Television at Our Little House

Last year, I wrote about learning to share the remote with my husband in Our Little House.

That hasn’t changed; we typically don’t have a lot of time during the evenings or even on weekends to watch much.

The problem seems to arise after hours, when I want to go to bed and Dale decides he wants to stay up and watch a movie or finish a show he’s already started.

This becomes a problem because I have trouble sleeping through the night; I’ve become an ultra light sleeper and have had this issue since we moved. It becomes worse when the lights or television are on, even on a low volume.

Close the bedroom door?

We can’t due to climate control. In the summer, the air conditioning window unit is in the bedroom, cooling the entire house, including the living room. In colder temperatures, the electric oil space heater or the wood stove is heating the bedroom from the living room.

As well, when Dale is pretending to watch television from his recliner or the futon in the living room (I think he does more sleeping than watching), the dogs don’t seem to know where to sleep and are up roaming part of the night, which wakes me.

When he comes to bed, the dogs also settle in too.

This wasn’t problem in Kansas City, where he just retreated to the downstairs family room. Even if I could hear the television in the night, I could still shut the bedroom door.

When we were building Our Little House, the builder asked us before putting up the walls if we were sure we wanted to split the living room and sleeping areas.

“Keeping it open will make it look bigger,” he said.

I’m still glad we put in the wall and door. Occasionally, we do have people stay with us that would rather stay on the futon in the house than in the Belle Writer’s Studio.

Still, I wish we had made different choices about climate control so I could shut the door when I want to sleep and he wants to pretend to watch television.

Just another thing to think about when building a little house.

Do you have a spouse or S.O. that is a night owl or visa versa? Have you given any thought to how you would handle that in a little house?

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22 Responses

  1. Amy says:

    Kerri,

    My hubby is a late night TV watcher I’m sorta an early to bed early to rise sorta gal. We live in a one room cabin. Only way I sleep is to take a big ol’ sleeping pill.

    I don’t think our builders followed any sorta codes. We only have one door in and out of the cabin and the stove is piped out the wall and up the side of the house. It is triple wall pipe though which is what is called for I guess. When I went to the health department to get the septic stuff done the guy asked me only two questions…How many acres and how big a building. He then signed off on everything which I questioned and he said that with 10 plus acres there were no regulations to worry about and that any building under 400sqft wasn’t considered a residence so he didn’t care.

  2. Alexandra says:

    My husband and I have different sleeping schedules, too. The issue is radio. He likes to listen while falling asleep and several hours prior. My kids got him earphones, but he would not wear them. Reluctantly we decided to sleep in different rooms. I feel for you, having this problem in your tiny space! This winter we intend to try again, but I cannot sleep with “noise” and he cannot sleep without it. What a conundrum!

    • Kerri says:

      I’m exactly the same way, Alexandra, although I’ve learned to deal with the fan running. When I was a teen, I listened to the radio while falling asleep every night. I have no idea how I did that.

    • Vida says:

      Alexander, I read your post and then later I went to the New York Times site and saw this:

      http://www.soundasleeppillow.co.uk/product/Sound_Asleep_Original_Speaker_Pillow_266888GE

      Here’s a quote from the page that describes the product: “As the speaker is built inside the pillow, this unique product requires absolutely no headphones. You control the volume of the sound, so only you can hear your personal music, meaning your partner can sleep in peace.”

      Your husband can connect his radio to the pillow and hopefully you can sleep together again…

  3. Sandy says:

    OMG….universal problem for so many of us. I too have the same issue. Our MBR is off the living room and of course I go to be early and he stays up late. Over the last few years I have become such a light sleeper. So, if I am woken up for any reason after going to sleep I generally can throw the towel in on going back to sleep or getting a restful night’s sleep. He most times just doesn’t understand “the waking up and can’t go back to sleep cycle”. Of course he’s the one that can fall asleep at the drop of a hat whether sitting up, with the TV blaring, or sometimes from just sitting on the couch too long. We have a recurring agruement over the volume. Him being slightly hard of hearing and wanting it up so he can hear and me wanting it low enough so I can sleep. I feel all your frustration! I get especially aggravated if he falls asleep with the volume up and I have to stomp in there and turn it off. Making even madder as he rolls over on the couch and let’s out a soft snore! lol

    • Kerri says:

      My post was probably a little harsh. Dale is very good about keeping the volume pretty low. It’s just that I can’t take *any* noise.

  4. Vida says:

    Hi Kerri,

    OK you probably won’t do this because it involves some large changes, but regarding your heating system, I would move your stove so that it is against the wall between the bedroom and the main living area. If you actually build your stove into the wall, surrounded by fireproof solid bricks you would create more thermal mass that would keep your house warm long after the fire has gone out and it would be more fuel efficient. There should be a vent right behind the stove to allow the heat to enter the bedroom. That way your stove would efficiently heat the entire house even with the doors closed. We also use wood stove heating only for our (little) house and one of our stoves is set up just like this to heat two separate areas and it works wonderfully.

    You don’t need to install a central heating system, just place your stove centrally in the house!

    I’m lucky that my husband actually likes falling asleep to the TV and he’s a heavy sleeper as I’m the one who tends to stay up watching TV or doing stuff. Hope you work this out as I know that feeling of not really resting and it’s terrible.

    • Kerri says:

      Thanks for the idea, Vida. I wish we would have known this when drawing up the plans. Unfortunately, we couldn’t do this due to where the front door is situated. There is no room to put the woodstove along that wall and adhere to fire code. It would take a massive renovation, moving windows and the exterior door, so it would be cheaper to install a central heating and cooling system with ducts. I hope someone else will find this info useful before they build! 🙂

      • Vida says:

        Hi Kerry,

        I understand. There are no such things as firecodes here in Greece which is good (if you know what you’re doing) and bad (if you don’t)…. Just for interest sake, what does the fire code say? Does the stove have to be a minimum distance from the open door because it is wood?

        • Kerri says:

          No, our doors are steel. The firecodes state that we have to have 2 unblocked access doors to the outside. As well, the woodstove has to be situated so many feet from a wall and that wall has to have some sort of fire protection on the floor and wall (we have ceramic tile where it is now). There is also something about the flue, it has to be on the high point of the roof, but not sure why.

        • BJ Lambert says:

          Vida, that is an awesome idea. Actually may have been the very answer to what I was looking for. Unfortunately, I am single so I do not have anyone to watch tv while I try to sleep, but I have added two rooms to my cabin, and the wood stove is in the end one. I have been wondering how I could effectively sent the heat into the kitchen without too much renovation. Thanks!

  5. Susan says:

    How about something that will create a “white noise” We run the fan year round our bedroom at night and it blocks out the TV noise. I started doing the fan because of the boys arguing when they were growing up and have gotten so we like the white noise at bedtime. I would try the mask for the light issue. I probably should get one of those myself, the neighbors have porch light glaring and it brightens our room.

    • Kerri says:

      Yikes, Susan, I hate neighbors with bright porch lights. Dale likes the white noise too. He has to have the fan running or the air going in the summer to fall asleep.

    • Sheryl says:

      We use a machine that produces white noise and it does a terrific job of masking out sounds. When the boys were still at home, their hangout room was in the basement directly below the bedroom and many times I had to get up to tell them to turn the TV down. With the white noise machine, all those sounds are masked out. I don’t know if it would help a blaring tv, though.

  6. Kathleen Winn says:

    My husband is also a night owl, while I’m an “early to bed and early to rise type.” It was actually more of a problem in our old house because the T.V. was just beneath our bedroom and he used to sometimes leave the volume turned up till all hours. I used to get out of bed and stomp on the floor to let him know to turn it down! David did eventually get earphones though and that helped a lot!

    Now, our bedroom is at the opposite end of the house from the television, so when he pulls one of his all night TV marathons, I can go to bed and sleep peacefully. Good luck getting things worked out so you can enjoy a good night’s sleep, Kerri! ZZZzzzzzzz….

  7. Olivia says:

    DH is a night owl and I am a very early riser – ships passing in the night. Noise and light are not too much of a problem since he doesn’t watch much TV (although the son does but he is usually not up too late and he has good ears) and we have a small room (sort of a closet or antechamber) between our bedroom and the rest of the house so I close the door there which effectively muffles all the sound.

    However – the chimney from the woodstove goes through our bedroom and throws off a lot of heat and I HATE a hot bedroom. I have closed off all the furnace vents in that part of the house (although we keep the furnace on very low just to heat the basement so the walls don’t crack and the pipes don’t freeze) but the radiant heat from the brick flue makes the room too hot for me to sleep so I keep the bedroom window open year round, even in sub zero temperatures. DH keeps the stove blazing when he sits up reading half the night and hates the “waste” of heat when I keep the window open.

    If we were on similar schedules this would not be an issue – but, alas, we aren’t.

  8. David says:

    I was also going to suggest wireless headphones–plus a sleep mask for you to shut out light. Perhaps even some decent earplugs to reduce the interruption of the dogs moving around.

    one advantage of the headphones is they are likely much better in quality of sound than the typically small, rather cheap speakers in most TVs.

    Another option would be some earbuds for you to use with a small MP3 player…I do that from time to time with soothing music, since my wife seems addicted to going to sleep with a television on in the room.

    As it happens, I’m a far lighter sleeper than my wife, so I have done all of these things myself. I hope some, or all, may help.

    One final thought–do you take naps in the afternoon? That’s a great way to recharge, and it may allow you to move your bedtime late enough that there is minimal conflict with your husband’s preferred schedule.

    • Kerri says:

      Hi, David,
      We had the earphones to the television once and Dale didn’t use them. I will have to check into this again though. I’ve never tried a sleep mask, but that is a good idea as well. I do have an iPod that I use sometimes when he watching something I’m not interested in and I’m on the computer or reading. But I haven’t been able to fall asleep to music since I was a teen. 🙂 I do take a nap and we get up at 4:30 during the week, so I need it. These are all great ideas, thanks for chiming in!

  9. Sheryl says:

    Years ago when my husband either stayed up late to watch TV, or woe up early (and couldn’t sleep), we solved the TV noise issue with wireless headphones. He could watch TV to his hearts content, and I didn’t hear the noise. However, the light from the TV was still in the room. At that time, we were living in a regular size house, so the TV watching wasn’t that close by.

    Is it too late to alter some of your cooling / heating design?

    • Kerri says:

      Sheryl,
      We will have to try the headphones again. I never gave thought to a sleep mask to block out the television light.
      As for the heating cooling, it is. The only thing we could do at this point is install a central heating/cooling system.