Overcoming sleep anxiety to get back into bed with her partner - Ros' Story
READ: From 'tired but wired' to sleeping soundly
Ros' sleep problem in brief:
+ Could only sleep in spare room away from her husband
+ Only getting 3-4 hours when in same bed as husband
+ Relying on sleep rituals
+ Anxious about sleep
Ros had developed some anxieties around sleep after the disturbances of having a small child and returning to work after maternity leave. She gradually found herself relying more and more on sleeping in the spare room until she felt unable to sleep with her husband anymore. She felt sad about this and worried about the impact this might have on her relationship.
IN THEIR WORDS:
I’ve generally been a really good sleeper apart from the odd night. But when I had my baby I was breastfeeding and had extremely broken sleep. A year on, the baby was sleeping through but I was having difficulties…..I think this was a mixture of my sleep pattern being completely ruined plus wider anxieties such as the imminent return to work after my maternity leave.
My difficulties switching off and falling asleep were made worse by the fact that my husband is an extremely loud snorer. I looked for a way out and found one with our spare room, which was a safe place for me to run away to that was lovely and quiet, with no-one complaining about me tossing and turning.
Before I knew it, the odd night in the spare room turned into a more regular occurrence and in the end I started to give up trying to fall asleep next to my husband and just reverted straight to the spare room.
The anxieties related to sleep also manifested themselves on weekends away with my girlfriends where instead of focusing on having fun I was mainly worried about where I was going to sleep and what issues I might have in falling asleep.
I did however seem to fall asleep with my husband no problem if we were away on holiday so that was some comfort at least.
These sleeping difficulties lasted around 18 months and whilst I was able to enjoy full night’s sleep in our spare room I really worried about the fact that I was no longer sleeping with my husband and the impact it would have on our closeness and over the long term the impact it would have on our marriage.
I decided I needed to take action. I did a search or sleep therapists in the local area and happened upon Emma’s site. Here I found a case study from a lady who had been suffering from EXACTLY the same issues as me following the birth of her baby. So I decided to enrol on the sleep course.
Probably to stop overthinking everything and stressing as that’s when the anxiety crept in and took over my ability to sleep.
I would say it’s just important to seek help as soon as you can. It may feel like a drastic measure but its senseless struggling on and the issue spiralling out of control. I had no idea about the mechanics of sleep and so without professional help I don’t feel I would have been able to resolve the issue alone.
Start learning how you can improve your sleep
I had some reservations about the fact that the course was online rather than in person as I had thought it would be 1 to 1 counselling. In the end though the online format suited my needs better as I could do the modules in my own time and the 1 to 1 sessions were all over phone so could easily be fitted into my schedule.
Ros had become very anxious about her ability to get to sleep which made her hyper-aware of her surroundings and her husband's snoring. Once she was able to start separating facts about sleep from her anxieties, she could then start to rebuild her ability to sleep next to her husband.
No more desperately googling sleep remedies or guessing what to do to fix your sleep