Confessions of a Snore Partner
Well it finally happened. The thing I've dreaded most in our 10 years of marriage: Our very first sleep divorce.
Okay, I'm exaggerating. Definitely not our very first, but certainly our first in our new house. At our old house, when I resigned to the couch, the living room was just on the other side of the bedroom wall. Heck, most of the time, I could still hear his snoring from my much-less comfy, temporary bed.
Now, in our new home with an extra 1100 square-feet, sleeping on the couch means sleeping on a different level of the house. Dramatic? Yes. But still weird.
The first time, I was desperate to fall asleep and he knew it. I didn't even have to ask, and he was half way out the door before I realized what he was doing.
"Where are you going?" I asked, already feeling relieved before he answered me.
"Going to the couch so you can get some sleep."
I would have cried because of his selfless act but because of the newfound silence that hung in the air, I was fast asleep. I'm sure a subconscious (unconscious?) part of me missed him, sensing it was only me and the dogs left in our king-sized bed, but I was grateful for an uninterrupted slumber from that point on until my alarm rang in the AM.
The next morning, I shot him a text of appreciation, but also knew I'd better not press my luck. He's a mason, he does hard, physical labor all day and his body requires fulfilling rest to recover and recuperate. Me, I sit at a desk all day. I'm not the one snoring, but a night on the couch certainly has less of an impact on my performance the following day than his. Plus, the things he does all day are dangerous by any measure.
He has even been tasked with moving literally stories-tall concrete walls. A fall from a high place, getting crushed by being in the wrong place at the wrong time, an electrical shock when crane-meets-powerlines… One wrong step, one unconcentrated movement or decision can have devastating consequences in his field of work. He's not only responsible for his safety, but the safety of everyone around him.
Adding in exhaustion and brain fog resulting from poor sleep is just a recipe for disaster.
While we were eating dinner the next evening, he sheepishly asked, "Is it okay if I sleep in the bed tonight? I really need it." We went to bed together and when we hit the peak point of his snoring late into the night, I didn't wait before I threw in the towel and took my turn riding the sofa. No, I didn't sleep well, but relationships are about compromise, give and take. We all have to take our lumps now and again - and this time, the lumps were quite literal.
(If we keep this up, we're gonna need a new couch!)
If you've succumbed to a sleep divorce, here are some tips for couch sleeping…
How to Sleep on the Couch Comfortably
Okay, if I was being honest I'd say "You can't." But I've had plenty of nights lying awake thinking about this!
- Take your bed pillow with you. Don't try to sleep with the decorative ones on your couch that every one of your guests has touched - unless you want to wake up with beads and embroidery indented in your face.
- Lay out a soft blanket or sheet. No matter the texture of your couch, I guarantee it's nothing like that buttery, soft mattress you left behind. Put a barrier between you and the fabric.
- Brush off the crumbs. Come on, don't lie to yourself. You know what I'm talking about.
- Mimic your bedroom's environment. Turn on a fan, adjust the thermostat, close the blinds, resist turning on the TV. Whatever you need to match the light and sound that your brain is accustomed to.
- Don't forget your alarm. If you're like me, your phone is your alarm clock. And if you're also like me, you can't stay asleep if you have something the following morning you could be late for - like a flight or an appointment. Make sure your alarm is within hearing distance.
I'm not going to add "Get a sleep partner who doesn't snore" to the list because that would be just cruel. But, I actually wouldn't blame you if you did…
I know what I need to do. And if you're in a similar situation as me, you know what you need to do too...