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.
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
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.
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!
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
— “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
— 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).
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.