also I want exotic meats and to read your short stories and his detective series.

    • As someone who shared a bunk bed set for 10 years with a sibling – this will not prevent the other sleeper from waking up when you finally climb into bed. The frames are attached so you will still be shaking their bed.

      Bunk beds rule otherwise though. Excellent for building forts. Top bunk for life.

      • You can get bunk beds that are two separate pieces (basically a long legged bed and a short legged bed), this would avoid the bed shaking.

        • In my guest room we have this setup, only the lower bed is actually a mattress and boxspring on the floor, so there's totally no movement at all.

          • Well, with our current apartment, separate beds in any conformation aren't really an option, but it's something we'll be looking at when we move.

  3. I have terminal insomnia, which means falling asleep is not too bad when I follow my routine, but I wake way too early and can't get back to sleep. My husband is an easy sleeper, he effortlessly falls asleep not matter what the routine or if he's in an unfamiliar bed. It's so hard lying there waiting for the alarm to go off and trying not to wriggle, or sigh, or turn on the light and read to kill time. I never thought of separate beds as a solution!

  4. Those bunk beds with a queen on the bottom and a single on the top might actually be a pretty clever solution. Then, you could still have a nice comfy space for bed sharing when you want it, and a separate space within touching distance when you don't!

    • I once saw a bunk double bed, like, king size on the bottom and king size on the top. It was like fifteen years ago at a friend's of a friend's of a friend's place, and I still remember it.

  5. I'll be curious to hear how this works. I am the opposite side of the couple you just described, and for real, if my partner doesn't get her insomnia fixed, I might die of sleep deprivation.

  6. I really hope bunk beds and sleep centers help you.

    Completely unrelated note but sorry I have to ask: where can I stalk your scifi short stories and your husband's upcoming YA series of awesome-sounding steampunk? Both sound fantastic!

  7. Wow. *waves from Salem, MA* Hello, neighbor. I do not have your degree of insomnia (yet), but I do toss and turn for hours before falling asleep, and once I'm asleep, I talk, moan, grumble, whistle, swear, sing-you name it. If I have an nightmare (at least 1x a week), I scream in my sleep until my husband shakes me awake.

    Strange, but from non-nightmares I also wake easily, and the stress of jolting awake to noises wakes me up so much it takes hours to fall back asleep. I often wish not only for my own bed but for my own bedroom. Except during the nightmares-then I'm glad he shakes me awake quickly.

  8. I read this, and at least one of the comments, and I think it's a little odd that you're so worried about waking him up by wriggling in bed. It's your bed too! You should be able to sleep in it and feel comfortable, and if that involves moving, well, he'll learn to deal with it, the same way you might have to deal with his snoring (or even breathing. I swear, I couldn't handle him sleeping towards me just because I could feel him breath on me). I mean, if I was aware that my fiance was lying completely stiff in bed because he was scared of shifting and waking me, I'd be heartbroken. Shift! Get comfortable! Read if you want (though, on that note, eReaders with Glow are awesome)! Sleeping together is an adjustment for both people, it seems unfair that one person is doing all the freaking out to keep the other comfortable.

    I'm totally the one who has trouble falling asleep at night in my bed, but my fiance also does a lot of shifting in the night too. And I even come to bed late and need to turn on the bathroom light just to work my way into the bed. He wakes up for a moment, then falls back asleep. I just try not to feel guilty, because well, he's the one who snores and twitches in his sleep.

  9. This. x10. This is exactly what happens to me, except mine comes and goes. Usually around 10:30 he'll be all "I'm tired…sleep???" And then he'll ask me if I'm going to come to bed with him and pouts when most of the time I tell him "no." But I do our routine and get the bedroom ready for sleep. And then I tuck him in and kiss him good night and then at some point I look at the time and think "Maybe I should at least TRY to sleep" and then I don't actually sleep. My mind is racing over a million things at once. Thankfully though my husband sleeps like a rock. Half the time I could probably shove him off the bed and he'd sleep right through it. I guess that part is good. If given the opportunity I will actually sleep during the day thought. I take a lot of naps because of the lack of sleep at night. I wish we could do something as easy as bunk beds or even the 1950s twins. I just can't bear to be that far apart from him at night.

  10. When we first moved in together, my now-husband came to bed later than I did, and would snuggle up to me to say goodnight. Which would wake me up, and I lay there staring at the ceiling for ages while he snoozed like a baby. We ended up compromising by snuggling for a bit right when I go to bed, then he goes back to whatever he was doing for an hour or two.

    I tend to have the problem of whirling thoughts in my head keeping me from getting to sleep, and one of the tricks I've found is boring podcasts, played at a low enough volume that I have to lie very still and quiet in order to hear the words! There's one which is a review of infectious disease medical literature that does a number on me. And if I don't fall asleep, hey, maybe I've learned something. I think it's partly the boring-ness and partly the way I have to concentrate to hear the words, so my brain can't waste mental energy in throwing everything I've ever done wrong or left undone at me.

    My husband bought me a headband with earbuds in it from ThinkGeek for Valentine's Day 2010, and it worked even better–now I associate it with going to sleep enough that sometimes I don't need to play anything. I just put the headband on and get sleepy.

    We have found that now, after almost 4 years of sharing a bed, we've gotten used enough to the other person moving that we usually don't wake up when the other person moves around. If I move a bit, I can hear his breathing change as he comes out of sleep just enough to realize it was me, then goes back down, and he doesn't remember it in the morning, and vice versa.

    We helped *that* along by buying a king-size bed with a mattress that has individually-wrapped coils so they don't transmit movement. We considered a foam mattress which is supposed to do the same thing, but didn't want to drop the money on it.

    • We have a memory foam mattress, and it's AWESOME. Fortunately, neither my husband nor I are insomniacs… but it does help to have a little less movement being transmitted through the mattress. Though it is possible to be sucked into the "valley" created in the foam when you are the smaller partner, and you sleep close. Haha.

    • Yeah, we did a king size memory foam mattress to help us sleep better togehter, too! Though I also think two beds would work. And we snuggle before I go to sleep and after I'm asleep he knows not to wake me…unless the baby needs something, because once I'm awake it's really really really hard to go back to sleep. Darn anxiety!

    • I highly, highly recommend a king-sized bed with a high-quality mattress (I hate memory foam, but the individually-wrapped coils did the trick for us), as well as separate blankets on the bed.

      You get cuddling, and you also get the same amount of space you'd otherwise get in a single bed, which worked well for us! πŸ™‚ Separate blankets also meant no waking up the partner to argue over blanket ownership at 2am.

      If you really want non-child single beds, though, a lot of older folk had lovely bedroom sets with matching twin beds, and, as they move out of their homes, those are being sold. Keep an eye on Craigslist or Kijiji or put out an ad saying you're looking for them (or, if you're in Quebec, message me!) and you'll likely find pretty bed frames…

      • Noooooo! Bed bug epidemic , especially on the coasts. Dont buy things like beds used !! We had bed bugs and they are impossible to kill, plus my husband has anxiety and would be up all night thinking about them biting. During extermination we had to put everything we own through the dryer. Everything. Not worth it !!!!

        • Based on what I know, you take apart the frame and scrum everything and don't let any textile in the house, but furniture itself isn't usually full of bugs! Just don't use the mattresses!

  11. We are that couple, though I'm the sound sleeper. About six months into our relationship, we realized that a full-size bed was not going to work (he's 6'3" and a big guy, I'm not a pixie girl), and the easiest thing to do was buy a twin and shove them together. Worked fairly well, as we each had our own sheets/blankets, but could easily cuddle, etc. before rolling over and sleeping.

    Fast forward another year, another house–not enough space in our master bedroom for that particular configuration. So we upgraded to a queen and kept the twin, but they had to be on different walls (weird L-shaped room). So now we have one bed for us as a couple, and I use the twin for sleeping. Since our daughter came along, we've switched off occasionally if she needed to co-sleep with me.

    This arrangement–though I admit it occasionally makes me a bit sad due to some sense of weird nostalgia–has been AMAZING for our sleep. He has far less insomnia, and I never, ever feel guilty that I might wake him up by stealing all the covers (which I always do). When we travel and occasionally share a king-size bed, we both wake up less rested (me) and cranky and sleep-deprived (him).

    My birthday present next month is a queen size bed for me, so our oddly-shaped bedroom will have two queens and one happily married couple. πŸ™‚

  12. My husband and I have both struggled with insomnia, on and off since we started dating (his is greatly aided by a very very rigid schedule. Mine is greatly aided by a complete lack of any stressors in life which is so laughable I don't even think about it).

    Getting over the weird cultural taboo we have about sleeping in different places at two different times has helped a lot. Sometimes he sleeps on the couch. Sometimes I sleep on the couch. Sometimes he falls asleep playing solitaire on the laptop. Sometimes I fall asleep with my glasses on clutching my ebook reader. Our mantra has been, "Any sleep is the best kind of sleep," and so far it has relieved a lot of the stress associated with insomnia (which is a vicious cycle for me).

    But also, yeah. We don't really worry about waking each other up any more, or it becomes a "Gift of the Magi" situation where he's sacrificing his mental health to accommodate me, and I'm doing the same. Not productive.

  13. My husband has an irregular internal clock. It hurt me a bit early in our relationship to find him passed out on the couch, but doesn't anymore. Sometimes he's in bed with me when I wake up, sometimes not. If you think that will help you sleep, I don't see why it's not worth a shot. Sometimes when he tries to get in bed it seems like he wakes me up, but I don't remember it in the morning, so I was probably never actually awake. Have you thought about putting your pjs on when your fiance goes to sleep? It seems like one less interruption.

  14. Neither one of us had any clinical sleep issues, and we STILL have a king-sized bed with separate blankets. Sleeping together is a difficult transition, even if both of you are sleeping beauties in separate beds. He snores like a damn freight train, and there were times when I just wanted to punch him in the face. I have always been a white-noise sleeper, and running a fan, even in the winter, cuts down on some of the shuffling noise the people make when they roll over. While it might not make you fall asleep, you can feel a little less guilty about disturbing him with drawer-opening and creaking floor boards.

  15. I have a friend who does this! Not only does she and her husband keep separate beds, they actually keep separate rooms, that way she can go to bed at 9:30, and her husband can stay awake until whenever without bothering her. Her husband can also set different boundaries with the cats, since he does not like cats in his bed, whereas she's a cuddler.

    • Oh my gosh I'm almost heading to this point.

      My partner likes to read before bed. Me? I need PITCH BLACKNESS. And silence. I also go to bed relatively early because I wake up early, and he stays up a bit later than I do. Also he's a bedhog and tries to steal my pillow out from under me. The nerve!

      I have no idea how to even bring something like this up, though.

  16. I say go for it. Sleep is critical for you both. We have a spare bedroom and there are nights when my lovely husband snores, just faintly. But if i wake up and he's snoring even a little the odds of me falling back asleep are about *zero*. At first i really didn't want to go to the second bedroom, now, I just KNOW that there is no way in HELL i want to lay there for hours *almost* falling asleep, over and over. I just get up and go in there, and sleep. It's glorious.

  17. I am also an insomniac, but my case is probably different than yours since mine is caused by anxiety, depression, stress and anti-social tendencies. I'm also engaged to a guy who can not only fall asleep on command, but can do it anywhere in any position. I can relate to your guilt but I've gotten over it, because he rarely remembers when I've woken him up anyway. I don't understand the nature of your condition, but here's my go to system:
    1. If my fiance's noise is keeping me up I have ear plugs and an eye cover. This not only tunes him into a dull murmur, but it increases the sound of your own breathing which is rhythmic and helpful
    2. If my mind is thinking too much I read. Seriously, just a couple pages of a comic book and my eyes will struggle to stay open. It's really just to get the mind somewhere else that doesn't cause anxiety.
    3. Day time Exercise. This is my current solution since I'm working out for my wedding dress. My body is so tired by the time I hit the sack I am done. It's important not to confuse this with "exercise if you can't sleep to tire yourself out". That has the reverse effect.
    4. Warm bath. Another kryptonite for me. I just sit in the tub for like 10 minutes. Also not to be confused with SCALDING HOT BATH, which also has the reverse effect. You'll just end up sweaty hot in bed.

    I've been an insomniac my entire life, so this took 24 years or so to figure out. But it always works!

    • I second ear plugs and face mask. I struggled with sleep for 10+ years (pretty much gone now and it disappeared right when I switched to a vegan diet, which is bizarre and a totally seperate conversation) and I don't know why it took me so long to do this. Even if I didn't *think* noise and light were keeping me up, I fell asleep much faster (still not fast by an average person's standards) with an eye mask on and earplugs in. I still have a bedside drawer full of earplugs actually, just in case.

      • weird that when I switched to veganism my insomnia pretty much went away too.. never heard of anyone else who has experienced that. cool!

    • hello, this could be years since your message i dont know… i was just wondering if i could ask a few questions about your insomnia.
      I feel i have a similar situation. But there are some other points i felt people havent mentioned much about, and im wondering if im the only one. I have developed over the years an immediate unpleasant reaction to the noise of people snoring or even just breathing. Even if im not in bed trying to sleep… the sound of it is like nails down a blackboard. It makes me angry and i cant stand it. But if i am in bed about to sleep or trying to sleep, i very quickly get very angry i have violent thougts and feel like attacking my partner. I never have, and never would, but it omits a strong energy and he picks up on it and becomes restless himself, either in his dreams or he wakes. It causes all kinds of problems, if i dont sleep and i want to sleep else where he takes it personally and gets upset, i have also told him cuddling and kissing etc is good but when its time to sleep i really need space (i wear earplugs and usually a face mask) and calm. so i like it if we can move to our own side of the bed preferably facing away. I.e i very much do not like his face snuggled up to my ear… when inevitably he will be asleep in 5 seconds and sets me off to a very bad start to the night. Still he does this regularly. People might think i should just move him over but this also casuses him to get upset. Sometimes very much so. He says he feels rejected etc.
      I have told him i love him and this is nothing personal and also the depths of the anguish caused by the insmonia, but he continues to take it personally. I feel some inner fear of upsetting him and so feel trapped.
      Anxiety is almost guaranteed to set in here and can easy start a 1 or 2 hour sleep night. If that. If i have a wrestless night and wake several times but drift off again with some fidgeting, this causes him to have a bad sleep and he can be upset in the morning. He offers to sleep in the spare room most nights and i do want it but then i dont as well and i can tell he doesnt want to so its hard to ask him to.
      The most disturbing thing is that i know the reason for my life long problem with insomnia is due to childhood/early adult traumas, stress and anxiety. This comes up a lot when i cant sleep. the connection with past pain and insomnia is very strong as i know its the cause and so i feel unsuported and misunderstood about the whole issue. The pain that can surface at any moment is quite strong and just because he is feeling a bit tired and grumpy he will over look the fact i have this serious upset. I have decided from now on to sleep seperatly and go from there. I just feel like its driving us apart, and i dont know what to do about it.

  18. This is totally my husband and me, to a lesser degree. He works crazy hours that have him going to bed at 6 or 7 p.m. (and he actually sleeps!) and getting up at 1 or 2 a.m. When he started that schedule, I would come in at 9 or 10 and toss and turn and wake him up. And he works in transportation, so being sleep-deprived could really hinder him or cause him to kill himself or someone else.

    It's so much easier for me to sleep on the couch until he gets up for work, at which point I zombie-walk into our bedroom and take the whole warm bed for myself. I usually don't have trouble getting back go sleep.

    On nights when he doesn't work, we sleep together and it's not a problem. Whenever I mention our sleeping arrangements to people we know, they look at me like I'm a total freak. Glad we're not the only people in this situation!

  19. NO GUILT!
    My husband and I often end up in separate sleeping areas. He snores like a damn freight train (Every time I have met any of his friends they are aghast that I can sleep with him). I have to race to get to sleep, otherwise I am up until dawn. If he doesn't fall asleep in 20 minutes I am out like a light and his mind is racing. Whenever one of us can't sleep we go to the couch or spare bed, dick around for a while and then sleep there. No harm, no foul.
    Sleep is your number one most important thing ever! You need it, do whatever weird things you gotta do to git ya' some!

  20. You might try getting rid of every activity that involves a blue-spectrum light (television, computers, iPads, almost anything tech-related, even some alarm clocks) an hour and a half before bed. Blue light triggers our brains to stay awake. Red light does not. I've heard of people who turn off all electric lights and go to candles until they are ready for bed.

    Making lists is a good idea if it helps you empty out your brain from things you feel like you need to carry in it, otherwise the whole "mentally taxing activities" thing is just going to wind you up more before bed time. This is the time of day to read gossip rags, take a nice bath, or other lightweight brain candy – NOT money management for the love of all that is good and fuzzy!

    • Oh, and if separate beds is what it takes then I'm all for it. Mouthguards, CPAP, pills, separate rooms, whatever you have to do to ensure everyonegets a good night's sleep. It is so important to physical and psychological health. (And "sneaking" from room to room for nighttime excursions is fun πŸ˜‰ )

    • There is software you can install on your computer so your monitor will switch to red-spectrum instead of blue-spectrum light in the evenings. Supposedly it's supposed to reduce some of those effects. Candles are nice though too πŸ™‚

    • I do NOT suffer from insomnia, but I have to say my entire nighttime routine changed when I started reading on a kindle (the not-backlit kind) before bed. Suddenly, I was asleep an hour earlier than usual. Suddenly, my brain wasn't racing when the light went out.

      Blue-spectrum light keeping you awake: NOT A JOKE.

      • Yes, I know the author was not looking for advice on her sleep habits but the first thing I thought was that her first pass 'get to sleep activities' are TERRIBLE for insomnia, involving blue light and topics that are naturally hard to stop thinking about (wedding, money and getting to the level!). I can also understand the second-pass recommended activities not working because by then you're so anxious from the first set activities (both their inherent details and the fact that you're still not sleepy).

        That said, the two beds/bunk bed solution is also a good idea, and shouldn't engender any guilt. My grandparents slept in separate (trundle) beds and they were married 50 years. On the other hand, my guy and I have sleep problems WITHOUT each other, so when we slept in those same beds it was…kind of a tight fit.

  21. Bunk beds are a good idea, because they make them where the bottom bunk is a double or a queen, which is more convenient for snuggling. The person who gets up more often/goes to bed later might want to claim the bottom bunk, so the ladder climbing doesn't disrupt the sleeper!

    And then, in searching for such a bunkbed to link you to, I discovered that they make queen over queen bunk beds. Out of LOGS. Check it out:

    I hope your insomnia improves!

  22. Hah, I was literally going to write this post next week and submit it. I've had insomnia my entire life–some of my earliest memories are of not being able to sleep. Co-sleeping with anyone is hell for me, but my Viking is also very very bad at it.

    Separate beds will help. Separate rooms would probably help even more. Viking and I are looking for a new place right now and and I will have my own room. And it will be glorious.

    • Your Viking! I love it. Possibly also because I, too, suck at co-sleeping, and I too have a Viking co-sleeper. A wonderful, wonderful gentleman whose snores make a freight train sound like a kitten purr. I, on the other hand, twitch and moan like a dog dreaming of the hunt. Viking-Husband struggles with chronic insomnia, and while I'm normally quite a sound sleeper, co-sleeping tends to turn into co-tired-anxiety-time for both of us. So we'll both tell you, go for the separate rooms if you can. Sometimes I do feel like maybe we're missing out on some magical intimacy that other couples have, and sometimes I do feel a little anxious about being alone in a separate room at night, but we both sleep better (which causes less anxiety and bad attitude for us in general), and I find that snuggling as part of a pre-bedtime routine helps greatly. Also he has a Queen-size bed, so on nights where one or both of us is lonely, we have the option to sleep or snuggle together if we want. And it's extra sneaky-fun when we decide to have naughty times. πŸ˜‰

      For the original poster, if you are interested in any outside perspectives on possible insomnia aid, from what I understand of my husband's insomniac struggles, he sleeps much more soundly if he has experienced a goodly amount of physical activity during the day, physical activity of pretty much any kind. He's also a big worrier, so he sleeps better if something during the day gave him a sense of accomplishment, which makes him less likely to stay awake worrying about other stuff. Sometimes if there's something he's really worried about, he'll go ahead and tackle it, or part of it anyway, and he'll keep a running list/schedule of the stuff that he's concerned about and what he can do to take care of it. We're both list-makers and that has helped with both of us and our particular brands of anxiety. I totally sympathize with the angsting over your partner's sleeping habits!

  23. My boyfriend has (Dr. Diagnosed)ADD and is(diagnosed, by me) narcoleptic. If he doesn't keep moving or interested it's instant lights out. I on the other hand have Insomnia and Hypersomnia. I cant fall asleep but when I do I cant wake up and sleep for 10+ hours and have been known to sleep for 15+. So many nights I lay like a zombie in bed contemplating pushing him out of bed just to see what would happen, and knowing I'm going to be late for work the next day. What we've found that helps is doing the separate single beds but pushed up next to each other, our own sheets and blankets but my tossing cant wake him up and we still feel as though we're sleeping together. Plus a king sized bedspread covers both mattresses so you don't have to answer any annoying "are you guys ok?" questions when your parents come to visit. . . or maybe that's just mine. Good luck to all of us and Bon Nuit!!

    • I am similar- can't fall asleep when I want to for the life of me, but when I do I'm out forever ( I have absolutely slept 16+ hours- way more if I'm sick.). Oddly enough, it's quite possible I have narcolepsy. I have a friend who has extremely similar issues, and they think that's what she has. Narcolepsy isn't just about falling asleep anytimes- it has to do with REM cycles. I can literally fall asleep and have a dream in a blink if I'm tired enough- it's nuts. And many narcoleptics have bad insomnia at night. I have also been an insomniac my whole life- I think my sleep schedule is different than others- even as an infant, I apparently never fell asleep before midnight. It sounds to me like at least one of the OPs issue is anxiety. I used to have anxiety which would keep me up until dawn because I was freaking out that I wasn't asleep yet. So, I moved the clock so I couldn't see it, installed a light from IKEA so that I could read, but was still on the dim side, so he could sleep, and I also bought him a really nice, high quality sleep mask so the light wouldn't bug him. So now I go to bed with him, but then I read until I fall asleep. The light is close enough to me so I can turn it off from bed, which is important. I don't look at the clock or think about the time. I think I generally fall asleep about 1 or 2 am, though, which is a huge improvement from before. I also made its rule that I have to have one day over the weekend that I plan to sleep in- like until noon. If I don't, I am like a zombie the rest of the week and its awful. Fortunately or unfortunately, having my guy in bed makes it so much easier to fall asleep- I don't get the isolated depressed feelings I used to because he is there, and he is a great cuddler, even while asleep. I worry sometimes I affect his sleep, and I might, but I can't think about it or it will be much worse. However, if we had separate beds, that would also be worse. But it works for now, and I have actually been sleeping now more regularly than any time of my life. However, if you think separate beds will do it for you, all the more power to you. Getting sleep is so important- especially to people. Who have a hard time getting it.

  24. Seriously, if separate beds is going to help you, then do it. The boy and I are pretty much a 2-bedroom couple. He snores and I'm the lightest sleeper ever. Seriously, ANYTHING will wake me up and its worse now that I have cats and mom ears. And it drives me bananas that he can legitimately lay down and go to sleep in 5 minutes. It can take me up to an hour.

    When we first started dating and he would stay over, he'd stay on the couch because his snoring would keep me up. And his snoring was bad. Once my roommate moved out and until the king sized bed got here, he was STILL sleeping on the couch and I slept in bed. Now we have our bed (the king), and my old bed (the full) in the office. I end up sleeping in the office most nights because I like my space and I need relative silence to go to sleep – plus I tend to toss and turn a lot – since we both need our sleep, this is the best solution. I hate it sometimes and people think its weird, but we're working on me seeing someone to sleep better, and since he's been taking an inhaler regularly, his snoring is better. I do sleep through the night with him sometimes but I have to be super tired and go to bed first for it to work.

    Otherwise, this is what's worked for me when it comes to actually falling asleep:

    1. No caffeine after 1:30pm. No soda with caffeine or no decaf coffee. Surprisingly, this has helped considerably to make me tired by 10 or 10:30 and I don't miss the extra caffeine.

    2. No extra chocolate after 8pm. Like I can have ice cream that has chocolate in it or chocolate ice cream but no chocolate sauce in addition to it.

    3. I try to shut off lights around 9:30 or 10 and get off my computer. I can still watch tv but I do it in semi-darkness. I still do check facebook or twitter on my phone though.

    4. I don't watch TV in bed anymore at all hardly. We don't have cable in our bedroom so its really just watching dvds before bed (an episode of West Wing or The Tudors here and there) but not doing anything in bed except sex or sleeping has really helped my brain associate the fact the bed is for sleeping. I still do read in there at night, but reading is always something that's made me tired so that's ok.

    I was so excited to see this article on here, so thank you for writing it.

    Also, hello neighbor! *Waves from Metrowest-ish, MA*

    • I'm a person who needs a good 8 or 9 hours of sleep a night… or people don't like me and I don't like myself. My husband is a sleep procrastinator. I used to go to bed by 10 every night and get up refreshed and in plenty of time to not be rushing to get ready for work. Now, not so much. I take melatonin every night at least an hour before bed time. It helps tremendously! Makes me nice and relaxed and sleepy. So he can read his smart phone with the light on and I'm usually passed out before he gets the lights off.

    • Could your sweetie have sleep apnea, as a cause for all the snoring? My hubby started using a cpap machine, which helps him not snore and we're able to sleep in the same room…before…we were lucky to sleep in the same building πŸ™‚

      • It's possible, but ever since he started using an inhaler on a regular basis (twice a day) to deal with his asthma (and this also means no more 11pm trips to the ER because he can't breathe), it's helped cut the snoring down tremendously so we can occasionally sleep in the same bed.

  25. I am also yearning for separate beds, and my husband seems cool with the idea. We're currently figuring out if we want to get two separate bedframes (to place right next to each other) or get a large bedframe and put two twin mattresses side by side in it, which is easily hackable. The final decision will definitely be financially based, but both options will give us what we're looking for. Bonus: two twin (or long twin, since my husband is also 6'4) mattresses are WAY easier to move than a king mattress!

  26. Whatever you do don't do what I did. I don't have insomnia but I am a very light sleeper and my partner is a violent sleeper. He tosses and turns and throws arms and legs out and snores and talks. I wanted seperate matresses close to each other he didn't, then we found a King size bed with different springs in each side (hard in one for me and softer on the other for him) I thought the different springs would help. They have a bit, as has the bigger bed but not enough, I still wake up 3 – 4 times per night (better than the previous 7 – 8) but I am alway tired. I always have a headache. I always feel like passing out after lunch and to get enough sleep I have to go to bed at 9.30pm which is pretty hard when you work two jobs and don't get home till 9pm. Go the seperate matress route. Don't compromise get seperate beds, your sleep and your health depends on it. I'm looking at the next 10 years on a bed that I can't get a good nights rest on, that thought makes me want to cry. I think I might sleep in the spare room tonight on our old bed, I'll feel happier tomorrow.

  27. I'm sending you piles of good wishes and loves because OMG I KNOW HOW THAT IS. The only difference in our stories is that my husband sleeps like the freaking dead and is never ever awoken by me in the night. Hell, he barely wakes up to his alarm. What must it be LIKE to sleep like that? And just FALL asleep? Eeesh.

    I will say that things have improved since we went to separate blankets. Not beds (yet) – but separate blankies is absolutely perfect. I suggest it to every couple I meet. No more temperature battles, no more cover hogging, no more cold feet… GLORIOUS.

    • I'm so glad you said this! My husband and I have separate blankets and anytime I mention this to any normal people they give me a blank stare like we're nuts. It definitely helps us both get better sleep. I'm glad we're not alone!

      • My husband and I also use separate blankets. We're both blanket hogs. I've been known to steal the entire blanket and chuck it off the bed in my sleep, and he likes sleeping in a cocoon.

      • Right? I was trying to explain it to my best friend and I think she thought we did it because we don't like each other or something! It's something you absolutely can't knock till you try. And we still snuggle plenty. πŸ™‚

        • Separate blankets are the best! you can have whatever length, heaviness, material, etc that you want, no stealing and you can have it as high or low as you want. Having lived with a boyfriend who was a foot taller than I 2 blankets became essential. Works perfectly well with my husband who's (only) 7 inches taller.

    • When my girlfriend brought up using separate blankets, I was like what?! But that's not romantic at all! Now that we've made the switch I love it. It's really awesome to have my own blanket to wrap myself up as a mummy in. I can pile heavy comforters on my and she can use thinner blankets (because she seems to get overheated easily). MAGIC.

      • My boyfriend and I used to use a duvet, but now that it's warmer, he just has a quilt. At first I hated it, but we don't really need anymore than that. I am usually very cold, so even in the summer, I'm wrapped up in it. Then I'm too warm early in the morning and push it off me. He's an oven and sleeps with the fan on him. By them time I'm too warm in the morning, he's too cold and wants it.

        I still want a separate blanket (or to use the top sheet like a normal person), but we've made it work.

  28. My husband and I have our own bedrooms. not even just separate beds, but whole rooms to our selves, and I swear it keep us from murdering each other in our sleep. We both sleep well, once we sleep, but our average night goes something like:
    12-1am: Colleen starts getting ready for bed, Terry is on the computer
    30min later: Colleen is in bed, Terry is cuddling/reading stories (yes we read to each other, it's pretty god damn cute)
    30 min later: Terry goes to his room, turning out Colleen's light, kicking out the cats. Collen sleeps in 10-15min (I do sleep well, sorry to those who don't)
    some time between 2-4am Terry goes to bed, snoring, loudly (I might snore to, he only mentions it if I have a cold though)

    I often get up around 7:30, Terry gets up at 11-12.
    We just find it so much easier to have separate bedrooms, it's not even funny. It was a problem on our honeymoon, when we where in a cottage for a week with one double bed and not even a full size couch, we started to sleep in sifts.

  29. The title of this post caught my eye in my Google Reader feed because of what happened in my own relationship. My husband is the light-sleeping insomniac in our couple and after a few years of marriage, he asked to get separate beds and I was devastated because I thought it meant he didn't love me. Turns out, that couldn't be farther from the truth–he did love me very, very much, he just had problems sleeping with me. So, we got him a loft and have it over our queen bed. We start out together and cuddle for a while and then instead of rolling over, he goes up to his bed. It's been AWESOME for both of us–I actually really like having my little cave under his loft. πŸ™‚

  30. This is one of those stories, that would be nice to see an update on later. I want to know the happy ending!

  31. I'm glad to know I am not the only one who gets mad at my partner for sleeping.
    When it's 3am, and I can't sleep, and he's sleeping perfectly fine, not at all disturbed by my rolling around and loud, unsubtle sighing, I get really irritated at him.

  32. I started staying up (actually combing through Offbeat Bride!) a couple years ago. What has helped me is doing the things you mentioned as second-try (yoga, breathing, etc.) DURING THE DAY. Plus yoga therapy. I needed teachers who could really help me understand what was happening, heal, and learn to rein in my monkey mind. Your article mentioned guilt, sadness, frustration…if the sleep specialists don't help, maybe explore some other therapeutic avenues. Your brain-body connection is capable of change, even in areas that seem hardwired. Best of luck!!

  33. Oh, the crying because you just want to be asleep so badly, I feel you there. It's a hard place to be.

    I'm lucky that my husband is a sound enough sleeper that I don't really worry about my insomnia and ups and downs keeping him up. The rare occasions when he can't sleep have a tendency to drive me nuts though as they almost always happen when I am *finally* sleeping. I don't know that I could personally do the separate beds thing, just because cuddling up to him when I can't sleep is one of the most restful things I can come up with.

    I hope this solution helps you guys though! The idea of the queen/twin bunk beds mentioned above seems like a brilliant compromise.

  34. If you've got an iPhone or iPad, you can try a white noise app called Sleep Machine (featured here on Offbeat Home…er…a couple of months ago? Ariel, help!).

    It. Is. The. Best.

    For dealing with extra noises in the house. I have retardedly bad insomnia, too, and my white noise app on my ipad is the only thing that stops me going insane from everyone else's god*&%# NOISE at night. (I have a mother who stays up until two am watching old movies and a brother who plays video games until even later.) It comes with about eleven zillion different noises (fans, beach waves, clothes dryer, beating heart, rain) and you can mix three of them together at once.

    Otherwise, I'd definitely recommend getting a sleep center to help out and the MRI for sure. (My insurance is crap and will not pay for either.) If you can get help, go for it! And we hope you get some rest soon–being tired all the time is no fun.

  35. Ok I am really sorry about your insomnia but "my thoughts are too deep to be constrained to your bourgeois daylight hours" is one of the most hilarious things I have read in a long time.

  36. I really feel your pain, my other half falls asleep instantly, and is an early bird too and usually wakes up at 6 (usually just a couple of hours after i have eventually managed to doze off)
    and i know what you mean about getting so tired but not being able to sleep so you end up lying in bed crying… which then wakes up other half who sleepily tries to comfort me and get me to sleep.
    bunk beds really does sound awesome, and sounds like you have an amazing guy there, you could get the bunk beds that are double on bottom and single on top so you can still have comfortable snuggly time before bed time and ya know… other things…

    I would also suggest keeping a notebook by your bed, any time you think of anything you need ot do, write it in there so you know you wont forget it, but give yourself permission to do it tomorrow…. another trick i use is something my nan taught me, lie still and imaging your feet going to sleep, and then your legs and thighs etc etc slowly moving up your body, it really helps me relax, takes my mind of the millions of things running around my head, i always get tingly, like when you get a dead leg or something but it definitly helps.

  37. When I was a kid, a mattress company advertised their wares by dropping a bowling ball next to a person on the mattress to show how little movement was transferred. We now have one of those mattresses and it is pure bliss!!! I'm an insomniac, too, and now I don't feel nearly as guilty about waking my hubs with my late-night can't-sleep activities. Not to mention the two kids and the giant dog who like to climb in and cuddle in the wee hours of the morn.

  38. I am totally sympathetic. My husband and I have separate ROOMS, now, because I'm a horribly light sleeper. He does things like cracking his knuckles in his sleep (no joke).

    People think we're a little weird, but you know what? It's a happier situation.

    And sleepovers are still a thing. πŸ™‚

  39. Get the sleep study!! It changed my life. Through mine I found out that not only do I have insomnia, but I also have terribly bad RLS/PLMD, which both worsen getting to sleep and sleep quality. After some trial and ERROR, I found a medication that works for the RLS/PLMD without terrible side effects and I take ambien about once a week. My sleep isn't perfect, it never will be, but it's incredibly improved. The sleep study and the recommendations literally changed my life. Having a back-up medicine that I can take if I absolutely have to get some sleep (ambien) has reduced my anxiety about getting to sleep significantly.

    I'll also give kudos to those who've suggested that your back-up activities could actually make your insomnia worse; Find something to do that's BORING or as another commenter suggested, try soothing audiobooks. I listen to a slightly boring audiobook almost every night (on a sleep timer)and it really helps me reduce hamster wheel my thoughts get into that make sleeping difficult. Some nights I have to reset the sleep timer 3x, but eventually I fall asleep.

    3rd note: In my last relationship my partner and I had separate rooms/beds with occasional sleepovers; She despised the arrangement, but I loved it. Especially when one of us was sick and coughing all night. I also love the idea of bunk beds with a queen or king on the bottom, although in any future living together arrangement I will have my own bedroom, period, even if I rarely sleep there. Just my 3 cents =)

  40. You have my sympathies, and are also made of sterner stuff than I. When my at the time fiance and I finally merged beds a few months before the wedding, it was only because the cats had ruined his futon. We lasted precisely one night with shared blankets. Now we have separate blankets, and he ears earplugs at night to drown out my incessant logging.

  41. We're getting twin beds! Not for insomnia, but because of such different sleeping habits.

    I like it hot, he likes it cold, I use all the blankets pulled up to my face, he likes one sheet & arms & feet out. We get up at different times, his schedule changes during the week, & there at the midnight trips to the bathroom.

    As long as we want to be together when awake, we're fine not being in the same place to sleep. It's just sleeping, you don't even know the difference. I like to hang all over him when we're awake on the couch & watching tv, but both of us like a lot of space during sleeping. Room to flail & no one to steal the covers from, but the cat.

  42. I'm a lifelong insomniac, but my partner sleeps like a log. The first couple years we slept beside each other I could barely move, because the concept of anyone sleeping through someone rolling over, or breathing audibly, was totally foreign to me.

    Fortunately, I've now found that even prodding him does nothing (although the cat clawing the bed? He's awake in a second). So over the years I have relaxed, and since shifting to a paelo-style diet and enforcing a really strict routine to try and gain some sense of cyclical living, my sleeping has become manageable. Oh, and hot baths? Totally don't work for me! Heat wakes me up, every time. Warm feet, sure, but a cold torso. So I usually have a fan blowing in my face and blankets around my feet regardless of the season.

    Also, while the blue light thing is definitely true – one thing that really works for helping me relax enough before sleep? Playing a game on my Nintendo DS. Blue light x a million. But so long as it is a turn-based, strategy type of game, I find it relaxes me into a state that helps me sleep for sure. There's very few nights I don't use my DS to help me get my brain into relaxed mode. The game is important, though. Nothing that gets me emotionally worked up. Puzzles and things like Pokemon are perfect for this.

    It seems like there are just so many reasons for insomnia the solutions are impossible to share without the need to customise heavily for yourself. The bunk beds sound great, and I totally agree on someone else's suggestion of the freestanding high double bed and the bottom queen/king option – I've seen these around, Ikea had some at one point.

    Also, my parents have had two single beds shoved together their entire married lives, and they think it's awesome for their sleep πŸ™‚

  43. Oh my god, yes.

    I don't have the same degree of insomnia as you, but I definitely lay awake for hours at night. I'm stupid and go to bed with my honey. He falls asleep in 5 minutes (like yours. most frustrating thing ever, isn't it?) and then it begins. I lay there in the dark. On one side. Roll over to the other. My arm goes numb. I roll onto my back. Repeat for 3 hours.

    When I do sleep, it is often restless. I've had nightmares since I was a child and they just got more -awesome- (read: fucking terrifying and disgusting) as I got older. I wake up with pain, or headaches, or sit up suddenly while having an enormous panic attack about something I'll forget in 10 minutes after laying there fretting about it for a while.

    Unfortunately, my sleep pattern is just different. I naturally feel sleepy at 2-3am, and wake at midday. But I work from 10am-5:30pm, so I can't follow that sleep pattern, trying to force myself into another one. On my days off, I effortlessly slip back into my "natural" pattern. It is frustrating, and years of trying to train it out of me doesnt work. πŸ™

  44. No new advice, just wanted to thank you for posting this, and add a note of support. Honestly, I think the best thing you can do is find something that works for the two of you, even if it's a little unconventional.

    Best wishes!

  45. I'm not an insomniac, but I am a light sleeper and it takes me a long time to fall asleep. When I say light sleeper I mean that I'm sensitive to light, sounds, movement, everything. When I moved in with my fiance, we had to get curtains and move the nightlight (blue canary in the outlet by the light switch) to the kitchen.

    Oh yeah. He snores. Loud. The first few times I spent the night (before we were living together), I ended up out on the couch with a pillow over my head. Now, I wear earplugs and he takes an allergy pill but it's still a struggle. I can hear him snoring through the plugs and the pills have helped but aren't a cure. So, I wake him up a couple times a night, make him turn over and that usually makes it stop long enough for me to get to sleep/back to sleep.

    It's not a perfect solution. I've never wanted to punch him in the face more than when he's happily snoring away over there and I'm trying to stick it out in our room so he doesn't get guilty when I'm sleeping in the living room. Ugh.

  46. I have had insomnia for as long as I can remember (and there is a about 5 years of my life that I can't remember) and pretty much every technique under the sun was tried and tried and nothing worked. It took having a complete breakdown (grandmother dying, starting antidepressants, hallucinating on antidepressants and then hiding in a corner for over a month) to get to where I am now, which is a bit better.
    It takes me at least an hour to wind down, no matter how tired I am, I can't be: hot, cold, hungry, thirsty, have a full bladder or be in pain or discomfort.
    I have some "me" time, I watch my favourite shows and relax in the bath or make a nice hot drink and read.
    Just about every sleep adviser ever will tell you not to watch TV, but I have to! I put on something light-hearted so I don't get nightmares and I have to have seen it enough times to know the words! It isn't always TV, I do use a few audio books or the Hitch Hikers radio series and I circulate to alleviate the boredom.
    I also use some techniques I picked up from doing a course of cognitive behavioural therapy to deal with my depression and anxiety, I make note of all the things on my mind and then go through them logically and physically cross them off (money – I can pick up some extra shifts next week but I can't do that at 3am).
    Sleeping next to someone really doesn't help, no matter how much I love his beardy face! My partner turns in to a bearsquid at night (he grows tentacles that are like bear arms and smashes things) and I usually need to wake up at 5.30am for work so having him smash in to bed at midnight is really unpleasant and often leads to trouble, but 2 years later he is well trained in the things that will cause him death if he does them again!
    I hope you all catch some Zs!

  47. I will never for the LIFE of me understand how my 30 lb dog sharing a pillow with me and gently doggie-snoring doesn't faze me in the least, but snoring by the fiance can keep me up for hours…

    If I roll him (fiance) on to his side and he's still snoring, then I generally will put in earplugs. It makes sleeping better, just harder to hear my alarm and wake up in the morning.

  48. Just like others have mentioned, it's your bed too! My husband is the heavy sleeper and I am the insomniac. For years, I couldn't sleep with anyone else in my bad and then I met him and we moved in together for 3 years before being married two years ago. I just had to get used to it! Over time, I realized that this man will get used to it too — meaning he had to adjust to a crazy grrrl getting up a million times a night, tossing and turning, and sometimes even purposely waking him up (misery loves company after all – I try not to do that too much but the night insanity mode makes me do crazy things sometimes).
    What has worked for me is reading before bed. Lately my insomnia has actually gotten worse so lately I've made myself get in bed BEFORE he goes to bed, sometimes really early (for us) like 9. This way, I get to have a quiet room to myself and can just chill and not worry about anyone or anything else. A lot of the time, I read for a couple hours and then before I know it, I shut out the light and go to sleep. Usually he gets in bed and doesn't wake me (not always, bah!).
    Reading tends to calm me a lot, even on those night where it doesn't lull me to sleep. It definitely calms my brain from thinking of every possible thing in the world.
    Oh, and as others have said too, a King sized bed might work for you two! We got a queen bed about a year ago and I swear, it feels HUGE compared to what we had before (full sized). I often joke that anyone could be on the other side of that bed and I wouldn't know it. πŸ™‚
    It gives the feeling that you have your own sleep space if you need it. Almost like two beds, really.
    Good luck!!

  49. OMG! Separate beds – hell, separate rooms, ROCK! I discovered this from my good friends who are the most in-love ppl you've ever met – she is "your fiance" (the easy sleeper) and he is "you" (the insomniac). They have their own rooms and they say it's the best thing for their marriage b/c they both are well-rested and have more patience with each other.
    So, my hubby and I tried it b/c he snores and I'm a really light sleeper and it totally works. We sleep in the same bed for sexy times (which reminds me… it's Wednesday date night!) but the rest of the week, we hardcore sleep in our own rooms. When you are two working parents with a toddler, you don't f*ck around with sleep.

  50. Several couple friends of mine sleep separately and my husband and I do, also. I am a light sleeper, and my husband snores and moves around a lot. Plus, we prefer different kinds of mattresses. We are so much happier having gotten a good night's sleep. It's NOT weird. I think more and more couples are doing this. And we still have a healthy sex life.

  51. Thank you for writing this! My insomnia started as a kid, sometime around late elementary/early middle school when I was homeschooled and slept on the couch a whole late, staying up late and falling asleep in front of bad movie marathons (I'm still way better at falling asleep with the TV on than laying down in bed with the lights off… that's like a recipe for becoming instantly wide awake for me, and my husband just goes right to sleep). I have bought ear plugs (because the sound of him breathing/very lightly snoring keeps me awake), I frequently open a window during winter because if it's too hot I can't sleep, and I've tried counting sheep and focusing on my breathing (which the ear plugs help with; you can still sort of hear things but if you breath deeply then all you hear is your own breathing, and the sound of your breathing blocks out the faint external noise!), but basically I'm at a point where when insomnia hits, I get up, read Savage Love, noodle around a few specific websites, work on budget planning if money is stressing me out, and end up sleeping on the couch–most comfortable couch ever. My husband mostly understands, and feels a little bad, but the couch system works pretty well. Now that I have a more active part-time job, I'm exhausted enough to sleep more often, too; so all that nonsense about exercising helping insomnia may have a little bit of a point (it doesn't hurt, anyway).

  52. I really enjoyed this post. I am (usually) the one asleep, and it is so great to hear what the other side is like. I am the one who goes to bed early for work, my partner comes in to say good night. Most of the time (but not always), I fall asleep right away, and he is the one up in the other room probably trying to tire his mind, before he lays in bed for a few hours, finally falling asleep at 4 am or something of that sort.

    Sometimes I wake up and say "hi" when he comes in the room. I barely know I'm doing it, and then I fall asleep again. I never really understood why he doesn't want me to do that, but now I do.

  53. Did you end up getting separate beds? I am looking for articles and any info that I can give to my gf. We have been living together less than a year and she is just starting to experience my insomnia. It comes and goes. I haven't had it this bad in more than a year, but in the past couple of weeks, it's been bad. I am looking for a good way to explain it all to her, so we can have a conversation where she gets what she needs in terms of sleep, I can do my best to get what I need, and neither of us end up feeling bad about it.


  54. My girl friend and I are good sleeper and she normally dose off as soon as it's 10-11pm every night and wake up as early as 7-6AM.Recently she lost her job which got her depressed and I have been around to support her financially,emotionally n spiritually as well.I've encouraged her to be strong and hopeful that better job awaits ahead for her since she lost the job just because the boss want her ass but she refused.She's a single mom and today she cried so much cause of her love for the job though I talked to her to never cry again since am still there for her that I will continue to cover all the bills,food and shopping, like I do since I met her though she's now resenting the anger on me since she cannot sleep all the night,slamming d door and telling me all sorts of bad words which she used to tell me when she didn't get what she want not because I am the cause but simply cause she feel that I don't care for her,don't love her,don't need her anymore,telling me off until I woke up though we have had several fights that falls through day and nights sometimes and whenever she didn't get what she want,the next thing is open the door and go back to her house which I rented and pay for her badmouthing and saying that I never value or treats her well nor even make her vital to my life even though I told her at the start that I don't like to sleep and wake up at the middle of night nor couldn't sleep 6 -7 hr cause if I fail to sleep well throughout the night,I will have serious headache that wouldn't let me do anything.I have wanted to break up with her but I have reason she will take her life if I do.Pls It seem like am trapped because I used to have me time and enjoy my life as a single young man but since this girl came into my life,I now have to be unhappy mostly 6 days a week.I have been enduring this for 8 months but the latest insomnia is the thing I couldn't agree anymore because I have told her to stop worrying about anything concerning the job that I will do everything till she gets another job and will continue to do my best even after she get the job cause I do love her precisely but I need happiness and less finger pointing to be able to handle my own disturbing life challenges.Pls help me .I need serious advice on this urgently.

  55. "10:40. My night life begins. The first three hours are me trying to tire myself out. I do mentally taxing activities β€” writing, video games, money management, a fair amount of wedding planning. I try to make schedules and get a little ahead on work so my anxiety will have fewer anchorages to latch onto later." – This is a large part of the problem, doing all these stressful things right before bed. Find yourself a good fiction book and read that instead, and get all this other stuff done earlier in the day/evening.

  56. Thanks for the perspective. In my relationship I'm the asshole who falls asleep in five minutes, except I also sleep very heavily. My partner is a terrible insomniac and it's taken years for me to accept it has nothing to do with me.

    I've just accepted that he only stays over once in a blue moon, and that I just shouldn't ask if he got any sleep because the answer is always no.

    Any advice for partners of insomniacs?

  57. Hey so question for those with insomnia. There's a girl I fancy and Wondering what I might get her as a gift. Either A) an actual gift, perhaps a bed warmer. or B) A sleep mask with two holes cut out of it. Maybe both?

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