30 answers

Sleep Hitting

Hi my husband hits and punches me in his sleep, I don’t know what to do about it it happened last night again and left a big burse.
My husband WAS asleep, he kind of has a history of sleep walking and being about to have a full blown conversation in his sleep. This is not the first time this has happened, My husband is very very sorry and try’s very hard to make it up to me. HE WOULD NEVER HIT ME IF HE WAS AWAKE! I just don’t know what to do because it comes on all of a sudden.
Also I asked and he cant go to the Doctor it would mean a instant discharge from the military>>>>My hubby thinks its due to caffine.>>>>>Also NEEDS caffine due to job making him work 12-18 hours a day (military) cant really tell work to not work him so much.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

get separate beds...seriously! You both will sleep much better, and you won't get punched all night long! Separate beds does not mean separate lives. I know a lot of couples that do this, and some even have separate rooms. If you have the means, I would try it. Good luck!

If he is so sorry, then he needs to go to the doctor and/or cut out caffeine. Studies show that caffeine only works for people who are already addicted. I understand the job situation cannot change, so something else needs to change. Either live with it and don't complain, get him to do something about it, or move to another bed.

Well, if he knows what the problem is, but "can't" change it, then what question is there to ask? You're stuck. Maybe you could go sleep on the couch, or see if he would? I definitely think caffiene and/or alcohol aggravate sleep disorders. After my husband stopped working nights in a bar, he never sleepwalks.

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if he is really sorry - he should go to a sleep specialist. St. Lukes has a sleep disorder clinic and they have been very helpful to me in the past (both of my kids have gone). I have a history of sleep walking/talking and so does my husband -- there are direct links to kids having similar issues if one/both parents have them, so be prepared that you may have issues with your kiddos too. My kids issues were worse when not getting enough sleep, so that may be part of the issue. If he thinks it is caffine and doesn't want to see a dr., tell him to completely cut out caffine (totally) for an entire month to see if it gets any better. In the mean time... maybe he should sleep on an air mattress, so you don't get hit.

1 mom found this helpful

I would speak to his doctor immeadiately, he could have a sleep disorder or somethng, I myself in my sleep before i found out that i wasnt breathing at night, would find myself thinking spiders and other creepy crawlers were coming from the ceiling and i would swing and hit and run through the house screaming making sure ever light was on. ONce i went and had a sleep study done they found that it was happeneing when i would go to a deep sleep and forget to breath. and i would panic and freak out. I now have a cpap machine. I would suggest that you talk to primary care doc about a sleep study.

1 mom found this helpful

I would suggest that he go have a sleep study. I attended this coding seminar once where they talked about sleep studies and what they look for. We heard all kinds of these stories. One of them was about a man who was boxing in his dream therefore he was boxing for real. I can't remember the specific reason, but there was something not shutting off in his brain when he went to sleep. I would start with this and go from there. It sounds like he really doesn't know that he is doing it. I wish you the best. God Bless you.

1 mom found this helpful

Sounds like he has a Parasomnia disorder. Parasomnias are a group of sleep disorders that include sleepwalking, abnormal or unusual behaviors or emotions, night terrors, teeth grinding...
I would suggest finding a sleep specialist to have it properly diagnosed and treated as some parasomnias may be linked to neurological disorders. And so that you can continue to sleep in the same bed!

1 mom found this helpful

My husband was also a turbulent sleeper. He would be SOUND asleep and, like your husband, have full conversations, and I woke up with bruises several times. Over the last few years he has started getting better quality sleep, and I have noticed that the turbulence has dropped off. It started when we were trying to get pregnant with DD and started going to bed early to get a full night's sleep. I realized that at the time we were having so much trouble, he was getting maybe 3-4 hours of sleep. About the time he started sleeping a full night, 7-8 hours, it started to improve. This may not work for your husband, but it is worth a try. Good luck!


I haven't read any other responses...
My hubby would periodically kick and hit me in his sleep as well...(also the whole sleep walking thing) then one night he basically stopped breathing. I told him and he finally went to the a "sleep" doctor and went through all the testing, overnight stays...and we found out he had sleep apnea. He now uses a CPAP while sleeping and in four years he has not hit or kicked me.

Very much could be due to caffeine and lack of sleep.

Hope that helps.

I recently heard a radio show addressing this very subject. Your husband could actually be right about the caffeine. It could be altering the physiological make up and distorting the neurotransmitters (dopamine) that diffuse or convey signals passed along in the brain.
In other words, the signals or impulses that dopamine paralyzes during sleep (impulse to walk if you are walking in your dream) aren't getting diffused, allowing him to act out what he is dreaming.
This could be a very dangerous situation for everyone in the household. He could seriously hurt himself or anyone else around. Professional help is NECESSARY.
My question is, who did you ask about him going to the doctor? Did HE tell you it would be an instant discharge or can you find out from another resource if that is in fact the case? Sounds a bit too easy to get out of the military if all you have to do is go to a doctor with sleep issues.
In the meantime, have him cut back on caffeine and find other ways to relax and relieve stress off duty.
If he's not willing to address this at all, he might get incentive from you when you kick him to the couch ;)
Please let us know what happens.
Good luck and may you have peace!

If he is so sorry, then he needs to go to the doctor and/or cut out caffeine. Studies show that caffeine only works for people who are already addicted. I understand the job situation cannot change, so something else needs to change. Either live with it and don't complain, get him to do something about it, or move to another bed.

Seperate twin beds would work. Like Lucy and Rickie. I would love to do that. After 12 years of being single I miss my "whole" bed. :)

God Bless,

Mine used to do this (and have full conversations in his sleep)Turned out to be a form of apnea, and it led to a major heart attack last year. Hubby really needs to be evaluated by a doctor...

If your husband thinks his sleep hitting is due to caffeine and he refuses to go to the Dr. to get the proper medication for his sleep disorder, then he needs to give up caffeine. Otherwise you may wake up some morning with a black eye or split lip. Saying he's sorry doesn't make it stop hurting. If he's really sorry, he will go see a doctor. Before it becomes MORE serious, especially since he has a history of sleep walking. There are medications that would make this a simple solution. If he still refuses to go, I'd suggest sleeping in another room for a few nights. When he wakes up a few times without you there to snuggle in the morning, I'll bet he'll change his mind.

If he feels that bad about it, he'll go to a doctor. If I were you, I would make him sleep in another room until he agreed to go to a doctor. It's not fair to you and there must be something that makes this happen--it's NOT normal. I don't doubt he is asleep, but the fact is, he needs to go to a doctor to figure out how to stop it and you need to put your foot down and tell him you need him to do this. This is about your safety now. What if, God forbid, you had a child in bed with you or he dosed off on the couch with a child next to him and exhibited this behavior? Make him go to a doctor.

It sounds like you need to be in separate bedrooms. It sounds like it could be serious at some point. He could try seeing a therapist. But I don't know that it can be stopped without drugs.


I only read a few responses and I am sorry to say I am laughing at the responses. He is asleep so there are no hidden anger. Should I have punished my 2 year old when he had night terrors and gave me black eyes on five different occasions. Maybe he had feelings of hatred to me. If it feels like I am mocking these people it is because I am. Don't give advice if you don't know what you are talking about.

Stress and sleep deprivation brings this out in my ex husband and my sons. Other than the night terrors that Andy outgrew we never talked to the doctors about it. It seemed like so long as they get sleep no talking or walking in their sleep. You can always talk to your doctor about what all the causes are. If he says there are meds that can help then bring that information to your husband. With all that is going on in the military right now I don't blame your husband for not wanting to go to a doctor.

Better yet I have a friend who is a psychologist for the VA. I will ask him tomorrow if he has seen this and what may help. Hopefully I can find this post again.

I am a resp therapist and set up CPAP machines for people with all kinds of sleep disorders. and in the past month I have set up 4 new CPAP's and gotten 4 others new machines do to their being broken or outdated, all of which were in the military. he CAN and SHOULD go to the dr and the machines are covered 100% as are the testing through tricare. he will not be discharged for sleep disorders. though he could be discharged if he chose not to treat something so easily dealt with that could end with him being tired during the day and being a hazard to himself and his coworkers. Also he will have high blood pressure, if not already, and in the end result in heart disease, memory loss, headaches, the list goes on. I agree with someone else that said he is saying it is ok to hit you in his sleep, If he really was sorry he will get evaluated soon. Until then don't share the bed for your own safety.
Btw I go for my own sleep eval tomorrow and am actually excited to see how bad it is. I am tired of being edgy and tired! good luck and let us know how it turns out.

Good Morning K., There is nothing for him to be ashamed of or embarrassed about. It happens often enough for some folks. He needs to go have a sleep test.

I have seen on TV sleep tests where some people have really hurt some one without knowing anything at all, black eyes, choke marks, split lips, bloody noses. Some people sleep eat also. I think it is part of our REM sleep pattern, when we dream.

One way for sure you can get him to go to a Dr. is not sleep in the same bed until he does go. ;)

Tell Him Nana K said Go see the Doc, he'll sleep better and so will you.

God Bless you both
K. Nana of 5

Tell your Hubby Thank you for his Service to our Great Country!!

When we were first married my husband did the same thing, he was in the Marines. He did go and talk to the on base doctors and they gave us three pieces of advice. First they told him to exercise vigorously before he went to bed. Then they suggested we get a bigger bed. Last they told him to have a beer before he went to sleep to relax him. We did the first to things and we have not had an issue in 11 years. The doctors said it was do to the stress of the job. You really need to do something before you get hurt. Maybe even sleep in a different bed for awhile. I am grateful my husband went to the doctor and I think I would tell my husband that if he was truly sorry and really loved me he would go. Our experience was 11 years ago they may have better solutions now. Good luck.

I would tell him that by not going to the doctor that in a sense he IS hitting you voluntarily. Meaning if he knows he does it in his sleep and then CHOOSING not to get help is CHOOSING to allow you to be hit. I know he can't help it because he is asleep when it happens but he is choosing to not get help when he is awake and can control his behavior then.

Tell him it is nothing to be ashamed of but that it is his responsibility to get help for it. What if your kids were asleep in your bed due to a storm & he hit them? He would of course feel awful.

If he still refuses, tell him tht he has to sleep in another bed and that it is not acceptable for anyone to hit you.... asleep or not and you will protect yourself.

Again, I know he isn't doing it on purpose but that doesn't mean you have to allow yourself to be hit at night!

Good luck.

Hi K.,

My husband does this too, must be a military thing! It used to really freak me out, but now, I can sense (even in my sleep)when it's about to happen and I'll just hold onto his arm and tell him quietly and gently what he's getting ready to do. Sometimes he reacts abrasively .. but if I keep talking he calms down.

I'm sure caffine has something to do with it, but I also contribute it to stress. I know when he's got alot going on at work, getting ready for a field ex., getting ready for a deployment, and especially after a deployment it seems to get worse.

You have to imagine the absolute stress our guys are under when in a combat zone. Living with a super heightened sense of awareness and caution 24 hours a day? Yeah, I'd be flipping out in my sleep too!!

My 2 cents :)
Good luck!!

get separate beds...seriously! You both will sleep much better, and you won't get punched all night long! Separate beds does not mean separate lives. I know a lot of couples that do this, and some even have separate rooms. If you have the means, I would try it. Good luck!

My husband is former military and he has very vivid dreams occasionally too. I think the stress from life-threatening situations can cause them to release that stress in their dreams. I've noticed that when he is thinking about his experiences (Memorial Day, Veterans Day, anniversaries of a friend's death, etc.), he often yells or wakes up suddenly a lot more often. I've got him talking more about some of his experiences, and that has seemed to help some (just getting it out instead of holding it in). He was VERY reluctant to talk about most of his experiences (he was infantry and saw a lot of action), but slowly and piece by piece he has started to share. I find also that he will share stories with other military men who have seen similar experiences. The more he's talked it out, the less he's had these sleep experiences.

I've always heard that our mind process the thoughts that we didn't get to have during the day. If he has a lot of stress at work, he may not be "burning off" that stress during the day and thus taking it out in his sleep. He could consider talking it out (with you or a counselor or a friend) or even some exercise - a quick jog after work to think and get some of that built up stress out.

If he is very reluctant to talk to the dr, you might encourage these ideas first. Feel free to message me personally if you want to talk more!

WON'T GO to the doctor? What kind of insanity is that?? Obviously he doesn't think you getting punched and bruised is a very big deal. He needs to see a sleep specialist asap. And you should consider sleeping in another room until this is sorted out. Caffeine does not cause sleep-punching for 99.9% of the population, so that excuse is pretty absurd. Get help.

Well, if he knows what the problem is, but "can't" change it, then what question is there to ask? You're stuck. Maybe you could go sleep on the couch, or see if he would? I definitely think caffiene and/or alcohol aggravate sleep disorders. After my husband stopped working nights in a bar, he never sleepwalks.

You really need to TALK WITH HIM NOW and find out of there is something he is suppressing towards you. I mean this is really serious. What happens if he punches you in the face or stomach, but he's really sorry; "you are still really hurt by the punches".

He needs to go to the doctor. His saying it is due to the caffeine is irrelevant. He is not feeling the punches. There is no negotiation; if he really cares he will go to the doctor; we are talking about him hitting his wife in his sleep and his wife really getting hurt. This needs to be rectified and now!

THIS IS SERIOUS...does he want you to let him punch you forever; evidentally something needs to be dealt with her whether it psychological or medical; it needs to be addressed!

I agree with those that said he needs to go to the doctor and get referred for a sleep study. My husband is a Neurologist who specialized in sleep medicine and he sees things like sleep disturbances alot. Different reasons why one would do this but it is real. If you can't find someone who believes you keep looking, he's not crazy. I myself have sleep apnea and use a CPAP machine and before that had sleep disturbances too. Good luck

My husband had the same problem after our first son was born. He also had some major stress at work with an abusive boss. I convinced him to see a doctor, and he was diagnosed with sleep apnea, along with obvious stress. He was apparently dreaming a lot about his stressors, and I would get the brunt of it in the middle of the night! The doctor ran some sleep tests and put him on ritalin to help with the sleep disorder. (He eventually had to go off of the ritalin because he became extremely hyper during the day.) But he changed jobs, also. He has not had a problem since the doctor evaluated him. Good luck!

I would give my dh (if he had this problem) an ultimatium: either get help or sleep on the floor.
My dh would probly sleep on the floor than go to a dr., but you shouldn't have to deal with getting hurt just because he doesn't want to go to the dr.

God bless!

Oh my, ok, no experience, but just my opinion......he can't sleep with you until he agrees to go see a doctor and get some help!!! I'm sorry, but self-diagnosing it as caffeine is not the answer, and why not stop taking in caffeine then??!!
If you tell me you won't go see a dr, but I'm waking up bruised.....I love you man, but you've gotta go to the couch!! and that's my 2 cents...:-)

Have you considered sleeping in a different bed? If he thinks it's caffeine, then why doesn't he try avoiding caffeine?

He needs to go to the doctor, or you need a seperate bedroom. If he is hitting/punching you and it's now leaving bruises, HE NEEDS HELP. I am not a medical professional, but I have NEVER heard of this.

Does he take any medication to help him sleep? If so, he needs a new medicine.

What happens if your child is in bed with you and he/she is the next one hit?

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