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Am I wrong to want to change my husband's sleep pattern?


summerreading
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All I can say from my own experience is that nothing I've done has ever changed my husband's preferred sleep pattern.  Nor has having a job where he has to be in at work at 8 -- and this includes going outside where he's exposed to sunlight.  When he has to work early (ie, 8) he's just tired all the time.  A year or more of the schedule doesn't make it any easier.

 

I suspect there are some people who are just like that.  My husband (and other people I've known) would really like to be on a "normal" schedule, but they just can't fall asleep earlier.  And he can't really concentrate well until after the sun goes down.

 

There are people who just keep themselves up too late, but not everyone with this issue has control over it.  So it might be worth trying to have him sleep "normal", but if your husband is one of those people who can't, you may have to leave it be.

 

But I agree, it is pretty difficult to have such different sleep schedules in a family.

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If he is genuinely willing to try shifting to a schedule that is closer to the rest of the family's schedule, then make an effort to help him do that, but accept that this may take extensive time and support and consistency on your part (and no nagging or condemnation when he gets grumpy from a messed up sleep schedule because changing this pattern is going to take time and effort).  In fact, I think you might have a better chance if you all talk it through, let the kids know what will be happening, and make supporting DH the priority for a few weeks.  Consult your doctor for suggestions, pick a date to start, write down what is expected of you and DH and the kids for getting everyone through this successfully, and commit to it for a specified period of time (2 weeks won't be enough).  At the end of that time period reevaluate if it is working or not (and it may not).

 

 

Edited by OneStepAtATime
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Changing your own schedule is a more realistic goal than changing someone else's. Maybe focus on how you use your core hours together? If he switches to your schedule his work productivity could go down. That might not be best for your bottom line. Instead of expecting him to work with you, can you divide and conquer? Taking a few things off your plate can be as helpful as working side-by-side.

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If he is genuinely willing to try shifting to a schedule that is closer to the rest of the family's schedule, then make an effort to help him do that, but accept that this may take extensive time and support and consistency on your part (and no nagging or condemnation when he gets grumpy from a messed up sleep schedule because changing this pattern is going to take time and effort).  In fact, I think you might have a better chance if you all talk it through, let the kids know what will be happening, and make supporting DH the priority for a few weeks.  Consult your doctor for suggestions, pick a date to start, write down what is expected of you and DH and the kids for getting everyone through this successfully, and commit to it for a specified period of time (2 weeks won't be enough).  At the end of that time period reevaluate if it is working or not (and it may not).

 

This sounds like good advice. I think it would also help to change slowly, by increments. 

Get him outside as soon as he wakes up. Unless you live somewhere were  it is dark out when he gets up, I think that will be better than a light. 

 

ETA: I only have experience with changing less drastic sleep patterns, so take it FWIW

Edited by Laurie4b
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Have you discussed this with his doc? I would hesitate to try to change someone else in this way, but a conversation with his doc might help.

 

It sounds a bit like his adrenals are off. As someone whose adrenals don't work, I can attest to the affects. In his case, I'd guess that his adrenals are giving a burst late at night, when they should not be. And in the am, when they should be waking him - they are not producing. It makes getting out of bed horribly difficult. Changing that could need supportive supplements or meds.

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Here's the deal: I am 100% sure dh has delayed phase sleep syndrome. He goes to sleep at 3 am and has a hard time getting out of bed before 11 and doesn't seem fully alert until 3pm. We both work at home and the kids are homeschooled. He does sleep and he is active, but just on a way different schedule than the rest of us. He is a woodworker with clients and he does work in his shop late afternoon and night. Since he doesn't get moving till late, most of his time is his time.

 

The problem is it just drives me crazy. I want him on a normal schedule. With all of us at home, there are things I would like his help/input on during the day plus help around the house. I just don't feel that it is fair to all of us, but this has been his habit for many years. He said he will try using a light box for 2 weeks, but I have to be the one to make sure he is moving in the morning and remind him to use it (hasn't started the light therapy yet). 

 

I know I have my share of annoying habits. Should I just leave him to his bizarre schedule?

 

In my experience, if it's a biological thing, your experiment won't work in the long term. If that's the case, I'd chalk it up to natural causes, and figure out how to support each other with respect and courtesy. There's no reason he can't accommodate your needs, and there's no reason you can't accommodate his, too. I know how frustrating it can be to adjust to the reality that things aren't shaping up to the kind of family life you expected. Sometimes it can feel really deflating, but when you find something that works well for the both of you, you'll both feel empowered to do your best, and be your best, and your love and support for each other can be tremendous, even if it looks totally different than you once imagined. Good luck.  :-)

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Having gone through this with a teen who got out of sleep phase, it's hard! Definitely requires patience, commitment from both of you, and quite possibly medical assistance. Especially if this is a habit he's been in for years, it will be that much harder to break. Don't expect to buy a light box and have miracles happen. Especially in two weeks. If he's only willing to put in an effort for two weeks, just give up now.

 

A couple random tips:

1. Sometimes it's easier to chase your goal from the tail. If he usually stays up to 3 am, have him stay up til 4 am, then 5 am, then 6 am, etc. until he comes back around to a normal schedule. Staying up a little later can be easier than going to bed when you're not tired. (Wouldn't work for us because DD was in outside classes, but could be an option for someone who works at home.)

 

2. Nutrition is a big part of the picture too -- eating and sleeping schedules are inter-related. Make sure he eats breakfast within 15 minutes of waking. (For DD, we had to negotiate a minimum viable breakfast that she had to eat.) Beware of sugar cycles and stay away from junk food.

 

And, for those who say she should just change her sleep schedule: This is going to be hard work, regardless of who changes schedule. If he changes, they have more family time and wake time corresponds to most outside activites, stores being open, etc. Still, whoever is changing has to want to change, or it won't work.

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First step is whether or not he wants change. Does he?

 

My husband has sleep issues yet won't take any action to fix them. He looks at blue screens right before bed, he goes to bed at a different time every night, he won't do a wind down routine...oh the list is endless. Everything you can do wrong about sleep, he does wrong, and then says how tired he is. :)

 

I have gone round and round trying to encourage him to make some changes that would help him and he just won't do them. It flabbergasts me and I refuse to talk about it to him anymore because I start to get frustrated and angry. I can't make a grown man do anything, so I just nod when he complains about being tired and raise my eyebrows and he knows that he needs to stop talking about it or we'll both get frustrated at the other one.

 

But if your husband wants to try...now that's different. It still might not work, but it would be a good try.

 

The one thing that I know about sleep (from reading up on it for DH), is that terrible sleeping habits/patterns can take up to a full year to overcome. Be prepared for a very long road.

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Is the sleep pattern the issue or is the problem that he is not making a fair contribution to the running of the household? Either way it could be hard to change but you don't have to address the sleep pattern to address the uneven contribution if that's a problem. He just needs to make sure that in the hours he is awake he is spending time with the kids and getting done whatever his share of the jobs are. This might mean you need some written routines etc.

 

Overall I think some sleep patterns are healthier than others but I don't think it's something you can or should force on someone else.

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IME, melatonin works really well for that particular sleep problem. It *is* a problem since it makes it hard to coordinate your personal activities with the family and with the rest of the world. *I* have that sleep problem. I take melatonin. Works like a charm for this particular problem. I suggest buying 1mg tablets, and starting with 3mg the first few days, tweaking up or down as needed. Tweak down if he seems overly tired upon waking. Tweak up if it doesn't work at 3mg. (I started at 5 mg but eventually got myself to 2 mg.) Doctors have all told me that melatonin is very safe and has no known problems or side effects.  Take it an hour or so before desired sleep time. 

 

I'd ask your dh to try to tweak his schedule at least a little bit to have more positive family interactions. He might still enjoy the quiet working time late at night (I do!!!), but maybe he can nudge it 2 hours earlier, waking at 9AM and going to bed at 1AM . . .

 

FWIW, don't answer me . . . this is not a question and none of our beeswax, but coming from who has BTDT, having very different sleep schedules can make "fun time" scheduling a bit dicey. I got on my best sleep schedule when I *knew* fun time was coming each and every night . . . Something to look forward to getting into bed while still energetic, lol. So, anyway, if that's feasible, it might be a good lure to bed as well as a bit of positive reinforcement for changing behaviors. :) And, IME, after fun times, it's a lot easier to go to sleep. :) 

 

(Melatonin takes an hour or so to kick in. That's why you want to take it an hour or so before the desired sleep time. Not too early, or you might "miss" the sleepiness. This might be variable person to person, but that's what it's like for me.)

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I think that may be hard to adjust. Part of me says that there is no 'right' sleep pattern, and it's a bit presumptuous to expect someone to change theirs to suit you.

 

But another part of me says that when you choose to have three kids, you choose to be part of their lives and to do the work of parenting. If he is basically unavailable until 3:00 in the afternoon and then has clients and work, is he able to be a good husband and parent? Did you sort of agree to the amount of input he gives?

 

I do think it's odd to not be 'alert' for four hours after waking. That is something I would ask him to talk to his doctor about. So I guess on the whole, I would not do well with this schedule, and even if he always struggles with it, I think it's reasonable to expect him to be fully engaged by, say, noon.

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I've only read the OP, but your husband is an artist by trade (sounds like, anyway). I personally believe that artists in particular work best if they are allowed to keep to their own personal productive body rhythms. I wouldn't demand he change, but I would stand ready to help him do so, if he were to say he'd like to.

 

That said, I think there's research out there on the shortened life expectancy of third shift workers. And if it's causing actual problems in marriage and family life, he may need to adapt the schedule during this phase of life.

 

Curious, did this not come up during your engagement period (is this something you weren't aware of before you married him)? Note to self: add "determine if synchronous sleep habits" to the list of things to advise kids to look for when considering a mate. I'm only half joking; dh and I have off kilter sleep patterns and I think it has most definitely had an effect on our marriage over the years.

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It's entirely reasonable for you to want him to keep similar hours as the rest of the family.  And there's no reason he can't.

 

I would start with a *modest* goal (say getting up at 9, instead of 11 - don't expect him to become an early bird) and be prepared for it to take a while for him to get used to.  I also wouldn't try to get him to bed earlier right off.  I would have him start getting up earlier instead.  He'll be miserable for a week, then groggy for another week.  Then he'll start to feel normal.  Definitely use the light box, coffee (in the mornings), melatonin, sleep hygiene, and exercise.  I know from personal experience that this can be done.  I used to be a "night owl" who stayed up way late and woke way late and believed that all of my best hours were at night.  Eventually I dropped the bull and admitted to myself that I really just enjoyed being up when everyone else was down so that they wouldn't bother me, and if I wanted to have a productive life I was going to have to live in the daytime like the rest of the world, and whether that was fair or not, whether different people's sleep tendencies should be respected or not, was just how it was.  It took some time to get used to having a regular go to bed and get up time, but eventually I got used to it.  After the first couple weeks, it wasn't too bad.  It probably took several months to become second nature, though.  I also found that it helps to be aware of when I'm getting tired at night and not stay up past that.  I'm liable to get a second wind and not be able to sleep for hours.

 

If he refused to try, I would insist on marital counseling so that we can work out how we are going to live together without actually living together (because he is effectively living a separate life).

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I agree that if he wants to change, helping him and wanting him to is totally reasonable.

 

On the other hand, one of the reasons he may be so cranky could be that because of you, he's been fighting his natural sleep pattern of being a night owl for years and it just hasn't worked. If he could just embrace it, it might make all of you happier.

 

My dh works overnights from home. His job demands it. It's just weird but we've adjusted and we still have time together. If you can't get him to adjust, I'd focus on ways you can.

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I regularly stay up until 1 or 2 in the morning.  I get my best, most creative work done at night, when the house is quiet.  I get practically nothing done during the day when there is activity and interruption.  I've come to realize that I may be ADD, and any sort of distraction just shuts down my ability to concentrate.  When needed, I have successfully shifted my schedule for a week or two, or even a year or two, but I have always fallen right back into my natural pattern when the early-to-bed/early-to-rise pattern was no longer needed.   I am so glad that no one is trying to change such a fundamental part of who I am.  

 

If your dh is a night owl, and he works best when alone in the quiet, then he may be totally thrown off by changing his work schedule so drastically.  Doing so may affect his ability to do his work.  Or, the change may work for awhile, but he will shift back.  He will need to really want to change, and he will need to see the benefit of doing so, in order for the shift to be long term. 

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If I'm left to follow my own preferred sleep times, I like 2 am to 10 am best. That doesn't work very well with two little ones, but thankfully my kids are not early risers. They wake up about 8am. So I try hard to get in bed by midnight. Most nights it's about 1 before I can get to sleep, regardless of what time I went to bed. I have a really hard time waking up in the morning, so anything early is very hard for me. But it can be done. I spent a year at a job that I had to be there at 6 am and I managed. Then I spent 7 years working a 7am job. As much as I respect individual sleep preferences, I would consider having a family to be part of one's "job" and help encourage him to get on a schedule that gives him time with family and home. It will only work if he's willing. I wouldn't expect him to get on a super early schedule though. Maybe just a couple hour shift to meet in the middle of what you and the kids do and what he usually does.

 

(In the colder/darker months, I've found that keeping up my Vitamin D levels is just as important as melatonin at night. If my D is too low, I just can't get moving during the day for anything. But by late evening I'm finally in the groove of being functional and my brain wants to keep going.)

 

 

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Here's the deal: I am 100% sure dh has delayed phase sleep syndrome. He goes to sleep at 3 am and has a hard time getting out of bed before 11 and doesn't seem fully alert until 3pm. We both work at home and the kids are homeschooled. He does sleep and he is active, but just on a way different schedule than the rest of us. He is a woodworker with clients and he does work in his shop late afternoon and night. Since he doesn't get moving till late, most of his time is his time.

 

The problem is it just drives me crazy. I want him on a normal schedule. With all of us at home, there are things I would like his help/input on during the day plus help around the house. I just don't feel that it is fair to all of us, but this has been his habit for many years. He said he will try using a light box for 2 weeks, but I have to be the one to make sure he is moving in the morning and remind him to use it (hasn't started the light therapy yet). 

 

I know I have my share of annoying habits. Should I just leave him to his bizarre schedule?

You aren't going to be able to change him.  Accept it.  Accept that he can get more done after 9 p.m. than you can do some entire days, and you will always get more done early.   Some people are just night people, naturally.  He can adjust somewhat but it won't ever completely change, and he suddenly become super-productive regularly in the early morning. 

 

Why can't you compromise?  He can carve out time to help you and spend with the kids (first priority!) and you can deal with time alone in the early part of the day.

 

Married decades now and we never changed.  My husband is one of those people who hop out of bed between 3-4 a.m.  Me...um, no.   We decided to make it work for us.  He did baby duty early and I did it late.  We both got sleep in those years. 

 

We both get everything done now, eventually.  He falls asleep early in the evening though. 

Edited by TranquilMind
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I regularly stay up until 1 or 2 in the morning.  I get my best, most creative work done at night, when the house is quiet.  I get practically nothing done during the day when there is activity and interruption.  I've come to realize that I may be ADD, and any sort of distraction just shuts down my ability to concentrate.  When needed, I have successfully shifted my schedule for a week or two, or even a year or two, but I have always fallen right back into my natural pattern when the early-to-bed/early-to-rise pattern was no longer needed.   I am so glad that no one is trying to change such a fundamental part of who I am.  

 

If your dh is a night owl, and he works best when alone in the quiet, then he may be totally thrown off by changing his work schedule so drastically.  Doing so may affect his ability to do his work.  Or, the change may work for awhile, but he will shift back.  He will need to really want to change, and he will need to see the benefit of doing so, in order for the shift to be long term. 

Exactly! 

 

He won't change long term, is my prediction, based upon experience. 

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I've only read the OP, but your husband is an artist by trade (sounds like, anyway). I personally believe that artists in particular work best if they are allowed to keep to their own personal productive body rhythms. I wouldn't demand he change, but I would stand ready to help him do so, if he were to say he'd like to.

 

That said, I think there's research out there on the shortened life expectancy of third shift workers. And if it's causing actual problems in marriage and family life, he may need to adapt the schedule during this phase of life.

 

Curious, did this not come up during your engagement period (is this something you weren't aware of before you married him)? Note to self: add "determine if synchronous sleep habits" to the list of things to advise kids to look for when considering a mate. I'm only half joking; dh and I have off kilter sleep patterns and I think it has most definitely had an effect on our marriage over the years.

Yes!  I wondered that too.  I knew when I met him that my husband was the "alarm clock" for the family of origin (as a child), as he always rose very early.  He still does today.  That is NOT going to change. 

Edited by TranquilMind
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No, you are not wrong. It might not be possible, but you're not wrong. 

 

His sleep patterns affect the whole family, yes? (aside from your wanting him to help and whatnot; those of us whose dhs work outside the home 40 hours a week don't often get much help around the house, either. :001_smile: ) So I think it's reasonable for the needs of the many to be more important than the needs of the one.

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Well, that's my sleep pattern by default and I have to work very hard to overcome it.  Why don't you all meet in the middle - he gets up earlier and you get up later and split the difference (if having him around when you are active is important).  I'm not sure why it's OK or reasonable for him to disrupt his sleep cycle, but everyone else gets to keep theirs as is.

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Well, that's my sleep pattern by default and I have to work very hard to overcome it.  Why don't you all meet in the middle - he gets up earlier and you get up later and split the difference (if having him around when you are active is important).  I'm not sure why it's OK or reasonable for him to disrupt his sleep cycle, but everyone else gets to keep theirs as is.

 

Because the majority of the people who live in the same household have to arrange their lives around his sleep habits.

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Because the majority of the people who live in the same household have to arrange their lives around his sleep habits.

 

The funny thing about biology is, it doesn't really care about convenience. Some people simply cannot maintain conventional sleeping hours. The OP's dh decided to give it a go. I think that's very considerate of him. If it works, that would be great. If it doesn't, the OP should understand that biology is what it is, and some people are simply wired to keep different sleeping hours. It's how humans have evolved. If humans all slept eight hours solid through the night at the same time, they would be terribly vulnerable to predators and natural disasters. Having a few people awake throughout the night increased the risk of survival, from attacks to fire to anything that might endanger the group. Bi-modal sleep patterns likely evolved for the same reason - someone's awake when most of the clan is unconscious.

 

This isn't a "bad" thing, nor is it a "good" thing. It just is. The OP shouldn't be made to feel like she's empowering laziness if her dh simply cannot maintain a nightly sleep, and she should hear ideas on how to make different schedules work. TM offered some insight. I have a friend whose husband works in entertainment and therefore late hours. The whole family stays up late and sleeps in late, comparatively. For them, that's perfectly normal. There's nothing wrong with changing a schedule, any more than there's something wrong with changing menues once someone is diagnosed with Celiac. 

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Instead of focusing on his sleep pattern, approach it from a different angle...

 

The problem isn't as much the sleep schedule as it is that he's not participating in family life in a meaningful way.

 

So you need to sit down with him and discuss the options.

 

1. shift the schedule slightly, even a couple hours would help.  He doesn't need to do it for you, he needs to do it for the family.

 

2. Have set in stone times when he is doing normal family stuff. If he's really coming alive after 4, then why can't he spend family time then and do work stuff late at night when y'all are sleeping. If he has client consults in late afternoon, he may need to figure out how to juggle those with his family time.

 

3. Since you are doing the majority of the waking hours chores (library trips, calling businesses for home stuff, shuttling kids around, arranging for home repairmen to maintain the house) maybe part of his nighttime work can be to lighten your load by doing laundry, arranging online bill payment, cleaning, dishes, etc.

 

4. He needs to be able to allow you to have time without being responsible for the kids. He needs to give you regular afternoons off once or twice a week. Whether this means that he pays for a sitter (not such a good thing, since it doesn't sound like he's spending a ton of time with the kids anyway) or something else, you do need some time where you get to be off the clock.

 

Anyway, rather approaching it as a problematic sleep schedule (yeah it is a problem, but there may be other solutions to the larger family dynamic) brainstorm the options that you have.

 

I have night owl guy and he can shift things by an hour or so without too much of a problem. I accept that he's not going to get up like me.  I stay up and sleep later than I naturally love, and he gets up earlier and goes to be earlier than he'd prefer. But its more important that we can work together on this thing.

 

It's not wrong or right one way or the other.

 

What is wrong is one person failing to care for their family in these essential ways.

 

ETA: Can you start looking at it like he's working third shift? Many shift workers sleep all day and work all night. Maybe he could start sleeping later, like till 2-3, getting up, meeting with clients and having family time from 6-9. Just because he's home, doesn't mean that he has to be available. I don't usually get my dh home until 5:30 or 6 on typical days, but when he gets here, he;s mine and the kids' till bedtime. On weekends, he can take time to do household work, like the typical worker would, just later on in the day.

Edited by fairfarmhand
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Because the majority of the people who live in the same household have to arrange their lives around his sleep habits.

 

No they don't? My dh sleeps crazy hours (he has to because of his job) and none of us do anything much different for him. I'm not sure why everyone in the house needs to be on the same sleep schedule. We find plenty of ways to make time together, just not at the traditional family dinner time sort of times.

 

I honestly thought the OP's desire for her dh to do stuff for her "since he's home" was a little unfair. I mean, even if he kept a more normal schedule, she would interrupt his work a lot for her own convenience? I don't wake up dh in the middle of the day unless it's something that I would have called him about and interrupted his work and potentially asked him to come home if possible. If he worked from home normal hours, I hope I'd have a similar attitude about it. I know that it's not usually like that when someone works from home - which dh does, just in the middle of the night - if he's up and working and I'm up and need someone to do something - lift something, kill some bug, go over a bill, whatever - then I will ask if he can. But that's just a perk for us, not a real need. My point is that she's asking him to change for her convenience more or less, not out of necessity.

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I think getting up at 11am could be dealt with, but not being awake or able to handle life for the first FOUR hours he's awake? No. That wouldn't be acceptable. I'm pretty sure you don't get a pass on family life for four hours each day. That's the issue I'd be focusing on. Has he had thyroid, vitamin D, etc checked?

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I agree with Katie.

 

One can do laundry, listen to a kid read, wash the lunch dishes, etc when one is barely awake.

 

I hope it works out for you that he can somehow shift a little, whether changing actual sleeping time or just engaging a bit differently in the 4 hr window.

 

Edited to erase some noncharitable thoughts. Sorry if you read them and I offended.

Edited by Chris in VA
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I don't see that as a valid reason to disrupt someone's biological tendencies.  There are other ways to skin the cat without requiring one individual to make all the sacrifice.  It seems extremely selfish to me.

Because the majority of the people who live in the same household have to arrange their lives around his sleep habits.

 

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No they don't? My dh sleeps crazy hours (he has to because of his job) and none of us do anything much different for him. I'm not sure why everyone in the house needs to be on the same sleep schedule. We find plenty of ways to make time together, just not at the traditional family dinner time sort of times.

 

I honestly thought the OP's desire for her dh to do stuff for her "since he's home" was a little unfair. I mean, even if he kept a more normal schedule, she would interrupt his work a lot for her own convenience? I don't wake up dh in the middle of the day unless it's something that I would have called him about and interrupted his work and potentially asked him to come home if possible. If he worked from home normal hours, I hope I'd have a similar attitude about it. I know that it's not usually like that when someone works from home - which dh does, just in the middle of the night - if he's up and working and I'm up and need someone to do something - lift something, kill some bug, go over a bill, whatever - then I will ask if he can. But that's just a perk for us, not a real need. My point is that she's asking him to change for her convenience more or less, not out of necessity.

She said they both work at home though. So she's doing everything. It's not unreasonable for her to want help with the household and the kids.

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No, you are not wrong. That would drive me crazy. Like divorce crazy. If he had a typical job, he would absolutely adjust because he'd have to get up and go to work.

But there are people who do night shifts.... so, no, he might not have had to adjust. My dh has worked nights for years.

 

Sent from my SM-T530NU using Tapatalk

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I think you're focusing on the wrong thing.  Talk to him about the actual issues (lack of family time, long time to be fundtional after waking, etc) and then come up with a plan together.  Maybe he'll be on board with changing his sleep patterns - but there could be other things that he'd find easier to change that would solve the problem.

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It seems like it would make sense for one person to change their sleep habits than the rest of the family changing. It's hard. But it does happen when you keep getting up earlier  until times are workable for the whole family. I'm not sure two weeks with half hearted commitment is going to make it. 

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as someone with a sleep phase disorder...you don't just 'change it'.  It is a constant every day struggle.  And it has a mind of it's own, lol.  Actually, my brain has a cycle of its own.  There was one year when I had a difficult time staying awake past 9pm because that was how my brain was cycling, but that didn't last long.  And if I give into my instincts I will stay up ALLLLL NIIIIIIGHTTTT  and be perfectly happy, until I realize I have the rest of the day ahead of me, lol.

 

But, you can't just change it by going to bed 15 mins earlier or waking up a few mins earlier. Trust me, if it were that easy I would have done it 40 years ago.

 

Right now, it is 12:30 and I am about to take my magnesium (2tsp), 5 mg of melatonin, and big horse pill of valarian.  In a couple days I will also use my progesterone cream at night for the rest of my cycle.  I will also try to get in 45 mins of exercise, try to get in my 8 glasses of water before 1pm, and I won't have caffeine after 1pm.

 

That is what I do every day just to get to sleep before 2am. At least, that is what I can remember right now, lol. There is all that other stuff about bedtime routine etc etc.

 

And when I have looked into it, the protocol is to just stay up all night..to cycle around so to speak...and then go to bed at a reasonable time.  And you keep doing that, staying up all night when you can't fall asleep when you want to, until you start falling asleep naturally at a more reasonable time. But you also have get up at the same exact time every morning, no sleeping in ever or staying out late once or you have to start all over again. Blech

 

And eventually it wears off. We will slowly start phasing forward, that is what our brains do. It's like fighting the tide.

 

So, if you talk to him and see if he wants to be more present for the family, you should know this isn't a thing you do for a year and it's done. It requires constant maintenance.

 

I want to add that while dh and the kids do make some adjustments to my sleep issues (he gets the kids breakfast every morning) I have adjusted to needing to be up by 8am every day.  He has to leave for work and the kids were babies...so I made it work. Period. I did sleep when they slept, but I did get up and parent small children.  I also figured out that even when they were very small I could put on a Jim Weiss CD and they would play for an hour and I could doze on the couch. I owe my sanity to Uncle Wiggly, and ...what was it... story and song? oh, and Giants! But I have homeschooled them just fine. We start by 9am...ok, maybe 9:30 sometimes.

 

And for over 10 years I did have a day job before I had kids. Ok, I had a job where I didn't have to be in until 10am if I worked through lunch, which I always did. And I even managed to get to a weekly 8:30 mandatory meeting every single week for 10 years and never overslept.  I also had two alarm clocks, one in the kitchen.

 

 

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And if a person tries to live out of sync for a long time it affects them. I've always had sleep issues.... staring out the bedroom window at age 7 fairly late. I got good at morning routines so I could sleep every possible minute in the morning as a child. As a young adult I had a 9-5 type job. I got anxiety issues, insomnia, depression.... I held things together for about 5 years.... got let-go during lay-offs my 6th year.... but honestly it was a firing because I was getting late more often etc. It gets worse the older I am.... I can hold it together for shorter periods if I have to do regular hours for any length of time.

 

Our family worked ok because my dh worked nights. He would get home, be with kids during breakfast and for a bit... I would get up and he would go to bed. I would homeschool, he would sleep. Supper time, he would be up, eat, spend time with us, and off to work as I put kids to bed. I'd get quiet time and the off to bed. Only real issue was getting time together without the kids awake too.

 

Anyway, main point is to figure out how to make things work. If he can switch (some people can), then great.... but he might not be able to. It could be worse. My dh drove a truck for a few years (we had a 2yo and a newborn at the time). He was guaranteed 2 days off every 28 days (and sometimes we had to point out he was due that...). And I was thankful he wasn't military deployed with people shooting at him....

 

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Just wanted to say also, I watched a documentary on a sleep experiment a number of years ago. The subjects lived in appartments built inside a mountain with no outside light, contact, or time indicators. They would signal when they wanted meals, had entertainment, exercise equipment etc. Not sure if full-spectrum light was available....

 

They found that overall, people gravitate to about a 25 hour clock without natural light or time clues... There was varience, but about 25 hours. That is why the advice to setup shiftwork so workers can adjust by staying up a bit longer each day.... much better on their health.

 

The light clues make us adjust back to the 24 hours. But light clues work differently for different people. Trying to make the day even shorter (go to bed earlier.... or get up earlier) is against our setup.

 

Trying to adjust the other way is so hard, it is the equivalent of adking someone

 

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Are there any other issues, like depression? I'm still stuck on the can't function for 4 hours after waking up thing. That just seems so excessive to me. I think I'd rather him sleep an extra hour and be rested enough to function right away, if that would help. 

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I honestly thought the OP's desire for her dh to do stuff her "since he's home" was a little unfair. I mean, even if he kept a more normal schedule, she would interrupt his work a lot for her own convenience?

Yes? If I understand correctly, he works and she works. So it seems unfair to portray this as his very important sleep issue vs her trifling convenience. That is not to say that his sleep needs are not important, but just that it's not selfish of a mother working from home and homeschooling to want the other parent to pitch in.

Edited by Danestress
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 He goes to sleep at 3 am and has a hard time getting out of bed before 11 and doesn't seem fully alert until 3pm. 

 

The 4+ hours to get moving is the part that jumps out at me.

 

I'm curious as to whether he *can't function well until then, or just prefers not to.  I wake up anywhere between 5 and 7, but will spend my entire morning "gearing up" with coffee, internet, maybe a little school research or throwing in a load of laundry while waiting on coffee when I can.  BUT, when we have activities or appointments, I'm relatively adept at waking when I need to and jumping into my day.

 

Your dh's cycle doesn't concern me as much as that gap in the middle of the day does.  My first though is that depression really messes with people that way.  My second is that, even without clinical depression, long-term "laziness" (for lack of a better, non-judgmental word; see my own "laziness" above) and isolation can (and has, in my case) lead to a depressive state.

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Right, after a full 8 hours of sleep he should be fairly awake in a reasonable amount of time. If it took him that long to get going because he'd only gotten 4-5 hours of sleep I'd get it, but it he's falling asleep at 3am and getting up at 11am that's 8 hours. In what is his preferred time. So..what's his excuse? If he's really still sleepy he either needs an extra hour,and to sleep till noon and then be truly awake and present, or he needs a doctor to figure out the problem.

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I missed that she also worked from home... so... she's doing all the homeschooling and parenting? Yeah, clearly unfair... except... I don't understand why schedule makes that happen. Like I said, he can try, but if it doesn't work, they need to find another way and I don't accept that people can't have different schedules and still share household tasks. Dh and I have radically different schedules and he still pulls his weight.

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I missed that she also worked from home... so... she's doing all the homeschooling and parenting? Yeah, clearly unfair... except... I don't understand why schedule makes that happen. Like I said, he can try, but if it doesn't work, they need to find another way and I don't accept that people can't have different schedules and still share household tasks. Dh and I have radically different schedules and he still pulls his weight.

 

It sounds like it isn't just the schedules. If they both are sleeping 8 hours a night, but he has another 4 hours he's unavailable because he's not really awake, so he's unavailable for 12 hours a day versus her 8. 

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It sounds like it isn't just the schedules. If they both are sleeping 8 hours a night, but he has another 4 hours he's unavailable because he's not really awake, so he's unavailable for 12 hours a day versus her 8. 

 

But that's why I think the actual solution might be to stop trying to fight his natural sleep rhythms. I mean, maybe they can help him change... but if they can't, maybe the solution is to have him embrace his natural rhythm. In my first post I said it sounded like maybe he'd been trying for years to change and it hasn't worked and has only made him groggy.

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But that's why I think the actual solution might be to stop trying to fight his natural sleep rhythms. I mean, maybe they can help him change... but if they can't, maybe the solution is to have him embrace his natural rhythm. In my first post I said it sounded like maybe he'd been trying for years to change and it hasn't worked and has only made him groggy.

 

Maybe. I took it to be that 3am-11am was his preferred sleep schedule already. 

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Here's the deal: I am 100% sure dh has delayed phase sleep syndrome. He goes to sleep at 3 am and has a hard time getting out of bed before 11 and doesn't seem fully alert until 3pm. We both work at home and the kids are homeschooled. He does sleep and he is active, but just on a way different schedule than the rest of us. He is a woodworker with clients and he does work in his shop late afternoon and night. Since he doesn't get moving till late, most of his time is his time.

 

The problem is it just drives me crazy. I want him on a normal schedule. With all of us at home, there are things I would like his help/input on during the day plus help around the house. I just don't feel that it is fair to all of us, but this has been his habit for many years. He said he will try using a light box for 2 weeks, but I have to be the one to make sure he is moving in the morning and remind him to use it (hasn't started the light therapy yet). 

 

I know I have my share of annoying habits. Should I just leave him to his bizarre schedule?

 

" most of his time is his time."   

 

I think this is the real problem.  My DH's sleep schedule is the same as your DH's.  Eventually I figured out that I had to stop catering to him when when he was sleepy past a certain point.  10 am in our case, although 11 am if there isn't a need for him to wake up.  I got a bad sinus infection that just would not go away.  I needed extra sleep on weekends and DH wanted extra sleep because he'd stayed up late watching TV or on the computer.  That was the wakeup call for me.  

 

Another thing I did was to insist that the things he needs to do alone be done when the rest of the family is asleep.   So, instead of concentrating on the sleep pattern ask him to switch his activity pattern during his awake time.  For example, the only activity from the time you guys go to sleep to when he goes to sleep is his woodworking job.  So, that certain hours, e.g. evening hours, are reserved for family time.  

 

I know for a little while there, I felt like a single mother.  

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