Why does my husband sleep so much? - British Lung Foun...

British Lung Foundation
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Why does my husband sleep so much?


My husband has COPD and is on oxygen 24/7.

He seems to have trouble sleeping at night maybe because he is on 'water tablets' which means that he has to get up in the night.

As it has been so cold he has not been out very much but he seems to sleep a lot in the daytime. I worry about this and am trying to change this cycle so he sleeps more at night maybe by going to bed earlier.

Anyone out there got any ideas.


28 Replies

Have you told Doc about this? Maybe he's just got into a bad routine and could use a few days of sleeping tablets to get him back into a 'normal' rhythm?

Thanks for your comment much appreciated. Out doctor is not very sympathetic and he said if my husband took sleeping tablets on top of his medication it would 'finish him off'!!


Hi .Jeanghost I think quite a few of us on here have similar trouble.

Some times I will sleep quite well at night then I get a couple of nights where I go to sleep but wake an hour or so after .cant return to sleep so end up reading. then sleep again only to wake a couple of hours later.

Even when I do sleep well I am always tired by day. I am also on oxygen 24/7.


in reply to ivyleaf

Hi Ivyleaf

Thanks for your reply do you sleep a lot in the day? My husband will come to for a couple of minutes then he will drop off again.

It is possibly boredom let's hope that when the 'better' weather comes we will all feel better.


in reply to jeanghost

Hi Jean, I think you could be right boredom is very tiring Ive been out once since Xmas and that was for hospital appointment !!

Apart from feeding the birds and going to the dustbin, in the warm I have stayed

and sometimes you can get so fed up doing the same thing, slowly in my case, which makes everything worse. when you can get out a bit its not so bad.

As you say roll on warmer weather before some of us take root !!

No I don't sleep a lot during the day mainly because I fight against it in the hope

I sleep at night. Have started dozing off early evening tho this past couple of weeks.


chuck a cold bucket of water over him lmao. Sorry, a wooden mallet at night would help :-)

Some ladies have no sympathy over what we men go through.

in reply to cuddles64

No - warm water in winter.

I always try to have a two hour nap in the middle of the day when possible.

One of the reasons your husband might be going to the toilet in the night is that his breathing becomes irregular and his lungs respond by wanting to lose weight from the body and going straight for a wee is problem solver.I have been like this for 16 years.

Now that's a "wee" problem I don't have KOTC !!


I simply don't settle during the night. I can't sleep in the bed most of the time as laying down makes my chest tight and it annoys me. I need to be propped up in a chair or up against the back of the sofa.

It's often 5-6am before I finally get some sleep, often as my wife is getting up for work. I then sleep until maybe 10-11. If I doze off later then it's because I need to catch up a little, but I'll usually get through to late evening then have an hour or two where my eyes close and I feel myself slipping forward, so wake up quickly. Very strange feeling.

Liquid is another issue, but does not always bother me. As long as I 'go' before settling down.

One of the main problems is boredom, not being able to go out because it's cold, spending a lot of time huddled up trying to stay warm as well.

When I am able to sleep in bed I'm told that my breathing drops off to almost nothing, worries the wife. Then I'll move, make a big sigh and breath properly again. Trouble is, that wakes me up so I end up laying there, trying to doze off again - often give up and go downstairs.

I have to bear in mind that my wife needs her kip as she's up at 5.30 am many mornings to go to work, so I try not to disturb her if I can help it. I get the broken nights and lack of sleep so she does not have to.

in reply to Gordon57

Gordon, have you been tested for sleep apneoa being as your breathing drops off at nightime, it can be very dangerous.

polly xx

in reply to pollyjj

Yes, tested and they say I don't have sleep apneoa - I was given some sort of monitor to wear overnight and made sure I went to bed that night to replicate the situation.

Hi jean,i have tge same priblem as your husband but i am not on oxygen unless im admitted into hospital where im put on 8ltrs a minute and after 24 hours cut down to 4ltrs per minute.your husbands lungs are working harder doing the skightest things which makes us all tired and boredom makes it worse when we cant get out for fresh air so you might find once the better weather comes in he might get iut more and get tired at the end of the day and sleep at night.i know exactly what hes going through because im the same,im constantly up during the night (like last night,where my girlfriend had to put me on my nebuliser) and its not only a strain on your husbsnd but on yourself aswell.when i go to bed at night and i cant sleep between not being able to breathe and not being able to sleep,my girlfriend wakes aswell for instance last night i was up half a dozen times and so was she and she has a full time job to do but never once complains about it but i feel really guilty when i cant sleep and shes awake.iv got a diamond of a girlfriend and im so lucky to have her.i was diagnosed with COPD and ASTHMA in june 2009 and since then iv had trouble sleeping,tgen when my girlfriend goes to work i go back to bed and sonetimes manage a few hours sleeo if im lucky but hopefully when the better weather comes in he will get back into a riutine of keeping himself busy during the day snd by night time he will be so tired he will fall off to sleep.yiur lungs need to work much harder even doing the slightest things so hopeully he gets into a routine because im sure your husband feels guilty at keeping you awake at night,i know i do.hooe things turn out ok in the summer for you x

Sorry about the typing errors as im on my fone and having fat fingers doesnt help lol x

in reply to stuwer231267

Hullo, stuwer please dont worry about tying errors. I think we type as we think, like talking so errors will occur. But had a hard time taking it all in in big block. Nice meeting you, though.

Sorry jean i forgot to mention,with my sick money i saved a little each week and bought an electric bed which i found a big difference as along with everyone else i cant sleep withiut 4 pillows propping me up as i cant breathe lying down.i dont know what ur circumstances are but that could help aswell,iv seen a big difference since i got mine but im still wakening up but dont feel as tired when iv git the bed to the position i want.Lying flat helps the mucus in your lungs gather so i was put on mucadine to help clear my lungs and thats helped too so if he isnt in them ask his doctor to out them in repeat prescription and he will see a benefit with them also as it was taking me hours in the morning trying to clear mines but its much easier now

Stuart x

Hi Jean,

My husband is also on oxygen 24x7. He is asleep more hours than he is awake. Sleep disturbance is very common with severe COPD. Someone with severe COPD uses 25% more calories than they would if they were healthy just as a result of the extra physical effort trying to breath. It's why it can be difficult to maintain a healthy weight and also why more sleep is needed. Living with severe COPD is like doing a heavy workout at the gym every day.

So from my experience it's best to accept he needs a lot of sleep and that he will sleep on and off day and night, it's what his body needs. Apart from that make sure that any depression is addressed and that there are pleasurable things to do. I know for my husband if I didn't take him to the pub every day he wouldn't get out of bed.


Are you with him most of the time? If so, you could try keeping a sleep diary. Note the periods of sleep and also the reason for waking (at night). This may help healthcare professionals visualise the problem since they otherwise have to interpret what you mean by 'a lot'.

Has he had his blood oxy checked lately? I went through same stage as him, I have COPD on Oxy 24/7, they found out with me I had too much CARBON IN THE BLOOD, THIS WAS CORRECTED and I have been ok ever since, have a word with his DOC or with his Specialist nurse, hope you can get it sorted out soon. Take care

Hi Jean. What time is hubby taking his water tablets? I take mine at 7am and the effects last about 4 - 6 hours. Is he taking them too late in the day? Just a thought. Bob


I read this thread last night. Everything has been said. Who really sleeps well if they have problems of any sort. Husband and I generally have a nap in the afternoon during this weather. Could someone remind what a fine sunny day is like. Thanks.

in reply to Hidden

make that a fine WARM sunny day please ;)

I have had the same problem. I don't sleep too well at night. Wake up often and then don't go to bed till about 1am and up again before 8. I have found this last few weeks I feel very tired, i use oxygen at all times except sitting or sleeping. I think to sum it up it is boredom. I have cabin fever. As I cannot go anywhere except visiting in this weather. The cold shuts down my lungs. And the winter is still dragging on. So I am getting more tired, as I get more bored. Hopefully when the weather warms it will be easier to motivate and with motivation comes more alertness.

i agree wth phillips1, give the water pill early in the morning, and see if you can get him moving a bit more as it will get the kidneys working, but i do understand your problems and hope it will be sorted soon.


I have the same problem and on a routine blood test it was noted I have a severe lack of Iron so another pill added, but this was explained to me. Maybe your Drs or nurse can check your blood. I am not bored as I do family history, chat to people like all of you and generally keep my brain active also read a lot.

My Hubby is a healthy Diabetic 75 year old, with the tendancy to sleep on and off during the day. He is on water pills and has to take his as early as possible or the effect will carry on longer. Before 8 am is best. During a recent urine infection he noticed an increase in the night time getting up.

Hi everybody

Thanks for all the comments. My husband is already on mucodyne, warfarin and ,many others. I agree that he should maybe take his water tablet earlier but he needs them twice a day otherwise he gets odeama (swelling of the legs and feet).

We do spend quite a lot of time together as I do not go to work. I am his carer and also visit my mother who is 92 most days.

My husband has started collecting stamps and does crosswords and puzzles. As it so cold he cannot go out at the moment as it would affect his lungs. We have just bought a mobility scooter so looking forward to better weather. It was actually snowing here today thank goodness that it did not settle.

He is due his next oxygen assessment at the end of this month.

It is my birthday on the 8th of this month we used to get nice weather when I was younger!!


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