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Anyone live with an insomniac - coping strategies needed

(39 Posts)
BG2015 Tue 05-Apr-16 10:43:52

I've been with my DP for just over a year and a half. He moved in around Christmas time.

Great guy, loving, caring, good cooks,helps around the house, funny and generous and my 2 teenage sons get on with him great.

He has chronic insomnia. I totally sympathise as I've had periods in my life where I couldn't sleep. But it makes life hard as a couple sometimes.

He has always slept quite poorly and his lack of sleep is the only thing we argue about. He's a very light sleeper and wakes up at the slightest sound. He tends to fall asleep really quickly but if he wakes up it can take him 1- 2 hours to get back to sleep. To make matters worse we live in a 3 storey house and my DS13 bedroom is directly above ours. We can hear him moving around, his phone buzzing and when he goes to the toilet. None of this is terrible noise but in the middle of the night it becomes magnified.

He isn't rational at this time when he wakes up and he gets very annoyed, can't get back asleep which becomes a viscous circle. I am a light sleeper too, so hear him wake up then we end up having a heated conversation at 3 am! He then goes on his phone which doesn't help.

He uses ear plugs, doesn't drink coffee after 6pm, we bought a new bed. He exercises loads (he works in the fitness industry) but his sleep situation makes him miserable and bad tempered.

It's a real issue in our relationship when he has a really bad night.

Anyone have any ideas?

Fratelli Tue 05-Apr-16 12:00:05

Is there a spare bedroom one of you could use to avoid the arguments? Or could you swap bedrooms so that your dc is below you two? You've really not been together very long, maybe living separately was better for you as a couple?

It must be so hard not being able to sleep. He shouldn't get cross with you though. I would just ignore any attempts to get into an argument.

This may seem strange but YouTube ASMR video. They really help relax me and fall asleep just listening to them. I'm sure more helpful people will be along shortly!

UrgentSchoolHelp Tue 05-Apr-16 12:03:29

Get him to try slow release Melatonin.

wallywobbles Tue 05-Apr-16 12:34:19

We use sleeping pills that are type 1 antihistamines. Available over the counter in France and Spain and honestly they've changed our lives. It allows me to get back to sleep and I can shake them off in the morning.

Cost is 2€ for 10 and we take half of one. Heaven is a good nights sleep. The molecule is doxylamine succinate 15mg.

If you know anyone who goes to France or spain ask them to get you a few packets.

It's recommended for 5 days to get into a better habit. Not addictive in any shape or form.

BG2015 Tue 05-Apr-16 12:50:38

Thank you for your replies.

I do have a spare room but it's full of junk and not really very appealing. In hindsight we should really have moved into my DS16 bedroom, his room is next to DS13 and at the front of the house but our room is the master with large fitted wardrobes and an ensuite.

I'm going to redecorate DS13 bedroom over the summer and get him new carpet so I'm going to look into soundproofing the floor somehow.

I can get back to sleep quite easily after waking up but my DP can't. I ignore him when he wakes up otherwise we just get annoyed with each other.

DS13 has wanted friends to stay over during the holidays and I've resisted until last night when I allowed his best friend to stay. Of course they didn't go to sleep and woke both me and my DP up at 1am. I'm off work so I'm ok but DP is currently asleep on the sofa before he goes to work later.

When he's slept well he's like a different person! I'll look into those tablets wally

FredaMayor Tue 05-Apr-16 13:05:50

IMO good sleep quality is not something you can buy over the counter, even though you and DP might be feeling you would sell your souls for a decent night's sleep.

Drugs (and I would include 'herbal' and 'natural' remedies) for insomnia don't help the body or mind with anything, they just induce sleep of an unnatural quality. Aside from coffee and tea other drugs as well as alcohol can affect sleep patterns. You may already have learnt about sleep hygiene, but IME you should also bear in mind your learnt behaviour and expectations.

There is research to show that a person's reported and actual sleep quality may not be the same. To find some scientific articles search 'perceived and actual sleep quality' in Google Scholar and look for PDF and HTML buttons to the right of the results which will allow you to access documents which are in the public domain.

IME I was given the advice to get fresh air, exercise and a supportive diet which actually helped me during some pretty tough times, so I would urge you and DP to try that. The benefits of those things go beyond better sleep patterns, too.

Whyarethebestnamestaken Tue 05-Apr-16 13:31:09

Fratelli, I have tried just about everything to help me sleep and only got 2 hours last night but have not heard of ASMR before.

I had a quick look at Youtube and there are quite a lot of them, which is the one that you recommend?

I will google it later but have not heard of it at all, fingers crossed!

BG2015 Tue 05-Apr-16 13:33:19

freda I totally agree about drugs/sleeping tablets, when I split from my ex a few years ago my Dr reluctantly prescribed some sleeping tablets, I was terrified to take them and they are still in a drawer somewhere. They did however, give me a bit of a psychological safety net. I took Kalms and they did bugger all!

I also agree that perceived and actual sleep are different too. My DP has claimed to have been awake at certain times, when I've known full well that he's actually been asleep because his breathing was heavy and I actually spoke to him.

I'm convinced that sometimes he's decided that he's going to struggle during the night before he's even put his head on the pillow. He has to get up a couple of mornings really early for work and on those nights he tosses and turns something awful. It's certainly psychological with him at times.

I think he'd benefit from some form of counselling as he has underlying issues but I know he wouldn't agree to it.

He eats a really healthy diet, doesn't smoke and only drinks occasionally. He exercises lots as he works in a gym. We often walk in an evening.

I shall google that research!

Fratelli Tue 05-Apr-16 15:03:01

I personally love Chelsea Morgan Whispers. She has quite a few videos. It largely depends what appeals to your ear though! I mostly like people whispering about anything, other people like different noises etc. I hope it helps! It really helps me sleep during a bout of anxiety!

Zaphodsotherhead Tue 05-Apr-16 15:08:55

I'm sure I've read somewhere about people who 'perceive' themselves to be awake all night, who are actually sleeping a full 8 hours, but their belief that they are sleep deprived affects their behaviour. My OH suffers similarly, he'll tell me how he 'tossed and turned all night, couldn't sleep', but is nonplussed when he finds that I've been in the living room all night and he never heard me get up (I am genuinely insomniac occasionally, and can vouch for the fact that he is fast asleep and snoring, when he declares he never slept a wink).

Is he genuinely spending a long time awake or does he just think he does? In which case his behaviour is dictated by him feeling that he is entitled to be cross because he's sleep deprived, when he isn't.

UrgentSchoolHelp Tue 05-Apr-16 15:27:28

Melatonin works very differently from sleeping tablets - it is the sleep hormone used by the body but in tablet form.

BG2015 Tue 05-Apr-16 15:36:13

My DP is awake for periods during the night, I've lay next to him sighing, tossing and turning and trying to have a conversation with me. I don't answer him if I can.

But I don't think he helps himself, he will look at his phone, or read something on his iPad, he believes he won't get to sleep so he doesn't try.

When he lived on his own and he woke up during the night he would put the TV on low and fall asleep quite quickly, obviously he can't do that with me next to him.

He needs to learn how to fall asleep again but at 51 he's convinced this is how it is.

We've just looked at the ASMR videos on YouTube and DP just made his own talking about football- it made me laugh! His sense of humour is still there sometimes grin

lljkk Tue 05-Apr-16 19:54:05

It's important that he doesn't talk. Talking keeps a person awake.
Picturing puzzles (different part of the brain for pictures) would be ok.
Also need as much darkness as possible, this changes hormones.
I can't have tea after 2pm so I don' t know how he makes coffee work until 6pm (ok, I think it doesn't work for him).
He needs to rest even if he can't sleep, so try not to iphone, etc. Lie still in the dark. I know it's painfully boring.

Someone might have to explain value of ASMR videos to me. I can only find women DH would fancy waving weird things around & whispering.

people who 'perceive' themselves to be awake all night, who are actually sleeping a full 8 hours

can't begin to say how much a statement like that makes my blood boil!! Not blaming Zaphod. Just that ... some of us really do sleep badly. I can manage my insomnia, but I'm aware it's not good thing to have.

AnyFucker Tue 05-Apr-16 20:05:55

I am a chronic insomniac but I don't make other people suffer for it

I have mindfulness apps on my phone+ earplugs that help a bit

I use phenergan that works well to stop me waking up once I am asleep without the drowsiness the next day

And I don't expect other people to arrange their life around my habits

Poor sleep won't kill you. When your body is in need it will do what it has to do.

MrsRolandRat Tue 05-Apr-16 20:33:05

Years of sleep problems here due to my job (long haul air stewardess)

I was signed off work for 5 months back in 2012, went to see sleep consultants, experts and I tried evert technique possible.

I was prescribed a good drug that's actually an anti D, it did work and massively improved my general Heath and well being. I came off them after
a few months and now take 40mg of
amitriptyline every night. It may well be a psychological effect but I sleep 7-8 hours and hey I will take that over restless nights any day.

Penfold007 Tue 05-Apr-16 20:56:21

I am your DP, my ipad is my saviour in the early hours. Your DP should try stopping coffee well before 2pm and your DS really needs to put his phone on silent.

insan1tyscartching Tue 05-Apr-16 21:29:11

Another insomniac here, have been since my teens so more than 30 years. I carry on regardless as to how much sleep I've had so always get up at the same time whether I have slept or not.In fact the less I think about sleep the better I sleep.On bad nights I get up and do the ironing or bake so at least I feel as though there has been some benefit to my lack of sleep.

Blueshoess Tue 05-Apr-16 21:32:34

Iam a student OT and have worked with a lot of individuals with poor sleep hygiene.

One thing that sometimes works is white noise. There's research to suggest that it supports the person to reach the deeper stage of sleep that they often don't get to if their a light sleeper. Aswell as traditional white noise there's also pink noise and nature noises (the sound of rain is very popular). There's 12 hour recordings on YouTube and you can buy special 'bedphones' to wear when your sleeping.

Also, you say he exercises often. Try to cut out evening work outs, routine and winding down is so important.

Oh and the lights on phones/tablets are super bad for sleep..Though someone one mentioned that there's an app you can download to adjust the light (not 100% sure what this is called).

I hope this helps, definitely try the white noise. I know it sounds a bit hippy dippy but Google it and have a read about the benefits.
Hope he finds some relief soon, sleep deprivation is a big problem area for the individuals within the mental health setting I work. It's awful to see their symptoms exacerbated by lack of sleep.

UrgentSchoolHelp Wed 06-Apr-16 06:43:09

Please just google the hormone Melatonin. What people are saying about iPads / light and drugs will make a lot more sense once you've read about it.

Zaurak Wed 06-Apr-16 08:37:43

people who 'perceive' themselves to be awake all night, who are actually sleeping a full 8 hours

Not a full 8 hours but it is possible to perceive yourself awake when technically you're asleep. I am a terrible insomniac and has sleep studies done a while back. They showed I slept pretty badly but there was one time where i insisted I had been awake and they insisted I was asleep. I was able to recall them talking about something specific outside the room I was in. I read about this afterwards and I'm convinced I do this regularly. Dh will say I'm fast asleep but I am aware of him getting up, and exactly what he's doing.

It's very odd.

Melatonin works for me. Nothing else does.

By the way, your son needs to stop his phone buzzing!

VinceNoirLovesHowardMoon Wed 06-Apr-16 08:43:56

Where do you get melatonin from? It's not prescribed for adults I don't think.
I am a terrible insomniac and I can't sleep next to another person but that's just the way it is. I think you should clear out the spare room and put a bed in there for him, you can hang out, get dressed and have sex in the main bedroom but he has a quiet bolt hole to sleep in. If I ever live with a man again we are having separate bedrooms.

BabyTheCaveLion Wed 06-Apr-16 08:52:49

Can you buy metalonin over the counter?

Zaurak Wed 06-Apr-16 08:56:48

You can't buy it otc in the uk. In the USA it's sold as a food supplement. Your best bet is one of the big online American pharmacy chains like Walgreens

Marmalade85 Wed 06-Apr-16 09:06:21

Why did he think it was a good idea to move in with you and two teenage sons if he is such a bad sleeper? It is a family home and your children should not be expected to accommodate someone you've been in such a short relationship with. It isn't fair that their friends are no longer allowed to stay round. Perhaps he could rent somewhere quiet near you Monday to Friday and stay with you at weekends.

Spandexpants007 Wed 06-Apr-16 09:06:30

5-HTP from amazon (works well), magnesium,

Meditation on breathing. Mindfulness

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