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When sleeping together does not mean sleeping together and the tale of a sleep-walking mouse

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My husband and I no longer sleep together.

Now, before you go referring me to Dr. Ruth, let me clarify. I am talking about the actual sleeping part of sleeping together. With two children and the hope of adding another one to the brood sometime soon, we are doing just fine in the other category and we have a happy marriage.

It’s just that our sleep habits are lacking.

I am an early bird. I like to be in bed by 10 p.m. whereas my husband prefers to stay up later and has gotten into the habit of falling asleep in front of the TV. Sure, he will humor me by accompanying me to bed but then he’ll sneak out as soon as I start mumbling in my sleep and sneaks back in before dawn.

Though make no mistake, what I reveal is far better than the History Channel any day.

Last week, he installed a big-screen HDTV projector in our basement. I suspect I will never see him again.

I became a neurotic sleeper when I worked in radio and set two alarm clocks out of fear I would sleep through my 4:30 a.m. call time. Then I had kids and it was all over for me. I’m lucky if I sleep six hours straight.

Jamie’s sleep issues started even before we were married with a sleep-walking incident during his visit home to Meet the Parents (the movie is actually based on our true story).

A bit of background: we met ONLINE (a rather crazy story for another time) and were married within six months after we met. My family was subsequently wary of Jamie and my brother Patrick even referred to him as “The Axe Murderer.” For this reason, it was very important for him to make a good impression when I bought him home to meet The Family for Christmas. It didn’t happen.

After his first full day in Calgary, he retired to his assigned room in the basement. My brother Jade and Shannon, his busting-at-the-seams pregnant wife, were in the room next to him. Something you should know about Jamie is that when he does dream, it is very vivid. As in he thinks it’s actually happening.

So, Jamie was in dreamland when he was awoken by a mouse crawling up his leg (or so he thought). He shot outta bed, flew out of his room, only to find Jade and Shannon having a late-night discussion on the couch. They were shocked.

Panting heavily, Jamie announced to them, “Don’t worry: I’m Jamie Johnson!” (For fear they had forgotten who he was, of course) And he then proceeded to babble about how he had allegedly been attacked by a mouse. During his commentary, he went over to pet Lucky (the dog he did not like) and then gave his soon-to-be sister-in-law a backrub (who, at nine months pregnant, was not exactly the cuddly type).

Jamie then started to slowly wake up and made his way upstairs to get a glass of water. The full ramifications of what he had done started to set in. Embarrassed, he curled his 6’1 frame up onto a little couch upstairs and tried to go back to sleep, vowing to not go downstairs and face those people again.

Sympathetic and amused Jade eventually followed him up, “Hey Dude, are you all right?”

He really wasn’t.

When I went down the next morning to wake Jamie up, I could tell something was wrong. It was all confirmed in just one statement: “I think I gave Shannon a backrub last night.”

And so it began.

Are you one of the few blissful sleepers out there or do you have sleep problems? If you have a significant other, how compatible are your sleep patterns?

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  • comment avatar Michelle at Scribbit October 20, 2008

    Oh I feel for you–with Grace in seminary now I’m on the early morning schedule thing and I can’t sleep in to save my life. Six hours. Period.

  • comment avatar Karla October 20, 2008

    I don’t know who I feel worse for…Jamie or Shannon. Weird bit of trivia, my good friend, Shannon’s, ex husband is Jade. Weird coincidence…

  • comment avatar Awesome Mom October 20, 2008

    I am a night owl and my husband is an early bird. I dream of the day when the kids leave and we can stop sharing rooms. My husband makes all sorts of odd noises in his sleep. He even groans loudly sometimes. I think we would both get better sleep in different rooms.

  • comment avatar chellie October 20, 2008

    wow. that is really funny… maybe not at the time :), but it is really funny, especially now!

    I’m like you, I like to be in bed by 10PM, my husband loves to stay up and watch “his shows.” But there is no craziness around here… it’s all peaceful 🙂

  • comment avatar Paige October 20, 2008

    My hubby stays up late when I go to bed at 10, too. And yes, I have vivid dreams, too. Sleepwalking, no.

  • comment avatar Ice Cream October 20, 2008

    I’m an insomniac and my husband can take two naps and still fall asleep as soon as his head touches the pillow. When he had a snoring problem there were nights when I would lie next to him in total exhaustion, listening to his snoring, plotting the many ways I could kill him and make it look like an accident. Luckily he lost weight, stopped snoring, and I learned how to pick the best books to read myself to sleep.

  • comment avatar Ice Cream October 20, 2008

    Oh, and if I dream about spiders I wake up hitting myself and anythin/anyone next to me. My husband doesn’t seem to appreciate me trying to save him from the night spiders, though.

  • comment avatar Amber October 20, 2008

    Wow, we all have such beautiful love stories of sleep dysfunction. Jamie also wanted me to add that his rheumatism is often uncomfortable and he wanders the house at night because of it. Maybe when we’re 80 we’ll sleep blissfully? Oh wait. We’ll be up all night going to the bathroom. 🙂

    Keep those stories coming!

  • comment avatar Liza October 20, 2008

    My husband and I rarely sleep an entire night together. I go to bed around 10, he usually stays out in the living room and eventually falls asleep watching tv on the couch. And even if we start out sleeping together, he gets up at least once every night and will go out into the living room so he doesn’t bother me and then usually falls back asleep there. I’ve come to like having my own bed actually 🙂

  • comment avatar Amber Johnson October 20, 2008

    Admittedly, I have started to take over the King-sized bed when he’s not around. 🙂

  • comment avatar motherofbun October 20, 2008

    my hubby used to be a night-owl & I’d have to get up early for work. But for two years now, he’s had a job where they require him to work @ the office (as opposed to previous job of working from home.) Now he’s the early bird!

  • comment avatar Kimberly October 20, 2008

    I feel like I shouldn’t be laughing…but I just..can’t…stop!

  • comment avatar One Mom's Opinion October 20, 2008

    I go to bed between 10-11 usually. Hubby gets up early for work, so he’s often in bed by 9:30 pm unless he’s reading.

  • comment avatar Brillig October 20, 2008

    Oh my gosh, my kids just came running in to find out why I was laughing so hard. Seriously. Like, crying-laughing. So, so funny. Poor Jamie. I do hope that your family got over it eventually.

    I have four children and a puppy. That should let you know how well I sleep. As in, I don’t sleep. At all. If I did, I’m not sure how my sleep-habits would be. Maybe one day I’ll find out!

  • comment avatar Amber Johnson October 20, 2008

    Gee. I’m so glad you found humor at my husband’s expense. I think. 🙂

  • comment avatar Lisa October 20, 2008

    I too laughed at poor Jamie. It’s just so funny. My husband is a seriously light sleeper, and unfortunately goes to bed before I do. How is it that it’s always my job to make sure the kids are in bed and the lunches are packed?? Anyway, I usually have to tiptoe into our room and slide inch by inch under the covers (as if I was sneaking into my own bed) so he doesn’t wake up. If he does, he’s very grumpy, and has trouble falling back to sleep. Me, I sleep like a rock. As long as the covers are just so, and I’m perfectly comfortable. A little bedtime ocd is my only problem.

  • comment avatar Sketchy October 20, 2008

    My husband and I are opposites too, sleepwise…or at least we were. What solved it was getting him a job where he had to get up at 4:30 in the morning. Now he usually gets to bed at a slightly more normal time and just gets up way earlier than me. I even get to sleep in on Saturday because he thinks sleeping in is 6:30.

    My sister’s husband is a crazy sleeper though, I was a little concerned when we stayed with them last year, but he didn’t come in and give me a bag rub or anything. Should I feel jipped? I love backrubs. My husband might get jealous though, so its probably all for the best.

  • comment avatar SJ October 20, 2008

    Oh wow, that truly is a story right out of Meet the Parents! You poor things….

    I’m a morning person and a night owl – if that makes any sense at all. My husband however likes to sleep in and goes to bed at all hours of the night.

  • comment avatar yvonne October 20, 2008

    Love the story. Poor guy must have been so embarrassed.

    I wish my hubby and I were on the same sleep schedule.

  • comment avatar Fabiola October 20, 2008

    Poor Jamie, what an awkward situation. I hope everyone got over the situation really fast.
    My husband d and I are both really early birds, but I do have to get to bed by 10/10:30 and he can get only 4 night of sleep and he is good to go… I don´t know how he does that.


  • comment avatar Amber October 20, 2008

    Poor Jamie? What about poor me trying to explain this guy to my family? 🙂

  • comment avatar Beth - total mom haircut October 20, 2008

    We are certainly not on the same schedule. And Hubs talks in his sleep. Once I woke up to him staring at me in this really freaky way. Then he said something along the lines of, “The Elf Man – He took it!” and rolled over and went back to sleep.

    I got up and wrote that one down.

  • comment avatar Amber Johnson October 20, 2008

    Oh. My. Gosh. The Elf Man? Possibly even better than the mouse story. 🙂

  • comment avatar GrumpyAngel October 20, 2008
    This is such a funny story! I can so relate. I have a couple of funny sleepwalking stories about my husband myself 🙂 One involved him almost choking me because in his dream he was trying his best to protect me and snatch me away from an attacker. Fortunately, I managed to wake him up before he killed me 🙂 We do not have compatible sleep habits at all. I like staying up late and can operate on less than 6 hours sleep. He needs at least 8 to function. He sleeps light and wakes up easy and I need a 21 gun salute to wake me up.

  • comment avatar Ashley October 20, 2008

    I can relate! But with me and my husband we’re the opposite. He’s more of an early bird (plus he has to get up earlier than me most days) so he goes to bed close to 10 and I prefer to stay up a little later and do stuff. So yeah, we still sleep in the bed but we almost never fall asleep in it at the same time!

  • comment avatar Allie October 21, 2008

    Snort. Gosh, I really do need to meet you and Jamie. The two of you are pure comedy really ….

    Sleep – is there such a thing? My husband could sleep more than 10 hours + a day if given a chance. Combine snoring, farting, mumbling and pretty much anything else and well, he is a walking miracle to even be alive. Me? Well anything more that five hours for me is a waste as I have never gotten it given the fact that I have slept with the above example for almost 16 years and then decided to prolong the pain by adding children into the mix.

    As for making a place for one’s self in a new family, lets just say that my husband’s antics take the cake and on more than one occasion. At one point I am sure that my mom wanted to check either one of us into a rubber room. And since he has managed to stick around for so long, everyone gets to hear the stories admist his sheepishness and my family’s tears of laughter.

  • comment avatar Stine October 22, 2008

    We are like you guys – I have a hard time sleeping and am an early to bed, early to rise type girl. Husband sleep talks/walks. He often wakes me in his sleep (pushing me on the shoulder until I wake up) until he can tell me important things like, “I think what we’ve got here is a KEY LIME situation.”

    The funniest sleep story I know though is one I’ve heard for years about my dad sleep walking to go to the bathroom while his sister was entertaining a date in the living room. He went right up to the couch, lifted the “seat” cushion and went potty.

  • comment avatar Beth Paritn October 22, 2008

    That is a funny story, though it probably took you a while to see it that way.

    My husband is a pretty easy person to sleep with. He snores occasionally, but his main problem is that he gets hot too easily. Sometimes he wakes up because he’s sweating.

    I, on the other hand, have woken up at 3 am and turned on the light. For no reason I could explain to him afterward.

    I also have fear dreams in which something is coming at me. So I try to scream but it comes out more like a strangled moan.

    The funniest one I ever had was when the toilet was spitting water at me. I knew it was absurd in the dream, but I was still scared.

  • comment avatar Scatteredmom October 23, 2008

    I have a tendency to hit people who try to wake me up. Which is probably why Jake has learned to stand at the door and throw stuff at me when he goes to wake me up…..

  • comment avatar Erin October 24, 2008

    funny story! my husband and i are like old-timers already, in bed together by 9:30. lights out by 10-unless I am reading a really good book!

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