Friday, October 10, 2014

Sleeping Together Is Not Quality Time

I  read a blog post written by a man whose girlfriend hogs the covers, and the entire bed.  So not only does he wake up shivering, he wakes up shivering clinging to the side of the bed.  Yet he, like most people, finds these things FAR preferable to sleeping without his loved one.  He says if you're going to sleep apart, why even get married.  Really?  Really?

My husband and I have known each other 16 years.  We celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary last week.  For the past three years we have slept in separate rooms.  Prior to going to separate rooms, we had two beds in the same room for several years.  The current arrangement allows us each to achieve the goal of quiet, restful, uninterrupted sleep.  Sleeping, or rather, not sleeping together, is NOT quality time.

There are lots of things one person can do to keep another from resting comfortably.  Snoring, the twitching of arms and legs, repositioning themselves with all the coordination of Shamu performing for a crowd. and the passing of gas all rank right up there.  Even with a king size bed, I felt I was sleeping in a war zone.  My dear husband can fall into a deep sleep in under three minutes.  He can also go from that same deep sleep to wide awake and completely alert in 45 seconds.  He can fall asleep anywhere, and if you wake him, he falls BACK to sleep in about a minute.  He's not a sleep cuddler.  He says having someone sleeping against him makes him too hot.

I am the total opposite.  It takes me quite a while to fall asleep, and I need absolute quiet to get there.  Even the sound of a clock ticking is enough to keep me up.  Most nights I ended up on the lumpy couch, seething with resentment, while he laid in our bed, snoring, twitching, flailing and farting.  One of us awoke refreshed in the morning.  And it wasn't me.  According to a counselor I spoke with, this problem is extremely common.  And 95% of the time, it's the woman who ends up being displaced.  I'm all about the man being the head of the household.  But when it comes to sleep, I'll fight to get what I feel is rightfully mine.

Our minds and our bodies cannot function on no sleep, or terribly interrupted sleep.  I spent my days in a sleep-deprived state.  That made me not a lot of fun to live with, but can you blame me?  The turning point came when I found myself standing at the side of the bed, holding the covers up with one hand while the other hand clutched a can of Lysol.  I was seconds away from blasting him when I realized it's not his fault, and he isn't doing it on purpose.  AND, he's a perfectly charming and well mannered gentleman when he's awake.  Shortly after that we went to separate bedrooms.

Our sex life has not suffered, although I do sometimes feel like a one night stand when he puts his pants on and leaves the room.  Both of us sleep well, without interruption from our loved one, and the important time we spend together, i.e., time when we are conscious, is improved because we are both well rested.

But hey, if you want to measure the success of your relationship by the room you sleep in, knock yourself out.  I'm not the one clinging to six inches of the bed, shivering in the winter.

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