British Lung Foundation
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separate bedrooms?

Richard is adamant that he should move into the back bedroom. It's neare r the bathroom, smaller and warmer. he says its so that I can get some proper nights sleep too, with his wedges and pillows sitting up he takes most of our double bed and i hang out, but I'm not bothered. After 40 years separate beds would be bad enough, but separate bedrooms? I like to be near him so I can hear him breathing in case he goes off. I stay downstairs till really late so he can get off to sleep properly but he still coughs all night. Should I let him go, should I feel guilty, I could get a baby monitor so I can hear him, but I really feel torn with this.

14 Replies

Oh what a dilemma! I can see both points of view, but, like you, I wouldn't want to be in another room at night. Maybe a trial with a baby alarm? Good luck



I'm on the other side of this one. For the last year or so I've stayed mainly downstairs and slept either in my armchair or on the settee. I can't settle properly in bed, it can take me ages to get off as I don't feel right. Hard to explain but despite the pillows, the wedge, the memory foam topping we put on, laying down bothers me.

I can get off a lot better when I'm propped up. Mainly because I know I cannot roll over onto my front, which causes me problems. It makes it hard to breathe and I wouldn't sleep if I felt in danger of that. If I roll onto my front I get chest pains that last all day, almost like bruising, but caused just by laying on my ribs.

My wife is often up at 5.30am for work and goes to be around 10.30 if she's got to get up in the morning. I can't get off to sleep if I try before midnight, it's often 3am or further before I am tied enough to want to try. I don't have sleeping pills, I don't want them. Once I'm off I sleep OK, It can be lunchtime before I wake.

I worry about waking my wife, I know she needs her sleep. She loves having the bed to herself, but does miss me there too. It does work for us. I sometimes go up if the wife is on day off the day after, she likes it if I give her a cuddle, then she will roll over and put her back to me anyway! If I settle then I stay, but normally I'll gently get up and come back downstairs again.

The only negative aspect would be if Richard is liable to have problems in the night, as you've had the experience to deal with that. Would he be happy with a baby monitor in place?


I forgot to mention our emergency system. Quite simply the house telephones. We have 3 cordless phones, one in the room, one on my desk and one in the bedroom. It is possible to call one from another, separate from the outside line. So, if I had a problem in the night, I would grab the nearest phone, dial '5' and press 'INT' and the bedroom phone rings. It's '3' for the living room and '4' for my desk. Why they are extn. 3, 4 and 5 I don't know. They play a little tune, rather than ring like they normally would, so you know it's internal. The wife could also call '3' from the bedroom on a morning, to tell me to put the kettle on, but she forgets. :-)


Sounds like our house.Puff is more comfortable sleeping on the sofa downstairs and can go and make himself a drink or watch tv if he can't sleep.

Meanwhile, upstairs, if I have a bad night with my own illness, I don't disturb him.Like last night when I threw up several times, which is nothing unusual.

It just makes more sense for us to sleep apart otherwise neither would get any sleep.

But i do think an emergency calling system is a good idea, we don't have one in place and we should.


the baby monitor was his idea, and as I can hear the grass grow, and he is totally deaf in bed without his hearing aids, he wouldnt hear anything anyway but I could hear him. maybe we'll give it a trial and see how it goes. thanks. xx


I totally sympathise with you difficult dilemma, it must be so hard after such a long time married and the baby monitor sounds like a great idea. You can also get a room alarm provided FOC by the local authority OT department, its a buzzer Richard can press that activates an alarm in your room (any room you choose to plug it in) that goes off to wake you should he need your help.

This may also the perfect time to consider an electric adjustable bed for Richard rather than wedges and pillows, its made a huge difference to me and how well i sleep. I hope you don't mind me putting that out there for you to consider. I bought one from Dreams bed stores they had a good selection and remember you can buy them VAT free as its for a medical condition and the VAT comes off the advertised store price, i haggled a bit as well. Alternatively you could speak to SS/OT and see if one can be provided FOC.

Best of luck to you both.


Its a personal thing but if health problems mean separate bedrooms, it doesn't mean that your marriage is being threatened at all. My husband and I have been married for 54 years and we have a great marriage. But we have our own bedrooms, for many different reasons.

Take your point that you need to hear him, though. A baby alarm as has been suggested.


Yes I agree with everything that has been said here.

I suffer with sleep breathing/oxygenation disorder and terrible pain and hardly sleep at all. I also now have additional problems during the day that are not diagnosed properly as yet.

I used to disturb my husband as he was worrying about me too much. His worrying used to disturb me as I was frightened to move about when I woke up in the night and this made getting back to sleep virtualy impossible.

I now sleep in the room next to my husband and use an electric bed. I don't think I could sleep at all hardly without one.

When I wake at night I can do what I need to do to help myself. Sometimes watching TV [I have pre-recorded on Sky+] or computer work or reading. I have the intercom phone like Gordon if I need it.

I might still feel like hell all day but I don't want my husband to feel this way as well, so it suits us now.

Perhaps give it a try as you can always change your minds, if you both don't like it.


I understand your dilema and don't have it myself, but if you get a better quality of sleep by being in a different room, you will feel fitter, have more energy and generally healthier. So, give it a go. You have nothing to lose and can always go back to the shared room.

Lynne x


When our children moved out of the nest some 20 ys ago, my husband and I jumped with joy with finally getting to have our own bedrooms. My room has no t.v. and is light and airy while his has a t.v. that is the focal point as you enter his room. He now has bold and masculine colors surrounding him along with all the clutter of books and trophies of days gone by lol. I am the one with copd so my room suits me fine . He is the love of my life and I his and separate bedrooms have not change this. Go for it Amagran. Maureen usa


I suppose there comes a time when we have to face facts and do what's best for both of you.

Sometimes when my cough is relentless my hubby moves to the other room. Other times he uses ear plugs. I have to admit I do miss him terribly when he's not in my bed but I feel assured at the same time I am not disturbing him too much. I know there will come a time when he permamently has to move next door. So I will just enjoy his company meantime and be prepared for the inevitable!


Just to go back on using a baby monitor - beware of the wireless type. Whilst they may be brilliant for carrying about and not using any wires that could trip someone up or be broken, they all use the same set of frequencies - so a young couple with a baby who live down the road could hear your bedroom discussions...


Hi amagran, we've been married 40 yrs too. I am wondering if your husband's real reason is that he would relax more, and sleep better, in the other room. I find I prefer to sleep alone if I'm having a flare-up, then I can cough when I feel like it, listen to the radio, put the light on to read etc. Or make a cup of tea, without all the "are you ok?", "are you sure?", "can I get you something?". It's preferable to lying there sleepless but trying not to disturb my husband.

When we sleep in the same room, which is mostly, we have two single beds which are locked together, so that we each have our own mattress & duvet and I can toss and turn to my heart's content, but we are still close enough for a cuddle ;)

Another thing we tried was a superking bed, ie 6' wide, but tbh I sleep better with the present arrangement. I'd prefer to be in the same bed, obviously, but sleep is so important to health. It hasn't affected our marriage.

ff x


HI, I have a similar dilemma though my husband gets very frightened and wants me to be near him when he is bad. I am with you I would prefer to be near him and know how he is breathing. I would be up in the night checking he was Ok if I was in another room. It is a personal choice but I would explain to him that you want to know he is OK. But if you are tired, then just let him do it so you can catch up. Either get a baby monitor or what about a bell (I know that sounds ridiculous) but at least if he was in trouble it would be easier than hearing him cough through the monitor!!! No easy solutions! Good luck TAD xx


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