Thursday, November 6, 2008

Not So Young But Pretty Darn Restless

My husband and I are having some problems in the bedroom. I can't help but grin when I type that because I know my mother-in-law reads this blog. (Don't worry Mom, you can keep on reading!) Sleeping, I mean... problems sleeping. When it comes to catching our Zs, we have some issues to overcome.

First you should know that our bodies are on two completely different schedules. I'm a night owl and I always have been. It takes me a very long time to wind down at night. I usually get in bed around 10, then I watch late night TV or read a book until I get sleepy. This takes a few hours. I usually turn my lamp off sometime between midnight and one a.m. (and even later if the book I'm reading is especially good). Fortunately my nightly routine doesn't bother my hubby one bit. As I've gotten older it seems like I've become more and more particular about my surroundings when I sleep. I never used to be this way. When I was growing up I shared a double bed with my big sister and no joke, if we had a friend over we'd fit all 3. I, being the runt, always got the middle. We'd also leave the radio on when we went to bed. Somehow I always managed to sleep. Now, however, I have to have it very quiet. The temperature must be cool but not too cold. It's almost like the stars and planets must be aligned for me to be able to get to sleep.

As for Chuck, he can fall asleep in mere seconds. It's pretty much a given that he won't stay awake during an entire movie if we start it any later than 7 p.m. I've seen him fall fast asleep in the middle of a conversation or waiting for his turn in a board game. If he settles down on the couch for longer than a few minutes, he is very likely to doze off. Even in the midst of great stress when the last thing in the world I could do is sleep, he manages to sleep soundly.

Now that you have all of that history, I'll get right to the problems. The first one is that my husband has Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS). Yes, it's a real thing! It doesn't really affect his day-to-day life very much, but his legs do begin to ache and twitch in the evenings before bed. I knew about this early on in our marriage but it didn't cause much of a problem for either of us at night. Maybe I didn't notice it so much during those first few years because I was too tired from school and work to notice. That all changed about 7 years ago after we moved to Texas. I began to notice that after Chuck went to sleep, his legs would jump rather violently during the night. It would go on for hours. It's almost funny to think about it now, if I didn't remember how miserable it was for me! Imagine you have lots of trouble sleeping to begin with. Then imagine you finally get to that place where you're teetering on the edge of dreamworld only to be suddenly jerked awake! Repeat this process about a dozen times. Honestly some nights it was so bad I actually would start to feel a bit seasick from all of the movement.

I actually counted in my head one night when it was especially bad because I was curious to know how frequent it was. I figured out his legs would jump about every 30 seconds. Pretty soon after that night I asked our family doctor about it during a visit. She said RLS was a real thing and that usually it doesn't bother the person affected nearly as much as their spouse (Amen to that!). Chuck set up a visit and she prescribed some medication for it. It took a practice round of meds that didn't do the trick before we found the right one. Now it is so much better! He takes the pill about 30 minutes before bed and most nights it works like a charm.

That's one problem (mostly) solved. But there's more.

Over the past few years Chuck has begun snoring. I don't remember exactly when it started but it's gotten increasingly worse over the past year. It doesn't go on all night and it doesn't rattle the windows, but it's definitely enough to be a problem. This morning he was sawing some serious logs around 5:30 and I woke up just wide awake and unable to go back to sleep. He gets up for work around 6, so I stayed in bed until about 6:30 while he got ready and then I just started my day early. I had a Bible study to go to at 9 and normally wouldn't have gotten up until about 8, so 5:30 was a pretty early start for me! I am by no means a morning person, but it was nice that Chuck and I had breakfast together. I even got some chores knocked out early, as I found myself cleaning out the refrigerator at 7 a.m.!

But that's looking on the bright side. It truly is hard that I'm such a light sleeper and sometimes insomniac, and my husband is becoming a difficult bedfellow. I really don't want to end up in separate rooms, so I'm on the lookout for snoring remedies. Oh, and I've tried earplugs and they become just another thing that keeps me awake and annoyed. I hope you have some ideas, or I may have to remain part of the not so young but pretty darn restless club.


Teresa said...

That was a great story! *Sigh* if only I'd been lucky enough to see my crush in his undies, my life would have been complete at 16! Haha. I have no advice for the lack of sleep issue. My hubby rocks the house with his snoring and wakes up several times from night terrors due to his time in Iraq. I also am a very light sleeper and night owl and have to have things just so to fall asleep so I feel ya there. Maybe we should invest in some ear plugs?? lol

Sunny said...

Mr. doesn't snore all the time but when he does he could bring the house down. I am a light sleeper too and he is a hard sleeper. A freight train could be plowing thru the bedroom and he wouldn't flinch. Needless to say, there is many a night when I'm shaking him telling him to roll over because the snoring is killing me.

Connie said...

Ah! You see Stace the foot tapping (when we were kids) was just to get you used to Chuck's RLS. I was trying to help you out. A simple "thank you" would do just fine... :)

Kevin and Beth Tanner said...

Oh Stacey, this just made me laugh, I am no help and have no ideas but I just had to let you know that your blog made me smile. If I come up with something that might help I will let you know! Love ya-

Abby said...

I think this may be something that happens when you are married too long? I feel the same sometimes!!!

p.s. I enjoy reading about others who are in the same boat as me. Although we have different stories - we understand what it is like day by day! Connie had sent your blog to my mom and she thought I'd like to read it. You'd be proud, I read the whole thing in one night. Please feel free to email me personally if you'd like. Connie has my email address! THANKS!!!

Amy @ Experience Imagination said...

My brother has RLS. My sister just sent around a document about possible causes/related issues. I'll e-mail it to you. Maybe you'll find something useful. As to the snoring, have you tried Breathe-Right strips? I got Adam to try them and, while they didn't take the snoring away completely, it definitely took the edge off.

Of course, you could always just watch the rest of the movie and leave him on the couch. :)

Andrea said...

lol I love this post!

I do feel horrible for you though, that is not fun at all. Ya'll sound a lot like me and Matt. I'm a light sleeper and usually don't fall asleep right away. Matt is asleep in seconds after getting in bed. He also snores sometimes (it always wakes me up and I just tilt his head to the side and he'll stop...sometimes I have to do this several times a night). He also has RLS, but it isn't bad right now, his legs just twitch sometimes. His dad also has it and got to where he was kicking my MIL at night...painfully hard. Needless to say, he takes the medication now! I hope Matt's doesn't get that way!

If your husband goes to the doctor they may be able to give him something for the snoring too. Matt only snores when he lays on his back with his head facing straight up. If I tilt his head or push him over to his side he stops (yes, he sleeps through that).

Anonymous said...

DH & I have the same problem with the snoring. It reached a point where we were sleeping in separate rooms just so we could get a peaceful night. Because I'm sure you'll relate, when you're a light sleeper & have been trying to sleep for 5 hours & keep being woken up you loose all sense of logic & compassion.
Fortunatley my DH took up cycling and lost some weight and got fit and its' made a HUGE difference no more snoring!!!

chuck said...

Whenever Stacey tells me that I've kept her up snoring, I feel awful.

I have tried the nose strips, but I always wake up with one side sticking up or find it stuck to the side on my nightstand or the bottom of my foot.

I probably just need to lose some weight. Which is ironic since I was teased relentlessly all my life for being so skinny.

Ro-bear said...

Hey Stace! My first comment ever (although I always read), but just had to share. I was a horrible snorer and, worse, would stop breathing alot while sleeping, which scared Laura when we got married. It took nearly 3 years of her complaining until I finally had a sleep study. Come to find out, I have horrible sleep apnea. So they put me on a breathing machine (CPAP or BIPAP), and it has been the best thing ever. Because of the apnea, I was always tired and had started falling asleep on the way to work (which is why I finally agreed to the study). As usual, my wife was right and I regret waiting so long. So hopefully Chuck won't hate me for suggesting to look into the CPAP therapy.

P.S.-- Loved the Piper video on the last blog.


Connie said...

I agree with Ro-bear. I think Chuck should do the study. I'm worried about him. :(

bonjovijennie said...

my dad, uncle, and aunt have a cpap. they are all the rage now! chuck should look into a study. it will make him feel better, more rested : )

I Believe in Miracles said...

I'm a real heavy sleeper, but toss and turn, and hubby is a real light sleeper who wakes up when I touch him. We now use a large fan for white noise and both can sleep a lot better. It might be worth a shot.

Love the start to this post. You crack me up.