GP Clare Bailey gives advice: Do we need to sleep in separate beds?

A problem shared…GP and mother-of-four Clare Bailey gives her indispensable advice: Do we need to sleep in separate beds?

  • An anonymous woman, from the UK, said she’s experiencing broken sleep 
  • Explained that her husband thinks they’re too young to sleep in separate rooms  
  • Clare Bailey recommends looking at practical ways to reduce restlessness 

Q My husband is a very restless sleeper, waking several times a night. I’m a light sleeper and get woken by his stirring. It’s causing arguments as I’m someone who really suffers when I don’t get a proper rest. I’m going through a period of broken sleep myself so when I do finally drift off it’s infuriating to be woken by him. Sometimes he reluctantly spends the night in the spare room. We are in our early 50s and he says we’re far too young for separate bedrooms, and I do agree. What can we do?

A We all shift and move around at night, but it’s a common cause of marital aggravation.

You describe being disturbed by your partner’s restless sleep; he fidgets and tosses and turns, thumping the mattress as he rolls over. That would be hard for many of us.

An anonymous woman, who lives in the UK, asked Clare Bailey for advice on going through a period of broken sleep (file image)

But because you are going through a period of broken sleep and worrying about being exhausted in the morning, this has led to a vicious cycle — the more agitated you get, the harder it is for you to settle back to sleep.

You then find yourself resentful about being disturbed, anxious about feeling sluggish and irritable the next day.

I have a lot of sympathy for you as my husband Michael is also prone to restless sleeping. He often gets up and wanders around at 3am, or goes into the spare bedroom to read a boring book, sometimes falling asleep there or tiptoeing back to bed.

His restlessness can be annoying, but I can’t complain as I sleep-walk and am sometimes found wandering around at night, or waking Michael worrying about burglars or lost hamsters (we haven’t had hamsters for a decade).

Clare Bailey (pictured) recommends looking at practical ways to reduce restlessness

Your partner doesn’t seem to be too troubled about his restlessness, but understandably doesn’t want to be banished from the bedroom for ever. And you are worried about the impact of broken sleep.

So, how to avoid a cycle of anxiety, exhaustion and resentment?

1. Look at practical ways to reduce the restlessness, such as cutting back on coffee, reducing alcohol and avoiding sedatives as they disrupt normal sleep cycles. Do regular exercise and don’t eat late at night. Get a better mattress, ensure a comfortable room temperature or use a heavier blanket to reduce movement.

2. Try to make an effort to reduce your agitation. Reframe how you see his restlessness: it’s not his fault, it’s his body clock. Practice mindfulness in the day and simple relaxing exercises at night.

3. Both look at stresses in your life, which are liable to reduce your sleep quality, leaving you restless and with your mind racing. This can also be associated with depression. If you are very troubled and feeling overwhelmed, contact a health professional for advice.

And in the bigger picture, make sure you are making time to enjoy each others’s company, including in bed . . . 


Clare recommends placing an Under Desk Cycle under your workspace to prevent your blood pooling and getting you fit while doing emails 

Whether at home or at work, many of us are spending hours just sitting, even though we know sitting for long periods is a killer.

I sometimes use a standing desk, but mostly I sit, because its easier. So how about exercising while at your desk?

Simply place an Under Desk Cycle, well, under your workspace. It will prevent your blood pooling and get you fit while you do your emails.

You can write to Clare at [email protected] or Daily Mail, Northcliffe House, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TT.

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