For the past few years my husband has rarely had a good night sleep.
He usually wakes up in the middle of the night or early hours of the morning and then struggles to get back to sleep.
He then goes on to struggle through the following day, trying to avoid being a 'OH&S risk'.
Every ounce of energy he has left from being consistently sleep deprived is used to focus on keeping up with the never ending complexities and demands of his job in middle management.
By the time he got home there isn't much of him left over to give.
Even going to choir became a chore. (He has Welsh heritage and loves to sing, so this just demonstrates how bad things have been).
The fatigue that resulted from never ending lack of sleep has robbed him of quality of life.
It was beginning to effect his overall health, our relationship and his social life.
So, when I came across some professional development training for counsellors with clients with sleep related problems, what did I do?
Yes, I jumped at the chance, with my darling husband being more than willing to became my guinea pig.
Well, are you curious about the outcome?
It was way more than anything we expected.
In less than a week, we went from fatigue and sleepless nights that we had concluded were a life sentence to, wait for it...
nights of consistently sound sleep and so far we are not looking back!
Now this might not sound like such a big deal to someone who hasn't had a sleep problem (or slept with someone with a sleep problem),
but you try sleeping with someone who
a) constantly jerks and kicks throughout the night
b) gets so hot I don't even want to go near him in case I catch on fire (unless its a very cold night of course and I need warming up)
c) constantly wakes you by throwing off the blankets when you like to be all snug
d) wakes you when he gets up to read in the middle of the night
e) doesn't make sense when you talk to him after 6 o'clock (pm of course).
We had tried all the medical advice but it didn't work. We had given up hoping for change.
And do you know, he only had to make a few simple mindset and lifestyle changes to create such outstanding results.
For my husband this entailed
1) learning about the role of melatonin and its relationship with light
2) creating within the home, on an evening, gentler light
3) keeping things on a late evening quite light-hearted (no serious discussions).
4) not watching TV an hour before bed and,
5) learning not to get up to go to the toilet during the night (yes, that is an important one for most of us older folk)
6) Keeping the bedroom when sleeping free from light
7) No clock watching, and
8) Learning how to get back in touch with his night-time self again (Yes, we all have one).
I am not advocating that the changes are a simple cure that anyone with sleep problems should make.
Recovering the ability to get a good night's sleep depends on a range of factors such as lifestyle, past sleep related experiences, and attitudes and approaches to sleep.
However, we only applied a few of the strategies that I have been taught which gives me the confidence that there are also strategies in my counselling 'sleep-well tool box' that others can draw upon to move onto a path back to blissful sleep.
If you can relate to my husband's experience, I would love to help.
Call me or email me or leave questions or comments in the comments box.
(Just press on the title and scroll down to get into the comment)
And now I'm off yet another night of blissful sleep (Sorry, I think it's too good not to rub it in!).
Oh, and after reading this blog (before I posted it) my husband just told me that he is going to put his own blog up called 'My wife the bigamist !' (As in, I must be talking about some other husband).