Husband Sleep Issue

Updated on October 21, 2011
C.A. asks from Potomac, MD
14 answers

Does anyone else have a husband that will fall asleep in mid conversation or mid-argument when he is tired no matter how much it bothers you? This happens with mine. He says he can't help it, he just turns off and needs to go to sleep. He also gets rather grouchy and mean/ rude in my opinion once the "switch" occurs. I wonder if it is a sleep disorder. Interestingly, I hear that my brother-in-law also does the same thing. But it is so hard for me not to be hurt. He offers no real explanation other than, he needs to go to sleep. Please send wisdom (I promise I'll try to post a follow-up!)

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So What Happened?

Hi - thanks so much for your messages! I especially liked the humourous one about just slapping him for being so rude! LOL. He is actually extremely fit, not heavy, and only snores moderately. But I may try to convince him to get checked for sleep apnea just in case. We discussed it again and he re-explained that he needs to sleep in this narrow window when his head hits the pillow or else if he "misses" it he may be up for several hours with insomnia. He does tend to exhaust himself with work, extra activities, etc. so part of it is that he is exhausted. I can't help but think of it as a coping mechanism for me speaking of "emotional stuff" but I am going to try to again understand this as something that he cannot help. Thanks again!

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answers from Boston on

Is he a big snorer or a heavy-set guy? My husband was diagnosed with sleep apnea in the spring and now uses a CPAP machine when he sleeps. Neither one of us can get over what a HUGE difference it makes in his energy level! He can stay awake for much longer now, remembers conversations better, is much better company & just enjoys his life more.

Ask him to talk to his doctor. My husband put off and put off the sleep study, convinced it wouldn't do any good. He was so very glad he finally did it!

4 moms found this helpful

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answers from Redding on

Sounds like narcolepsy to me. You should have him checked out, and if his brother is that way too -- they both need to go get checked out.

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answers from Los Angeles on

I have sleep apnea. Before I was diagnosed, that kind of thing happened to me. I now sleep with a CPAP machine.

This kind of thing happens to me. I don't generally fall asleep during a conversation, but I have been sitting in my lazy-boy fast forwarding through a commercial and fallen asleep and had to rewind.

He is not trying to be rude or disrespectful. Good luck to you and yours.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Take him in to a sleep clinic and have him tested for Narcolepsy.

Narcolepsy is a chronic sleep disorder or dyssomnia, characterized by an excessive urge to sleep at inappropriate times, such as while at work. Narcolepsy is a neurological sleep disorder. It is not caused by mental illness or psychological problems

People with narcolepsy often experience disturbed nocturnal sleep and an abnormal daytime sleep pattern, which often is confused with insomnia. Narcoleptics, when falling asleep, generally experience the REM stage of sleep within 10 minutes; whereas most people do not experience REM sleep until an hour or so later.[citation needed]

Another one of the many problems that some narcoleptics experience is cataplexy, a sudden muscular weakness brought on by strong emotions (though many people experience cataplexy without having an emotional trigger).

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answers from Charlotte on


2 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

When my husband is tired or hungry he is not capable of "pushing through the pain" -- he just drops. If he is hungry, he literally cannot focus until the food arrives. He has fallen asleep sitting up with people in our house!
In his defense, he has a VERY physical job, he travels a fair amount and is the kind of guy whose motto is: I'll rest when I'm dead."
If there's an hour of daylight left, you can be sure he's going to mow the lawn....
You might want to encourage your husband to be checked for sleep apnea because that can make someone tired all day. (Mine was checked and it's not sleep apnea.)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Iowa City on

If we are in bed and I am talking to my husband he will fall asleep mid conversation. It isn't that he doesn't want to listen it is just that he is tired and falls asleep. Not really a big deal. We don't discuss anything important when we are about to go to sleep anyway. As for being grouchy... that is me. I get kind of mean when someone wakes me up before I am ready to be awake.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

What position is he in when this happens? is it once you are laying in bed?

I do it sometimes as does my hubby if I am very tired which is often. What is his schedule like? Is he a big snorer so maybe he isnt getting good REM sleep? My hubby has told me of some nights where I will start to answer a question then just doze off.....mind you I am already cozy and laying on my pillow in the dark as we talk and I am lucky if I get more than 3 hours uninterupted a night.

Either way, even if it's narcolepsy or some other disorder I would think (unless there is other background here we are missing) that he is not doing it to be rude but hoestly is THAT exhausted and can not help it. I could understand him getting grouchy at that point, he is most likely also frustrated with himself ( I know I am) for being so tired.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

It happened more when my husband worked overtime. He needs to take naps. He cannot handle stress or he will go to sleep. I caught him falling asleep on the toilet before!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

As the night winds down, I tell my wife "if you have anything important to say, don't let my head hit the pillow" literally. It must be a guy thing.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

I think all husbands are like this. I have found it easiest to just tell him I will tlk to him later and send him to bed. I will usually stay up an hour or 2 later cleaning up ( this usually happens about 8pm so not too late) then wake him from his nap and then we talk.

(of course my husband works 98 hours a week and is on call on top of that so sleeplessness is due to overwork and pure exhaustion... It could be medical in nature if he is regularly getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

It could be narcolepsy. Or, if he is having trouble breathing at night, and he snorts very loudly then starts to breathe again, then it could be sleep apnea, it often causes sufferers to fall asleep at random times during the day because they are not getting adequate sleep (or oxygen) at night.

So, yes, this is something he should discuss with her Dr. and have a sleep study done.

It could just be plain exhaustion and an inability to cope with stress. Is he working a lot lately, going through a hard time?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I don't know ANYONE who falls asleep in mid-conversation. I think he should get that checked out.



answers from Oklahoma City on

He needs to be tested by a Neurologist for sleep apnea and some other sleep related issues. They can do a sleep study on him and find out what is going on. He could fall asleep driving. My hubby does a c-pap and his license got suspended due to his tests and read outs on the machine being too off, he was not getting enough sleep. He got it back once they adjusted the machine and he started taking some other steps to make sure he was trying to get the right amount of deep sleep.

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