My parents slept together in the same bed for 42 years. Over time, they perfected the art of compromise. Dad liked the room warm. Mom liked it so cold that she would quietly slide a window open in the dead of winter. Dad would not notice until morning when he woke up spewing expletives. Dad liked to fall asleep with the T.V. on but Mom liked a dark quiet room. Dad talked until he fell asleep at night and woke up talking each morning. Mom, not so much. She just picked up her newspaper and coffee cup and disappeared into the bathroom each morning. “Are you going to be in there long?” met with silence from the other side of the door. Dad just talked louder.
When Mom started to snore during sleep the tenuous truce that had held her and Dad in the same room for so long exploded. Dad is a light sleeper. Mom can sleep through anything. Annoyed by a loud noise, she once got up in the middle of the night and yanked the battery from the smoke alarm without waking up. There was no fire, just low batteries. Thank God! Moms snoring did not wake her up but Dads attempts to silence her did. He would yell in her ear “turn over”! Dad elbowing her in the ribs several times each night is what finally drove her to the guest room. Dad was keeping her awake all night complaining and she needed her sleep.
First Mom started sleeping in the guest room. Then she repainted it and hung new curtains. New bookshelves appeared with all of her favorite books gathered on the shelves. Next came a small T.V., Bose radio and a small recliner. An extension phone and her laptop completed the set-up. It is a small room so everything was in easy reach from the recliner. A window was always open. During the whole process, nobody said anything about the new sleeping arrangements. I noted that during this time, what was now Dads bedroom became the hottest room in the house and the T.V. stayed on all night.
The doctor told Mom she has sleep apnea. She was also complaining of hip pain. A Cpap machine became part of the décor. Shortly after that, a truck with a memory foam mattress arrived. That addition involved all of us. We got the old mattress out and muscled the new one up the stairs and onto a wooden frame. I guess the new mattress needed new bedding because Mom had them ready for the new mattress, including 600 thread count sheets. She never complained of hip pain again but she did develop an almost religious adoration for her bed.
Mom and Dad celebrated 50 years of marriage last June. They are still practicing their own particular brand of compromise and I have learned not to question it.
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