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Ask Dr. Gott
Too much sleep threatens to ruin marriage of many years
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    DEAR DR. GOTT: I hope you can help. My husband, who is soon to be 72 years old, seems to sleep too much. He still works 40 hours a week, but it is not a strenuous job like he has worked in the past. He gets up every morning around 4 a.m., even though he doesn’t go to work until 5:45 am. Even on days he doesn’t go to work, he still arises early, and by the time I get up (on the days I don’t work) at 6:30 a.m. to 7 a.m., he is back in his recliner asleep. On days when he works, he goes to sleep in his chair as soon as he gets home, and this I can understand. By that time, he has been up for 11 hours and needs a nap. However, he gets out of the chair long enough to get a shower and eat supper, then it’s back into the chair and asleep again. The days he doesn’t work, he not only arises early but also sleeps a good part of the day and evening. I wake him when I am ready to go to bed (usually about 9:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.). He sits up and answers me, but then, most of the time, he leans back in the chair and goes back to sleep, maybe coming to bed in the wee hours of the morning.
    I must tell you, this is about to ruin 50-plus years of marriage. I have tried to talk to his primary doctor to no avail. My husband disputes almost all the concerns I have stressed to the doctor, so I just quit going with him to his appointments. I also tried writing a letter to his doctor but got no response, so I am appealing to you for help.
    DEAR READER: This is a potentially serious problem that is, obviously, challenging. Your husband’s sleep cycle is out of synchrony; basically, his brain has lost its normal sleep-wake pattern. If your husband continues with such a pattern, his health will suffer sooner or later.
    He needs a sleep study in a medical facility. This testing may well disclose a method by which he can overcome his exhaustion; his brain must be reprogrammed to function in a more predictable pattern. In addition, he may have to make some much-needed adjustments in his work schedule.
    Show him my response to your question and cross your fingers that he will heed my advice.

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