How do I get my husband to sleep in bed with me?
September 10, 2010 9:20 AM   Subscribe

My husband falls asleep in front of the TV four or five nights a week. He says this is the only way he can get to sleep. I hate sleeping alone and this has become a Big Issue. Should I let this go and if not, how can I communicate more effectively?

He's an overthinker and a natural night owl and he tends to rehash the day in his head before he goes to sleep. He says the TV distracts him enough to be able to sleep (he has ADHD). He is not lying, there is a definite correlation between his stress level and his ability to sleep. He has tried sleep medication and he does not like the hangover so he refuses to take it.

What happens is this: we will be watching TV together, I will get sleepy and go to bed. He stays up and says he'll be in later. He falls asleep. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night to find he's not in bed. If I go wake him up and ask him to come to bed, he's usually upset because he has trouble falling back asleep again.

I insist that sleeping together is important to me, and he thinks I'm being selfish. Obviously I do not have an evil plot to prevent him from sleeping, I am frustrated because he doesn't seem to want to work on this issue at all. He has found something that works for him so "that's the way it has to be" in his mind. I do not want to spend the rest of our marriage mostly sleeping alone. (We have been married 3 years btw and this has been a consistent issue).

I am pretty sure it's not that he doesn't want to sleep with me although it hurts that he's not trying. When he does fall asleep with me he sleeps soundly. We have a wonderful relationship otherwise. He is physically affectionate and our sex life is good. (Btw my reasons for wanting to sleep with him have nothing to do with sex, we generally don't do that right before bed/upon waking up anyway.) He loves me more than anything which is part of why this issue is so perplexing and frustrating.

I feel silly going to counseling for this one issue, but I don't know what to say to him so that he is willing to try. If you are going to suggest cures for insomnia, please also suggest ways to get him to try them.
posted by fantoche to Human Relations (49 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Get a small TV for the bedroom?
posted by Gator at 9:22 AM on September 10, 2010 [15 favorites]

Can he listen to the radio with headphones while in bed?
posted by EndsOfInvention at 9:22 AM on September 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

I wouldn't ordinarily suggest this, but a compromise leapt to mind: TV in the bedroom.
posted by grobstein at 9:23 AM on September 10, 2010 [2 favorites]

Yeah, put a TV in the bedroom.
posted by amro at 9:23 AM on September 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

Have you tried watching tv together in bed? He can fall asleep in front of the tv, you can then turn it off or use a sleep timer.
posted by jeather at 9:23 AM on September 10, 2010 [3 favorites]

What if you move the t.v. to your bedroom? Or if the noise from the t.v. would keep you up, have him watch t.v. on his computer using earphones? That seems like the natural compromise to me. He gets t.v. to help him fall asleep, and you get him sleeping in the same bed as you.
posted by danceswithanonymity at 9:24 AM on September 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


My boyfriend is the same way.
But it's not an issue for me.
We go to bed together with the telvision on in the bedroom and both fall asleep to it.

Can you not fall asleep with the television on?

I also dated someone else that also couldn't sleep without sitting in front of the television.
He would come to bed with me and then go sit in front of the television after I fell asleep.
Is that something that would help?
posted by KogeLiz at 9:26 AM on September 10, 2010

I'm going to gently try to turn this on it's head.

Why is it important to you to spend 8 hours of unconsciousness next to the body of your unconscious husband? If your husband puts his foot down and refuses to accommodate you, what acceptable actions are left to you? Can you think of any compromises that will fulfill the things you think are important about co-sleeping without affecting his own ability to fall asleep? For example: moving the TV to the bedroom; or Asking your husband to come to bed with you initially and then get up after you've fallen asleep.

If you don't know the answers to these three questions, then I think counseling is profoundly un-silly.
posted by muddgirl at 9:26 AM on September 10, 2010 [14 favorites]

My father was the same way. He couldn't get to sleep until he fell asleep to the TV. It turned out he had sleep apnea and anxiety, so it was a matter of him finding a solution for his sleep apnea and the right medication for his anxiety. I think he tried sleep medication, and it didn't do much for him. I believe he has a CPAP and he's on Zoloft, and he has a much better time sleeping now. I'd suggest you encourage him to see a doctor to figure out what his real issue is.
posted by two lights above the sea at 9:26 AM on September 10, 2010 [3 favorites]

I don't have as constant of a problem as your husband, but there are definitely times when my boyfriend has gone to bed and I know I won't be able to fall asleep still for a while. The solution to this is laptop in bed with the backlight turned waaaaay down + headphones + hulu.
posted by phunniemee at 9:27 AM on September 10, 2010 [2 favorites]

Also, as an anecote, my husband has a similar problem. We have settled for option #2, and it works out really well for everyone except the couch, which is starting to wear down.
posted by muddgirl at 9:27 AM on September 10, 2010

I am like this myself. Please do not take it personally. It's not absolutely sure that he doesn't want to sleep with you, but that getting in bed, turning the lights off and then lying in the dark means he stays up all night thinking. This is likely not about you -- and if it's not, making it about you and your hurt feelings could make it worse.

While one obvious solution might be to put a television in the bedroom, this is often considered very bad for Insomnia. Most tips for preventing or treating insomnia suggest only using your bed for sleep and sex.

I am often the same way, without some white noise to distract me, I have a very hard time falling asleep. It has to have more content than a white noise machine or a fan. Listening to music sometimes works, but it often makes me think more. Particularly if the music is emotionally stirring or evocative of things I am sensitive or care deeply about.

I have found that what helps bridge the gap is podcasts. Can you listen to podcasts together in bed, after watching TV? I have an iPod dock, but I also sometimes just play them aloud from my laptop. When the podcast is done, I am usually already nodded off, but the laptop goes to sleep. Perfect. I love listening to This American Life, Dan Carlin's Hardcore History, things of that nature, as I fall asleep.

Now, if he refuses to try any of these solutions, you might have a bigger problem. That's where counseling can and should come in.
posted by pazazygeek at 9:28 AM on September 10, 2010 [7 favorites]

I don't think it's silly to want this. It seems like there HAS to be a happy medium here. Some that come to mind are cuddling on the couch in the last hour before you go to bed, or designating 2 or 3 nights a week where he comes to bed to cuddle with you before you sleep, or just read in bed together. You could start a conversation by telling him your needs directly (something like, "I don't sleep well alone and enjoy spending time with you before bed. As much as you like to sleep alone, that's how much I would like to sleep with you in bed and spend time in bed with you. This is important to me, and we need to work out a compromise. Falling asleep on the couch every night does not work for me.") You can ask him to come to bed with you earlier on days that he might go to work later or on the weekends, for example.

It sounds like he is stubborn on this issue. Do you think he could be doing it as a way to get needed alone time? I know that I'm pretty introverted and would go nuts without alone time, even when in the best of relationships with someone I really loved. Good luck!
posted by shortyJBot at 9:29 AM on September 10, 2010 [2 favorites]

My wife needs to fall asleep to a TV. We have a TV in the bedroom, and for a while there, I was using eyeshades to sleep. I've since then gotten used to it and ditched the eyeshades.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:30 AM on September 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

I would nth the suggestion to get a tv in your bedroom. Otherwise, let it go. I know that I do not feel like I should have to change my sleeping habits if it means not getting the sleep that I need. Do you want him to lie in bed not able to sleep just because it's better for you? This is silly.
posted by mokeydraws at 9:33 AM on September 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

I used to be the same - I could never fall asleep without either a TV or fan on. Now I listen to podcasts on my ipod (I find The Skeptic's Guide to the Universe and NPR's Planet Money work best for me as they're intellectually but not emotionally engaging).
posted by hot soup girl at 9:40 AM on September 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

Perhaps some other form of stress relief, like exercise in the evening, or meditation, would allow him to relax or sleep without needing the tv?
posted by aught at 9:43 AM on September 10, 2010

It sounds like his job isn't necessarily physically taxing but mentally taxing. This is common.

IMHO, an effective solution for this is exercise. If he gets up early and exercises, he won't want to be hanging about downstairs watching TV. He'll get himself to bed in the evening quicker than a greased ferret. Because he'll be knackered.

Exercise also gives people energy - they feel more awake when they are awake - and regularises sleep patterns. This means that stuff that needs to get rehashed can be done in the morning when everything has had time to get bashed into place by the subconscious and doesn't get pored over late at night when one is tired.

I don't have a problem with a TV in my bedroom - I've had one for ages. But particularly since Mrs MM has been exercising a lot, and me a little less so, we haven't tended to switch it on much.

Incidentally, there's also a correlation between having a heart attack and not getting enough sleep, so besides a better marriage you might also have a longer marriage.

Since you've asked for ways to get this to happen. If your hubby isn't much of an exerciser then start with an early morning walk [together] and progress to something more active. If it needs more interest, take a camera. Or a dog.

I personally think gyms are stale places where thin people go to feel better by exercising next to fat people, so I'm not going to recommend one. Your location isn't clear, but a rowing club, a cycling club, a jogging club, an outdoor fitness club would all be more fun and motivational than a gym, again IMHO.
posted by MuffinMan at 9:47 AM on September 10, 2010

Is he medicated? Before I started taking Adderall I had an awful time falling asleep unless the TV was on and even then sometimes I'd lie awake thinking for hours. It was miserable. After the Adderall I was able to move onto podcasts and internet radio on my iPhone for a few months, and now I just need a white noise machine. I'm asleep in less than 10 minutes.
posted by elsietheeel at 9:47 AM on September 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

What happens is this: we will be watching TV together, I will get sleepy and go to bed. He stays up and says he'll be in later. He falls asleep.

It wouldn't be unreasonable for you to ask him to dvr whatever's on now, come to bed for a cuddle or whatever, and then go back to the tv when you're starting to fall asleep.

If I go wake him up and ask him to come to bed, he's usually upset because he has trouble falling back asleep again.

This would piss me off too.

I insist that sleeping together is important to me, and he thinks I'm being selfish.

Why? What's important about it? What actual, concrete benefits does it provide to you? Is this something that actually is important to you for some good reason, or something that you've decided is going to be important to you because that's what couples do or something along those lines?

I don't mean this to be snippy, but you should figure out what you're really after. Is the thing that's actually important to you that he's there while you're flat-out unconscious? Or do you want a bit of a snuggle before falling asleep?

He loves me more than anything which is part of why this issue is so perplexing and frustrating.

There's no reason this should be perplexing. Comfortable sleep is a vital human need, and you're asking him to have difficult sleep instead.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:47 AM on September 10, 2010 [3 favorites]

I have had the EXACT same issue with my boyfriend. We have a TV in the bedroom, except I'm a sensitive little bitch who can't have ANY sound when I'm trying to fall asleep, so that's not always an option.

A beer or two (or a Trazodone) prior to bed is good for getting one's sleepy on without a lingering hangover. However, it sounds as though he's happy with the status quo and doesn't want to change... THAT is more of an issue, frankly.
posted by julthumbscrew at 9:47 AM on September 10, 2010

When I'm having anxiety issues that keep me from falling asleep, I listen to audio books in bed with headphones until I fall asleep. The ones where the narrator has a calm voice and British accent work especially well.
posted by Emanuel at 9:48 AM on September 10, 2010

Oh, and re: people who think the OP's request is unreasonable. There are plenty of folks who enjoy falling asleep next to their partner. It's snuggle and emotionally satisfying in some way. It's a perfectly valid need... although I concur that it would ALSO be valid for her to request that he stay 'til she fall asleep, then sneak off and watch TV at his leisure.
posted by julthumbscrew at 9:50 AM on September 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

I will also mention that, though I currently sleep alone, I do far prefer to fall asleep listening to something. It used to be tv, but I have since switched to books on tape (only books I know well, so I don't get distracted by wondering what is coming next). Your husband might be willing to make this switch as well -- it depends on what you can deal with, too. Is he willing to fall asleep with headphones? If not -- and I understand why not, they're uncomfortable, especially if you roll over -- are you okay with having noise for some time period until he falls asleep? You may need to decide between "going to bed with noise of tv/book on tape/whatever" vs "letting my husband sleep on the couch".
posted by jeather at 9:54 AM on September 10, 2010

Fall asleep on the couch with him. Instead of getting up and going to bed when you're sleepy, stay on the couch and sleep there.

Please don't wake him up in the middle of the night. You may have no idea how horrible it is to be woken up in the middle of the night and then have to lie there completely awake for hours - hours of frustration and exhaustion - because you can't get back to sleep easily.
posted by Sassyfras at 9:55 AM on September 10, 2010 [9 favorites]

However, I am easily awoken and cannot sleep in bed with anyone else; I even have to lock my cat out of my room at night. If I ever get married we will have to have separate bedrooms. It's an absolute deal breaker for me. But I'd compromise on Friday and Saturday nights.

If none of the other suggestions work, could you manage without him on weeknights?
posted by elsietheeel at 9:58 AM on September 10, 2010

I also am a hyperactive thinker who often uses the TV to help me fall asleep. We have aTV in our bedroom for this purpose. Also, audiobooks work really well for the same purpose for me, and work a bit better in a shared bedroom - in particular Stephen Fry, his voice is like an extra luxurious blanket of wonderfulness.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 10:01 AM on September 10, 2010

compromise? no matter the reason why someone is staying up later than the other (work, life, tv for sleep), you get 30 minutes together of snuggles in bed. if he still can't sleep, then he can go out and watch tv (because trying to sleep next to a person struggling to sleep is no good for either person).
posted by anya32 at 10:06 AM on September 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

Your desire for co-sleeping is really valid, although it's obviously less pressing than his need for sleep. Maybe if you describe, in sweet and loving words, why you enjoy sleeping together (skin to skin contact, feeling connected, sustained intimacy, etc.) he'll be more inclined to try some of the suggestions in this thread. Some not mentioned already:

- Laptop on dresser + wireless headphones + downloaded TV shows
- Radio
- There's a possibility that beyond the TV issue, he actually can't fall asleep with another person in the bed. Try taking tips from The Secret Language of Sleep: A Couples Guide, which has unorthodox sleeping positions for you to try

I also need to be listening to something to fall asleep. Last year I switched from TV shows to podcasts and it's an amazing difference. For falling asleep, I like podcasts without clear structure or serious topics. The B.S. Report with Bill Simmons and the Breaking Bad Insider podcast (an AMAZING hidden gem for BB fans) fit this bill, as they're just friendly conversations where your trying-to-sleep mind doesn't freak out if you nod off for a minute and miss some crucial segment.
posted by acidic at 10:14 AM on September 10, 2010

I came in to suggest podcasts and audiobooks as well; certain voice actors (the aforementioned Stephen Fry, as well as Mary Robinette Kowal) are particularly soothing to me.
posted by NoraReed at 10:17 AM on September 10, 2010

I tried to sleep with my wife for years, but our sleep schedules are so different (she sleeps lots, I don't), that I fall asleep on a couch in another room while watching TV because it really does help me sleep, and she can't stand the slightest noise while sleeping. We get along fine with this. She gets her sleep and I get to remain a night owl.
posted by ducktape at 10:23 AM on September 10, 2010

Seconding anya32. Try this for a while: Have him come to bed with you and snuggle for 30 minutes once you get sleepy, and tell him that he can go back and watch the TV once the 30 minutes are up (or if you fall asleep.) That should take the "must fall asleep" pressure off of him. Worst case, you get to lie next to him while falling asleep. If, without the pressure, he does fall asleep in bed: bonus!

If that doesn't work... yeah, I'm with all the "give him something to do in the bedroom" crowd.

Last point: I found that when trying to negotiate sleep-timing issues in my own relationship, it was really helpful when I took the initiative to make some changes to my own sleeping habits, instead of just expecting that of him. In our case, he was on a very weird work schedule, and I started sleeping at somewhat odd hours myself so we could sleep together. Seeing me make changes -- particularly after I'd spent a long time saying "I need my sleep and I need it to be exactly this way" -- made him much happier about changes he could make to accommodate me; we were both working at it. In your case, some suggested things you could do would be learning to sleep with eyemask/earplugs if you end up with a TV in the bedroom, or perhaps trying to learn how to fall asleep on the couch some of the time. Note that I am -not- saying that you should give up on your desire to sleep together.

Good luck! Relationships are difficult as is, and getting good sleep makes things easier on everybody.
posted by wyzewoman at 10:34 AM on September 10, 2010

My husband is the same way. Listen, I know that technically you are unconsious for 8 hours and so it's easy to ask why you'd care, but for me, sleeping in the same bed gave me a feeling of closeness and intimacy that I really missed when he started falling asleep on the couch in front of the tv. So I get it.

May I suggest moving the tv to the bedroom and investing in a pair of wireless headphones? I tend to go to bed earlier than my husband, and our current apartment is loft-like in that there aren't any separate bedrooms. Hearing the tv, even at a low volume, really made it hard for me to fall asleep and things have been infinitely better since we got the headphones. I think it is a bit selfish to insist that he sleep with you without addressing his own needs, but there is nothing selfish about it if you find a solution that meets his as well as yours. We all have needs, and life in a relationship is so much easier and happier when both partners feel that their individual ones are being addressed.
posted by DrGirlfriend at 10:37 AM on September 10, 2010

so it's easy to ask why you'd care

A general clarification, because I can see how my comment may be misinterpreted.

I don't actually think it's important for us to know why the OP wants to co-sleep with her husband - personally, I think it's quite nice although my partner often finds it troublesome. However, I think it's important for the OP to do some self-examination and analyze why it's important to her. Otherwise, it will be hard to move away from a fixed "I want this, he wants this completely opposite thing" position to one that allows for mutual compromise.
posted by muddgirl at 10:53 AM on September 10, 2010

So, I'm married for years, and suddenly they start snoring. A lot. And I'm a light sleeper at first, so the lack of sleep was really getting to me.

She tried lots of things, including getting tested for (and diagnosed with) sleep apnea. She went on a CPAP machine, she lost some weight, she changed her diet, and things got better. At last, I could sleep again.

Then she started snoring again, and it became a problem again. Ultimately lack of sleep causes a lot of interpersonal problems and high stress, and I had to find a way to cope, so I started staying up late enough that I could fall asleep even with the snoring (which meant 2am bedtimes.) Her response was to start complaining about me oversleeping in the morning.

My point here is, you have to accept that lack of sleep, chronically, is a big problem, and I think it's wonderful that he's found a way to deal with his sleep issues without upsetting yours. So whatever solutions you pick to try (and the TV in your bedroom one seems like your best bet honestly), do not dismiss his concerns about your selfishness in waking him up to come to bed -- it's a real problem, and shouldn't be diminished.

One way to get him to try these changes might be to acknowledge, up front, that you were wrong to wake him up and bring him back to bed and thus ruin his night's sleep, that it was selfish, and that you won't do it any more -- but in return he needs to work with you on finding a solution that suits both of you, not just him.

Good luck!
posted by davejay at 10:59 AM on September 10, 2010 [3 favorites]

As someone who is stressed and insomniac at the moment I want to emphasise how profoundly not being able to get enough sleep can impact on quality of life. Not being able to relax into sleep becomes a nightly worry as you try to catch up, knowing this will make a huge difference to how you feel in the morning but unable to relax enough to actually get to sleep for hours. Knowing even before you get into bed what awaits - hours lying there in the dark with the worries of the day flashing through your head and building worry as the minutes slip away, knowing each one means less and less sleep before one has to get up for work. As it goes on, the lack of sleep makes it easy to become irritable and thus more sensitive, just as you get more desperate for sleep, so that every noise, snore, tug at the duvet becomes another thing keeping you awake. Its easy to turn that irritability on your partner, with potentially damaging impacts on the relationship. Then there's absence of sleep on your whole quality of life, increased lethargy and reduced motivation. This is liekly to impact on one's partner as well as oneself.

I appreciate that there is a benefit in terms of increased intimacy of sharing a bed, but for me, this would be far outweighed by getting sufficient sleep, and I would argue that as well as making the insomniac's life considerably better this will also provide benefits for the partner as well as the insomniac.

Try the TV & headphones idea, try to encourage your partner into regular exercise or help him look for other ways to reduce stress, but as davejay also says don't underestimate how horrible not being able to get enough sleep is.
posted by biffa at 11:10 AM on September 10, 2010 [5 favorites]

Just another perspective, but snuggling in bed for 30 minutes as a compromise doesn't sound beneficial. This might be because I am not a cuddler but this is more time just laying in bed, not falling asleep. Not going through my own process of what I need to fall asleep. Yeah, I'm projecting but I have issues with falling asleep, staying asleep, and ultimately waking up. Fucking with my sleep makes me very angry.
posted by mokeydraws at 11:31 AM on September 10, 2010

Has he ever been treated for anxiety? I used to not be able to "turn off" and my thoughts would race through my mind all night. SSRI's cured that.

Do you have a pet? I find that snuggling with my dog is a pretty good substitute (better than?) for my fiance.

One thing I like if I go to bed before my fiance is for him to come kiss me goodnight. It give me that same reassurance it did when you're a kid.
posted by radioamy at 11:43 AM on September 10, 2010

When Mr. M. was snoring badly and we were first co-habiting, I was so exhausted that I woke up one Saturday, rearranged my office, and was on my way to Ikea to buy a bed for me to sleep in there because I couldn't take it any more.

He was the one who said that he didn't want that to happen because he was afraid we would break up if we did. He agreed to go to the doctor and try harder with some anti-snore efforts, which he did.

There's a couple of things here: you have to let him sleep, however he can sleep. I guess I would ask why you don't get a television for your bedroom. I understand - I don't want one myself - but you have to compromise somehow.

I go to bed before Mr. M. because I need more sleep. He likes to stay up late (I do too, but I just need more sleep than he does). When we first moved in together, that really bothered me, but I can't legislate an adult's bedtime, and now I actually like the alone time. I read, I talk to the cat, I can fall asleep without him thrashing around like a wild salmon. But at first, it bothered me that we didn't go to bed together. It bothered me a lot. It was one of those things we had to work out.

Getting adequate sleep is unbelievably crucial. If Mr. M. hadn't been willing to take me seriously at that point I would have absolutely have gone ahead with my plan to sleep in separate rooms. I was so tired I would start crying for no reason at all.
posted by micawber at 11:44 AM on September 10, 2010

Response by poster: We don't have a TV in our bedroom because we don't actually have a TV. We have two computers and two monitors (both used heavily, reluctant to move one into the bedroom because the room is small). We have a Netflix account and we watch stuff there and on Hulu etc. We don't have cable, because, again, no TV.

It sounds like the solution is to buy a TV when we have more money and rig up one of those Netflix to TV thingies. Until then I'll let him sleep. We already snuggle on the couch prior to me going to bed, and he gives me a goodnight kiss while I'm in bed. It sounds like beyond that I am wandering into unreasonable territory, so thanks for your perspectives.
posted by fantoche at 12:16 PM on September 10, 2010

nthing podcasts as a possiblity.

Also, iPad with netflix on demand could give your partner an unobtrusive way to nod off with a screen going in the bedroom that doesn't necessarily keep you awake.
posted by u2604ab at 12:18 PM on September 10, 2010 [3 favorites]

I get like this sometimes too. My friend suggest (and then physically handed me a cd of) Yoga Nidra. It sounds kooky, but when you are focusing on what it's telling you to focus on, you fall asleep, and if you lose focus, you just start listening again. It's the only way I got to sleep when working on my thesis sometimes. So that's an alternative to TV that might be easier for you to fall asleep to.
posted by katers890 at 12:48 PM on September 10, 2010

Me and the wife fought over this for awhile about tv on in the bedroom while falling asleep-my biggest problem was she was watching crime shows while fallign asleep and having nightmares and then couldn't get back to sleep or woke up mad at me for what i did in her dream. So we got a dvd player and now watch old sitcoms on dvd while falling asleep. They are so mind numbing, especially after the 3rd or 4th time, falling asleep is easy. The better nature documentries are also good, like planet earth and life.

Also check out any local goodwill or st vincent de paul in your area for a cheap tv/dvd player, so you won't need cable or anything to watch tv. When I say cheap i mean real cheap-sometimes under 20 for both. Recently at a police auction I went to they couldn't even give away old cathrode ray tvs for free at the auction, and these were top of the line sony hd tubes so there is another cheap source to look into.
posted by bartonlong at 2:44 PM on September 10, 2010

If you can stand a tv in the bedroom, this might be your best bet. Also, as someone mentioned above, it is approximately eleventy billion times easier to fall asleep as an ADHD sufferer once you start taking medication during the day. I had insomnia for most of my life until Adderall, and later Ritalin. I fall asleep within 10 minutes of going to bed now, which is an unimaginable miracle.

(It's interesting that in a similar post a few months back, which I sadly cannot find, the woman whose husband insisted on sleeping/cuddling next to her even though it made it nigh impossible for her to sleep was given almost unanimous advice that her need for a good night's sleep trumped his need to cuddle. No judgment on the OP here, just on us.)
posted by elizardbits at 3:22 PM on September 10, 2010

Let it go. Have him watch tv on the computer in bed with you and get one of those nightblinder eyemasks to put over your eyes as you try to sleep. This is not a big deal.
posted by anniecat at 5:25 PM on September 10, 2010

I was you. Not with tv, but knuckle cracking was preventing us sleeping together. And it absolutely cut me up. It's been without a doubt the biggest issue in our six year relationship - I found it deeply hurtful, frustrating, angry, exhaustingetc. My partner couldn't understand the big deal about sleeping apart; we were asleep, her argument was, who cares what happens?

One of the reasons I thought it was so important is that in my family, sleeping apart was always a signal that things weren't going very well. Indeed, it became run of the mill prior to my parents' divorce. Despite the fact that thousands of couples all over the world sleep apart and love each other very much, it was wedded in my mind to a loss of intimacy and trust.

Once I realised that, and confronted the bogeyman in my cerebral closet. And reassured myself that it didn't mean anything we didn't want it to mean, I was much more comfortable with sleeping apart.

Interestingly, my increased comfort with it led to us sleeping together more anyway, because my partner didn't feel guilty and paranoid when she got into bed with me.
posted by smoke at 5:57 PM on September 10, 2010 [2 favorites]

We don't have a TV in our bedroom because we don't actually have a TV. We have two computers and two monitors (both used heavily, reluctant to move one into the bedroom because the room is small). We have a Netflix account and we watch stuff there and on Hulu etc. We don't have cable, because, again, no TV.

There are a couple other options options: you can buy a newer flat screen--look for an LG that streams netflix through ethernet. Or just buy a small, cheap TV, a digital box, and an antenna. But make sure that any television you get has a sleep function on the remote--integral for not waking up a few hours later to some goddamned infomercial.

I empathize, though. My husband has insomnia and it's not unusual for me to wake up in the middle of the night alone. It's a big help when he tucks me in--glad to read I'm not the only one who struggles with this.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:16 PM on September 10, 2010

If you cannot get a tv in the bedroom, is there any reason you cannot try podcasts/audiobooks/radio? They may not work, but there's little investment required.

(It's interesting that in a similar post a few months back, which I sadly cannot find, the woman whose husband insisted on sleeping/cuddling next to her even though it made it nigh impossible for her to sleep was given almost unanimous advice that her need for a good night's sleep trumped his need to cuddle. No judgment on the OP here, just on us.)

The difference is that in that question, the problem was staying asleep while in the same bed. In this one, the problem is getting to sleep -- it doesn't sound like sharing the bed while asleep is an issue.

posted by jeather at 9:52 AM on September 11, 2010

Cheap TV w/timer (set to turn everything off after 30, 60, 120, whatever minutes) + DVD player in bedroom, get some physical Netflix discs with your subscription.

I don't recommend getting a laptop to watch TV in bed because the light that close to your face can keep you awake longer.
posted by Jacqueline at 3:59 PM on September 12, 2010

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