When Your Partner Experiences Sleep Issues
I have to be honest – I’m really struggling lately. I mean, I have my own personal sleep struggles that are deep and troubling, but this time, it’s my partner who is struggling.
I honestly have no idea how to help, and it’s getting to me. Both that he isn’t getting quality sleep and secondly, that I should know how to help him other than say, “Take melatonin.”
One thing I did offer is some relaxation techniques we do when I go to therapy. I go through the breathing techniques of how to ground yourself and demonstrate how to breathe in, hold it, and breathe out, using my nose, throat, and chest.
Sometimes my partner goes in another room
Recently, I wrote about sleeping in different sleeping quarters and if that’s helped, which I will say it has and hasn’t. I feel less close to my partner when I’m not by him physically, and usually, I’m the one to leave the bed with a pillow and blanket to go into another room to try to sleep.
I’m not used to it being him, and waking up alone or being sad when I see and hear him get up in the middle of the night, leaving me in the bed alone.
I feel his absence when I'm alone
How do you feel when your partner isn’t in bed when you wake up? Perhaps I struggle a bit more because I feel secure and safe when I feel his body next to mine, as I struggle with PTSD and night terrors.
So not only do I struggle with being in the room alone, I struggle knowing he is facing the same problem I have. And I don’t know how to fix it for him, despite my years of struggle that some may call “expertise.”
Making all of our sleeping quarters comfortable
As I mentioned, there is an optional bedroom for another sleeping quarter, but I struggled with how to make the room dark, settling, and comfortable. After all, it’s his apartment, not mine. I tried to be respectful when changing anything up in that room for him.
I got new sheets for the bed we (try) to share and also got new sheets and freshly washed cozy comforters for the pull-out bed each of us uses occasionally. Lately, a lot more use has come out of that room and bed.
Searching for ways to offer support
He gave me feedback that the sheets I got were helpful and comfortable, but I’m led to believe his sleep struggles are due to stress and a little bit of restless legs syndrome based on all of the things he’s described to me. He has told me about being exhausted, but his legs bother him and feel restless and weird.
While I’m not a doctor, and he really should be seen and evaluated, I’m just trying to find ways to support him as he continues to struggle with his sleep.
Considering each other's preferences
Aside from having a clean, clear area to sleep in, one thing that helps him sleep is a ceiling fan. He knows I struggle with dry mouth already, so I try to wear a mask that covers my eyes and sleep on my tummy, so I’m not inhaling dry air.
Sometimes, he’s left the bedroom because I was actually sleeping and he didn’t want to turn the fan on and wake me up the rest of the night. Yes, the man is an angel. But I felt awful and told him/made him promise to please turn it on when he needed it.
A four-legged bedmate in the mix
I also think that having animals in our rooms hasn’t helped. I have a service dog, and she sleeps next to me during the night to wake me up and help with sleep paralysis. Typically, she stays in between mine and my partner's legs or at my feet, so she’s not in the way. But, it also adds another body to the bed.
What have you done to help your partner when they experience bouts of sleeplessness and insomnia? Have you found sleeping in separate rooms has been helpful? How do you help guide them in an educating way with all you know about insomnia?
Do you travel with your own pillow?