a woman looks enviously at her soundly sleeping husband as she sits up wide awake on the edge of the bed

Sleep Envy

Sleep envy became a thing in my house. For over a month, I worked myself to the point I fell asleep at night on my own. Work was exhausting, and having 2 teenage boys didn't help. They are both feeling the loneliness and frustration of the past year, as most of us are.

As happy as I was to see my kids emerging from the broodiness and work slowing down for a minute so I could take a breath, I knew the insomnia would be returning with it.

Surrounded by good sleepers

Sleep envy is a strange phrase within itself without explaining the dynamics of my household. My husband has sleep apnea, another sleep disorder, but even before his diagnosis, he could fall asleep at the drop of a hat, which I have always been jealous of.

Our youngest has the same ability. There is a picture of him not long after he learned to walk standing up, with his head on the couch's armrest, fast asleep. His older brother is what I assume is an "average sleeper."

I know sleep apnea is dangerous

Sleep apnea comes with its own set of problems, though, which makes my jealousy even more ridiculous. Before he started sleeping with his CPAP machine, he would literally stop breathing in his sleep. Three people I knew have passed away from untreated sleep apnea. No one has to tell me how selfish I am. The rare nights I slept, the selfishness I felt was unbearable.

Turning into someone I did not recognize

I'm not sure if it was from overworking myself or a combination of things. My month-long COVID-19 battle changed me. I am now what they are calling a long-termer. Having fatigue but not being able to get restful sleep turns me into a person I do not recognize.

This was a new experience for me, and I explain it to anyone in a rational way. It was merely the fact my husband had the nerve to sleep when I couldn't that upset me. So the possibility exists there is no sensible way to explain this unless you have struggled with it yourself.

I love my husband deeply, so I felt ridiculous for being mad at him for something he couldn't help. If the shoe were on the other foot, he wouldn't expect me to stay awake. I eased back into my standard nightly routine and reminded myself what I could while he slept.

Learning to let go of my envy

It was a quieter time to read, work ahead for the next day, and it was my alone time. Even though I enjoy the warmth and comfort of my bed, I will move to the living room and work on my crafts or read a book. This helps prevent resenting the love of my life he in no way deserves. This is still an ongoing problem, but I have let go of the jealousy.

I discovered a new hobby. I bought a spinning wheel to make my own yarn, which I have always wanted to learn. I would do anything to make my husband an unnecessary target of my anger, and so far, I am succeeding!

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