Dilemma: How Much Would You Pay For Your Spouse’s Good Sleep?

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I have a secret in our marriage that I’ve been keeping from you guys.

One reason is that it is a personal topic for a lot of couples.

I’m sure it doesn’t come up often in our everyday conversations.

I want Mr. FAF and I to appear normal to everyone: we are just like any other married couples.

Another reason is that I thought we had settled our argument once and for all in August 2017, but it seems like the battle is still ongoing.

You might be asking why I decided to share it with you today.

It’s because I am sure many other couples are going through or have experienced the same problem.

I actually put up a poll on Twitter about this topic and got 101 votes!

The results will be revealed near the end of the post.

I know my grandma, my mom, my aunt, and one of my best friends have gone through the same issue.

I turned to my mentor – Dr. Google – and found that many wives have the same problem.

The secret

And the secret is this: Mr. FAF and I have been sleeping in separate beds in separate rooms for the past nine months (almost a year!).

Whenever I let a family or a friend in on this secret, the first question they would ask me is “What about your intimacy?” Intimacy is indeed important to any couples. Without it, we’d be like two roommates living under the same roof sharing a bank account and a child.

However, there’s one thing I know for sure. If either or both of us wake up tired and cranky from a night of bad sleep, no intimacy will happen. And that was the case on many occasions.

Before Mr. FAF and I starting sharing one bed, one of the first questions I asked him was “Do you snore?” He said he didn’t, and he was right.

It wasn’t until he gained 22 lbs that his snoring problem emerged and got worse over the years. With that came the the nonstop and heavy tossing and turning in the middle of the night.

One time in my dream I was about to try a delicious dish at a buffet when Mr. FAF threw his earth-shattering toss in bed and woke me up at 5:30 AM.

Another time, I would feel like a thousand ton of weight just dropped onto my body in the middle of the night. It turned out to be his heavy legs (?!). I just couldn’t fall back to sleep. And it happened multiple times during the night.

At one point, we had a huge fight about it. I blamed Mr. FAF for being inconsiderate and destroying my sleep, making me feel exhausted the whole day for weeks. He fought back, saying he tried his best to be quiet but didn’t know what he was doing in his sleep.

It got so bad that we decided once and for all to sleep on separate beds. And our life quality instantly improved. I enjoyed my queen-sized bed with no noise or movement other than my own. Mr. FAF could sleep through the night without any elbowing or “You’re snoring. I can’t sleep” from me.

In a nutshell, both of us were happy.

Related: The Costs Of Marital Conflict

Mr. FAF’s sleep problem

A good sleep can do wonders for your health.

Until recently, Mr. FAF has been having sleep problems.

He either can’t fall asleep until late at night or wake up super early in the morning (i.e. 4 AM) and can’t fall back to sleep.

He tried sleeping in different beds in different rooms to see if it would get better, but it wouldn’t.

He even traded his room with his mom to see if it would help. It didn’t.

He tried drinking alcohol late at night (1 AM). He also drank Chinese herbal medicine during the day.

Lots of money was spent on alcohol and medicine. Nothing really helped.

He then tried to sleep on the same bed with me one night and surprisingly had the best sleep he’d had in months.

Related: How Frugality Brought Us Together As A Couple

The dilemma

There’s only one problem: I can’t sleep with all the snoring, tossing, and turning from Mr. FAF. I do wear ear plugs, and we lie on near the edge of each side of the bed, but it doesn’t help.

The first night we slept together after 6 months, I couldn’t fall asleep at all. Mr. FAF noticed that and left for another room at 2:30 AM. I fell asleep right away.

He was super upset about that, saying I didn’t need him anymore and all that jazz. I felt bad.

The second night, I felt asleep at 1:30 AM and kept waking up throughout the night, having shallow sleep and remembering a lot of the dreams that I had.

On the third night, Mr. FAF finally didn’t have to leave for me to fall sleep. He woke up looking so happy and refreshed with the good sleep. I hadn’t seen him that happy in a long time.

Part of me was happy, and part of me was mad at him for making me feel exhausted the whole day. I started my day yawning nonstop.

Sleep is indeed important for our sanity, productivity, and health.

In a way, I feel like I’m in such a dilemma. I’m sacrificing my good sleep so that Mr. FAF can sleep well and be energetic the whole day while I’m yawning away in my office.

However, I feel bad telling him he can’t sleep in the same bed with me. His happy smile awakes my conscience. I don’t want to be a selfish wife who only thinks about getting enough sleep for myself and leaving my husband alone with his insomnia all night.

I caved. And I kept feeling sleep-deprived.

Related: How To Deal With Spousal Envy

The (pricey) solution

I decided to share my story with one of my best friends, who told me that she was going through the exact same problem. Her husband also snores really loudly and tosses and turns nonstop at night. She was miserable for a long time but finally got used to the snoring.

She suggested we buy a memory foam mattress which she bought on sale for $300 (the original price was $449.99). I looked at the price and balked. Is it worth spending $500 on a mattress (including tax) to improve our married life and sleep quality?

After much debate, Mr. FAF and I decided to go mattress shopping. Both of us needed our good sleep and were willing to spend/invest the money into our marriage, health, and sanity.

In this case, I think it’s worth it to pay half a thousand dollars for my spouse’s good sleep. Of course, the free option would be for both of us to continue sleeping separately, but it does Mr. FAF’s health no good.

We went to a mattress store and found a perfect solution: a queen bed that consists of two twin beds and two memory foam mattresses.

The only problem is that the price was $9,000 (?!). We wondered who would be able to afford such an expensive bed and gave up on the idea. We can just put two twin beds next to each other at home for much cheaper.

Mr. FAF bought a $99 memory foam mattress to try out in his study room. It improved his sleep quality for a while, and then he started having insomnia again.

This past week, he wasn’t feeling well, so we slept in the same bed for the whole week, and I had a headache (together with pregnancy exhaustion) every day for five days straight.

Mr. FAF finally noticed my deteriorating mood and sleep deprivation and moved to another bedroom. I had the best sleep I had had in a week and woke up refreshed and happy.

There was no snoring, tossing, turning, leg dropping, him using the bathroom late at night and waking me up, etc. Life was wonderful!

RelatedWhat To Do When Your Spouse Wants To Travel Alone

Poll results

Feeling so conflicted, I put up a 24-hour poll on Twitter and got an unexpected number of votes: 101! I thought I would get at most 20 votes. Apparently, a lot of you guys are going through the same issue and offered great suggestions:

— “Separate blankets, a white noise machine or a fan” (to dampen the snoring sound)- Alicia at shespends.org

— “Two separate beds in the same rooms, ear plugs, free white noise apps on your iPhone or iPad” – All About Balance

— “A great mattress, white noise machine, ear plugs, and (yes) a futon in the next room for the worst nights” – Bitches Get Riches

— “A white noise machine or earplugs” – Jax at Project Beach Life Mrs. Pirate Owl

— “Put a blanket or pillow in the middle of the bed to minimize the movement” – Lily at The Frugal Gene

— “An ipod for insomnia podcasts with an earbud in one ear and an earplug for the other” – Tenacious Feminist

— “Get a smaller sized bed and push it together with your existing bed to make one giant bed” – Olivia at Birds Of A FIRE Jack at Jack The Dreamer & J at Millennial Boss

— CPAP machine – David at Zero Day Finance & Andrew

Dr. McFrugal suspected Mr. FAF might have sleep apnea which can cause cardiopulmonary issues (oh my, I hope not).

Ms. Zi You shared an article about a married couple who lived in two separate houses next door to each other (wow).

Moving forward

I was so happy to get so many suggestions. It ranges from simple things like a white noise app to a bigger project like getting a king size bed made up of two twin beds.

When 2 become 1

I think that putting two twin beds next to each other might be a great option for us. The only thing I’m hesitant about getting that bed are the following:

— Costs: We will need to buy a new bed, which means trying to get rid of our heavy current bed frame and spending money on two quality beds that won’t cause us any more headache.

— A new baby: We are having a baby in about 4 months. Mr. FAF will likely sleep alone in a separate room so that he can get enough sleep for work while my mom and I take care of a crying infant at night. I don’t know how long that will last, but we will not be sleeping on the same bed for the foreseeable future.

I think we might just wait until our second baby is born to see what’s the best solution for us and our family.

Sleep might seem like such a normal and negligible matter in our daily lives. However, whether we can get a good night sleep can have such a huge impact on our mood, productivity, and sanity.

Mr. FAF and I will be trying different methods to see what works best for our sleep and our marriage.


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28 thoughts on “Dilemma: How Much Would You Pay For Your Spouse’s Good Sleep?”

  • Oh yeah same conclusion, wait until the baby is born and see where you guys are. He might not want to sleep in the same room as a newborn.

    It’s funny in the 1930s, you weren’t allowed to show a husband and wife sleeping on the same bed. They had to film them sleeping on twin beds on opposite ends of the rooms. (Early episodes of I Love Lucy you see this.)

    In 2018, and it’s a guilty confession to want to sleep on a different bed/room. Humans are such weirdos.

    • I didn’t know that about the 1930s. It does sound a bit strange since you see couples fooling around in bed in movies all the time (eh) ;). It’s like the norm now. I guess humans are indeed very weird 😀

  • I would also wait until the baby is born. If he slept in a different with the first baby, then he will likely sleep in a different room again for the second. And that could last a while until baby becomes a good sleeper.

    I am having a similar problem, but not the same situation. We had our first baby 6 weeks ago. Both my wife and I co-sleep with her in the same bed. My wife wants me to sleep with her because she feels more comfortable and secure and it makes her sleep better. I am a deep sleeper and don’t snore, but my sleep gets interrupted and disturbed with all the breast feeding, burping, and diaper changing throuought the night. I get a little bit tired at work. But I will still sleep in the same bed for her (I want to) hoping the baby sleeps better at night soon.

    Not sure if you want any more of my unsolicited advice, but I will offer a few more in case you’re open to it.
    1) discourage alcohol. It really disturbs the sleep wake cycle and patterns. Alcohol is expensive, so cutting it out will save you money and make him healthier.
    2) try meditating together in the evening. It has been shown to help with sleep, anxiety, and increases health and productivity. There are several free apps. I have tried it. And it helps.
    3) exercise during the day may also help his sleep (and health)
    4) an air filter/purifier might help. If he is snoring because it’s dusty and his nose gets congested/clogged, a filter might help. It also provides white noise too. Only drawback is that some can be pricey. We have one in our master bedroom and it has significant helped with my night time breathing. No more boogers! Lol.

    • I would LOVE to get your advice! I have been urging Mr. FAF to stop drinking, and he said he would multiple times. But he still drinks when the mood strikes *sigh* He usually buys cheap alcohol from Costco and eat leftovers when drinking it, so it’s not as expensive as going to the bar, but still >_< It's so nice of your to sleep with your wife and provide her support despite all the disturbance at night. Congratulations on the new family member! I think Mr. FAF will def sleep in a different room after our 2nd baby is born. He and I will take turns doing the night shifts until his paternity leave ends. After that, he will probably take care of the baby on the weekends or sth 😉

  • My recommendation is to exercise more. If you’re tired physically, you usually fall asleep pretty quickly. This sounds like a tough situation. Maybe get a king bed so you have more room. Don’t hesitate on spending money because good sleep is worth it.

    Also, talk to your doctor about the insomnia problem. Sleep apnea can cause many health problems. He might need to get one of those sleeping mask or something. The root cause is sleep apnea. Probably should try to lose some weight too.
    Good luck!

    • I say test for sleep apnea. You are both miserable and if it’s apnea you’ll be amazed at the difference it makes when it’s treated!

      My parents had twin beds pushed together for many years before my mom died and my Dad did get tested and treated for sleep apnea eventually during their marriage. I think what you are going through is pretty common.

    • Mr. FAF is going to see a doc today. I will remind him about the sleep apnea. He’s also been working out every day to lose weight, and it’s reduced the snoring quite a bit 😀 Thanks for the advice, Joe! 🙂

  • It’s a more common problem than you think. My Mom has the same problem with my Dad.

    Second what Doc has said. Weight can also contribute to sleep disorders, so exercising and losing weight may be beneficial. (Just not near sleep time as it’ll contribute to insomnia)

    As with the insomnia, it may be that this problem or others stresses may be adding to Mr FAF’s sleep disturbance.

    Hope you work it out. There’s no-one to blame, just a very frustrating important problem that I hope is resolved quickly.

    • I totally agree with you about the weight loss. Mr. FAF has lost at least 10 lbs, and his snoring problem has def improved.

      He was really stressed out about his job when he first started, so it might have been one reason. And whenever he is stressed out or when we have a fight, he will also have insomnia as well.

  • I was diagnosed with sleep apnea and used the CPAP machine. However, oftentimes I would take it off unintentionally in the middle of the night. I’ve been kind of lazy and need to go back to the doctor to get a newer machine. I’ve always had a snoring problem and god bless my wife for putting up with it. She seems to have gotten used to it. I don’t think I toss and turn which seems to be more of the problem for you? I would definitely suggest going to a doctor just get it checked out since he didn’t always have this issue. Sleep is so important and is going to be tougher with 2 little ones!

  • We spent close to $2k on an expensive bed for the sake of his sleep 😂

    It definitely seems to help with his back though his back still plays up. The other issue we have is our wildly different temperatures. I’ll heat up the room before bed and then in the middle of the night wake up because he had to put the fan on. Often he has to lay down a towel to soak up all his sweat (even mid winter). Because if him we have no sheet or blankets on top, only a duvet. (Makes making the bed a lot easier though!)

  • I’m thinking he might have sleep apnea too. Should get it checked out.

    Hey, you might be the first mom who gets MORE sleep after the baby is born, coz you’ll be free of your husband’s snoring and kicks… 😀

  • Yeah, I don’t see anything wrong with separate rooms, it’s really common in certain circles – again it’s a privilege thing, having a spare room to be able to do this. I think it’s more normal than people discuss.

  • Having a good night sleep is worth spending the money. And of course, having intimacy with your partner is also very important for your relationship.

    Not sure if it’s a European thing or not, but these “two beds in one” type of bed (i.e. two doubles to make a queen), seem somewhat common in Europe.

  • Married almost 18 years here and husband and I have our own blankets in our queen bed to prevent night time battles!
    Things to look into. Snoring is a sign of apnea… this can be brought on by weight gain and it can be very dangerous. Sleep apnea means that he is not getting appropriate amounts of oxygen when he sleeps.. thus waking up not well rested and suffering all day… Eating late, unhealthy eating and increased alcohol consumption can add to sleep issues.

    Does he need a new pillow? My husband’s pillow getting old and crushed will increase his snoring… Might be time to invest $20 in a new firmer pillow..

    Maybe put a fitted sheet on your bed and you each get your own top sheet and blankets.. might help prevent the kicking or flopping during the night…

    Pregnancy is NOT helping you … Best of luck!

    • Thank you for the suggestion! I told Mr. FAF about sleep apnea, and he did get a referral. He have all sorts of pillows at home, including a $25 memory foam pillow from Costco. He uses 2 pillows at the same time, and it seems to help a bit. Pregnancy def makes me more tired too!

      • Yea Mr. FAF! If he goes he gets major credit for taking care of his health, being a responsible husband and father. 😊

  • This is an interesting post. My wife struggles with sleeping. She tried meds, but the scared her. She tried vitamins and they did not help. There are many nights when she gets up and goes out in the living room and sleeps on the couch. I am not into sleeping in two separate single beds. I am, however, willing to upgrade to a king from a queen size bed.

  • Sleep struggles are the worst!

    Have your tried using a white noise sound machine? We’ve had one in our room for the past two months with our newborn and our quality of sleep has increased significantly. (Or maybe we’re just exhausted from having a newborn.) You can download an app on your smart phone (the one I have is called “shh baby shh”) and try it for a couple nights to see if you like it before making an investment to purchase a sound machine.

    Congrats on your new little one on the way!

  • exercise has always done the trick in our house. you sleep so much more soundly when physically tired. i think it helps to do something vigorous enough to break a sweat for 20 minutes.

  • Oh, I know the feeling. I’ve never been good at sleeping with other people. Honestly everytime I am touched when asleep I wake up. Even as a child this was true. Then I marry my very snoring husband and it was a disaster. Neither of us were sleeping. Even after his cpap we were still struggling. Both of us were cranky, like 2 toddlers needing a nap. We’ve been in seperate rooms for 9 years. We are.rested, not sniping at each other. Intimacy is a choice. Sleeping in the same bed does not make you love one another more. Being tired and cranky will make you love and desire one another less.

  • I don’t kbow how you manage that. My wife snores like the Union Pacific Railroad, and if I were to sleep in another room she would think I was having an online affair

    And I also like listening to music when I sleep so I subject her to that. I say the only way I can get passed the snoring is to listen to music

  • I echo the other posts above about sleep apnea. An overnight monitored sleep test will diagnose it. A CPAP will eliminate all snoring and you will be happy campers sleeping in the same room again.

  • Seeing as this made the The best of FAF 2018, what was the eventual outcome? Drinking alcohol just before going to sleep, stress at work and possibly weight gain, depending upon the extent, seemed like likely contributing factors and of course, they are also factors in sleep apnoea.

    Hopefully hubby is now doing better but as was noted earlier, the arrival of newborn FAF has likely postponed any respite for you, at least for the next couple of years. Happy holidays!

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