Ask Amy: Sleepless sister shares her pain

December 19, 2013 

Dear Amy: As the holidays approach, I'm facing yet again the question of whether my adult sister is just a whiner with whom we must only sympathize or if we are really facing a problem that our family must resolve.

My sister is a light sleeper and wakes up whenever anyone moves around or makes other noise.

Unfortunately, many of us find that we need to make a bathroom trip during the night, and one of my other sisters is a loud snorer.

Over the holidays, every morning starts with the light-sleeping sister saying, "I'm so sad because I couldn't get back to sleep after ..." This is despite the fact that we all grew up in a tiny, little house in which both of our parents were prodigious snorers. The sister whose snoring she complains about (not me) is not nearly as loud as our folks.

The sister who snores can't afford to get a hotel room. The sister who misses sleep because of this can afford a hotel, but won't go to one — she doesn't want to miss out on the camaraderie.

Me? I sleep right through everything — and I just wish I could sleep through the whining. I find this extremely annoying and start many of my vacation days rolling my eyes.

Must I muster up more sympathy for that poor light sleeper?

— Rested sister

Dear Rested:You should respond to your sleepless sister's whining by saying, "Oh, that sounds awful. I hope you're OK." (Having this sort of affirmation is often all a complainer needs.)

Do not offer her insomnia cures and suggestions. Ask your sister if she is sure she doesn't want to relocate to a hotel. And help with a pot of coffee in the morning.

Dear Amy: On behalf of young gay men and women everywhere, please accept my warmest gratitude for your reflections toward "Feeling Betrayed."

As a young, gay man who was also rejected by my parents, I believe that if I had men and women of your caliber in my corner when I was growing up, I would have had a better childhood. Thank you!

— Clifton

Dear Clifton: The outpouring tells me that this is a situation sadly familiar to many gay people. Thank you all for positive comments.


You can contact Amy Dickinson via email at, follow her on Twitter @askingamy or "like" her on Facebook.

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