My Depressed Husband Doesn’t Let Me Sleep Early

20 July, 2020
Q My husband sleeps very late and he wants me to stay up with him. This upsets me greatly. I used to sleep around 11pm and wake up for Fajr easily and be productive with my mornings.

Now I miss Fajr everyday as we sleep at 3 am. My husband plays video games all night and he gets upset when I tell him I’m tired.

I know how much he cares about me, but it really feels like he doesn’t care how tired I get. I also have hormonal issues and my doctor told me that they will not get better unless I sleep early.

My husband knows this, but he thinks it’s not true and that my doctor is wrong. Every time I bring it up with him he gets angry and says I ruin everything when I try to sleep early.

Other times he says he doesn’t stop me from sleeping and that I am allowed to sleep early. But one week I slept early every night and got up for fajr and was very productive, but he hated me every day and it ruined our relationship. I don’t know what to do.

I am too scared to bring it up with him because he gets angry and upset and we get nowhere. I start crying and he hates it when I cry so he ignores me and gets angry and walks away.

It makes me so upset as I just want to be comforted when I am upset/crying, not punished for it. I don’t know what to do.

Do I have a right as a wife to sleep early? Is it haram to sleep late like this? He is very religious, but he also misses fajr by sleeping late. How can I gently explain to him that I want us to sleep early together?

He also complains that he is depressed and has trouble falling asleep and that if I don’t stay up with him it means I don’t care. I do care, I’m happy to stay up with him, but at least get into bed at 10 pm and attempt to relax and wind down instead of playing video games in the bright lights.

The bright lights hurt my eyes but he won’t let me turn them off. I also like to sleep in darkness but as we sleep so late we wake up in the day at 12 pm and it’s so bright for me it ruins my sleep. His mum gave me eye masks but he won’t let me wear them.

We have been married for only 6 months. Everything is perfect apart from this sleeping issue. Please, could you offer me some advice.

Thank you so much for your time and may Allah reward you for your efforts.

Answer


In this counseling answer:

Try to identify if there is an underlying cause of his depression and his addictive behaviors.

Take the heavier and more direct approach and suggest he goes to a doctor to seek treatment for his issue. Depression is a type of mental illness that needs treatment.

Assist him in finding alternative ways to meet the needs that playing is fulfilling right now. This is a way to wean him off playing so much.

Encourage him to join you in Islamic activities such as prayer, fasting, reading the Quran and studying.

Focus on things that will help him to sleep earlier such as engaging in a regular gentle exercise routine and winding down with a warm milky drink and dimmed lights as it begins to get late.

Suggest going for a walk in the evening.


Wa Alaikum salaam sister,

Unfortunately, this issue regarding sleep causes you problems in several ways. It impacts your physical, psychological and social health. As a result, it is important that you try and tackle this issue for the sake of your own health, but also for the sake of your husband’s too.

You may have, at times, questioned whether you were the one being irrational, but, of course, it is of concern that his behavior causes you to miss Fajr.

As much as it is important to maintain harmony in a marriage where possible, which very often requires compromise to make, it is not OK to force your spouse to do something against Islam. In this case, it is present in a more indirect way; he encourages you to commit a sin by missing your obligations of salah.

Narrated `Abdullah: I asked the Prophet, “Which deed is the dearest to Allah?” He replied, “To offer the prayers at their early stated fixed times.” I asked, “What is the next (in goodness)?” He replied, “To be good and dutiful to your parents” I again asked, “What is the next (in goodness)?” He replied, ‘To participate in Jihad (religious fighting) in Allah’s cause.” `Abdullah added, “I asked only that much and if I had asked more, the Prophet would have told me more.” (Sahih al-Bukhari 527)

Taking care of the matter using new and alternative methods should help ease the situation and assist you in moving forward, in sha Allah.

My Depressed Husband Doesn’t Let Me Sleep Early - About Islam

Why is he depressed?

When a problem exists in marriage (or any situation as a matter of fact), the most useful thing to do first is to try getting to the root of the issue.

You mention that he says he is depressed and this is the cause of his staying up late as he can’t sleep.

There are a couple of ways you can address this.

Firstly, take the heavier and more direct approach and suggest he goes to a doctor to seek treatment for his issue. This will help him overcome his depression. It will also show that you care and will ultimately result in changes in his behavior that will enable him to sleep earlier.

However, if you feel he will not respond well to this, you can address it in a less direct way by assisting him by looking for an alternative, more natural treatments for depression.

Focus on things that will help him to sleep earlier such as engaging in a regular gentle exercise routine and winding down with a warm milky drink and dimmed lights as it begins to get late.

Identify why he’s playing like this

It is worth considering why he might be playing so many games like this. Is he using as a way to occupy his mind from the depressive thoughts he is experiencing?

Assist him in finding alternative ways to meet the needs that playing is fulfilling right now. This is a way to wean him off playing so much.

This can be achieved via the same approaches as above. Or suggest a new hobby that will keep his mind occupied, but in a way that will not require constant bright lights. It may be that you invite him to join in with a new hobby that you could both do together.

Find alternative things to do if he can’t sleep

Bright lights will naturally keep him awake regardless of whether he is depressed or not. What you could try, that would also satisfy the above considerations also, is to suggest going for a walk in the evening. This will work well with your hormones and release feel-good hormones that will relax you both and make it easy for you both to sleep.

At the same time, you get to spend quality time together but doing something healthier and productive than playing video games.

A gradual process

It may be that the best way to change his behavior is to suggest small changes first. So, perhaps suggesting a walk (or other activity of yours and his choice) once a week to begin with and encouraging him to give his game up once a week. Hopefully, he will come to enjoy this and be more willing to give up another day and so on until a healthier routine is established.


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Perhaps the suggested activity might even be reading the Qur’an together. This will also serve as a secondary purpose of encouraging the development of his relationship with Allah, which, as he gets closer to Him he will realize that if his actions are causing him to miss Fajr, then he should seriously consider cutting them out for the sake of Allah.

Abu Umamah Al-Bahili (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah said, “I guarantee a house in Jannah for one who gives up arguing, even if he is in the right; and I guarantee a home in the middle of Jannah for one who abandons lying even for the sake of fun; and I guarantee a house in the highest part of Jannah for one who has good manners.” (Abu Dawud: Book 1, Hadith 630)

Indirect encouragement

Aside from these more direct approaches, there are also more indirect methods that you implement. Such methods do not require you to tell him to stop playing his game or staying up late but will encourage him to do this by himself.

As mentioned in the previous section, you can do this by supporting him in developing his link with Allah. You can do this very gently by simply asking and encouraging him to join you in Islamic activities such as prayer, fasting, reading the Quran and studying. This will also be good for his depression too.

This particular method may even be more effective as it gives him the control to make the changes himself and realize the consequences himself, without feeling like you are ‘nagging’ him to stop.

Summary

Overall, aside from this one problem, your marriage is good. At the moment, it is damaging your health in many ways and is making you feel helpless to inspire change in him. However, there a number of things to consider and try that can support him in breaking free form this unhealthy habit.

Firstly, try to identify if there is an underlying cause of his depression and his addictive behaviors. Beyond this, gradually encourage healthier habits both directly and indirectly. This will be good for his own health as well as improving relations between you.

May Allah bring you to ease in this situation. May He make you and your husband the coolness of each other’s eyes in this life and the next.

Amen,

***

Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

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