Do you and your partner sleep well together? This subject is on my mind, I think, since S and I have returned from the Thanksgiving holiday a little less rested than we would have been if we had stayed home. This time around our lack of rest is mostly due to extensive road travel and our toddler, who cut her last four teeth all at once, beginning the day after we hit the road. Some of my tiredness, however, stems from the fact that S is a very active sleeper and as often as not I become a prop he uses to act out his dreams. He remains sound asleep while gesturing wildly, sitting up, talking, playing the piano and what have you. For a couple of grinding weeks right after I brought E home from the hospital, he had dreams that I had brought her into bed with us and was about to drop her. During these dreams he would clutch me (and the presumed baby) wildly, desperate to keep her from falling. Not once during these episodes did I have E in bed with us, and since I was already on edge from the sleep deprivation that comes with a frequently nursing baby, I kicked him to the spare room for the entirety of my maternity leave.
The truth of the matter is, we just don’t sleep particularly well together. I am a light sleeper – S is a heavy sleeper. S is also 6 feet, 6 inches tall and since we have yet to spring for a king-sized bed, he is often squished and uncomfortable which, in turn, makes me squished and uncomfortable. S is also much more of a night owl and prefers sleeping in, where I am always in bed by ten o’clock but more than ready to get up early.
When we sleep well together, we sleep very very well – we can go weeks or even months sleeping side by side, and when our sleep patterns coalesce in this way there is nothing I like better – I do believe a sense of physicial and emotional intimacy is lost when we sleep in separate bedrooms, and some of our loudest and longest laughing sessions have occured at three in the morning. But when we don’t sleep well together, we sleep terribly, and someone ends up in the guest room for a few days or a week until we can reset ourselves enough to share bed space again.
Most of my friends act appalled if I even hint at sleeping separately from S – and so I often don’t mention it because it seems to come across as though our marriage is in trouble, when the truth of the matter is our marriage is at its most perilous when I haven’t slept for three nights because S has decided to form a band in his sleep and play Green Day’s greatest hits. I seethe while S., E and and even our dog sleep until I recognize the pure ridiculousness of the situation and march myself off to the spare room.
So, that’s our sleep status – we try to mostly sleep together and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. What about you? Do you think sleeping apart is just one step away from divorce town? Have you slept apart for years, and have the happiest marriage you know? Any tips on how to cope with different sleeping “styles?”