Originally published Wednesday, October 11, 2017 at 05:55a.m.
Dear Dr. Rosenberg,
My wife is a night owl and watches television and is using her cellphone until midnight. She says that she has always been a night owl and is full of energy at the hours that I want to go to sleep. I have to be up by 6 a.m., and although I go to bed at 10 p.m., most nights I can’t fall or stay asleep until she turns off the television. I have become increasingly fatigued and irritable, and on the weekends I sleep until noon. I have tried eyeshades and earplugs but I still can’t fall asleep. Any ideas?
A: Yes, you are describing a common problem. You two have very different circadian clocks. Her sleep-wake cycle is, and will probably always be different from yours. Much of this is genetics. First, I would try to convince your wife to watch TV in another room and make her calls elsewhere. I would point out that your lack of sleep is taking a toll on you emotionally and physically. If you cannot resolve this then you might have to consider a bedroom divorce. Recent studies have shown that close to 15 percent of the population sleeps in separate bedrooms because of problems such as yours. That does not mean that you can’t still set aside nights to be intimate. You need to reassure your wife that your feelings for her have not changed, but your sleep is a priority. Good luck.
Dr. Robert Rosenberg, board-certified sleep medicine specialist, will answer readers’ questions by incorporating them in future columns. Contact him through the form at www.answersforsleep.com or via mail at the Sleep Disorders Center of Prescott Valley, 3259 N. Windsong Drive, Prescott Valley, AZ 86314.