Scientists believe that each of us has a unique sleeping chronotype that puts us somewhere on the spectrum between morning lark and night owl. With more than 60% of adults sleeping with someone else, it’s no wonder that individual sleep patterns often clash.
In fact, a survey by a leading bedroom furniture company found that 75% of couples report that they go to bed at separate times up to four nights a week. The major reasons include long work hours, socializing, or online shopping and video games.
Meanwhile, more than a third of couples say they argue because their partner disturbs them or wakes them due to conflicting schedules.
Fortunately, you don’t have to resign yourself to insomnia just because you and your partner have incompatible bedtimes. Try these tips for enhancing your slumbers and your marital satisfaction.
Steps to Take With Your Partner
1. Accept your differences. Individual sleep patterns are rooted in biology and habits, and they’re difficult to change. Tampering with them may leave you drowsy and unproductive, so it’s more constructive to work with your natural tendencies.
2. Communicate openly. Communication is key to resolving any issue. Talk with your partner about your needs and collaborate on finding solutions.
3. Address root issues. It may be easier to argue about daily schedules when it’s really something more sensitive that’s troubling you. Ask yourself if you’re avoiding deeper concerns.
4. Maintain multiple bedtimes. Make staggered bedtimes work for you. It can be a convenient way to divide up parenting responsibilities if one of you cooks breakfast and the other one takes care of baths and pajamas.
5. Consider separate bedrooms. Many happy couples sleep apart. It’s one option if you have enough space.
6. Schedule time together. Whatever arrangements you decide on, make it a priority to spend time with your partner. Go to the gym together or take a foreign language course.
Steps to Take With Your Home
1. Buy a larger bed. Research shows that you’re less likely to be woken up by your partner if you’re sleeping in a king-size bed. If that’s beyond your budget, you could still get your own blanket.
2. Adjust the lights. Try a clip-on book light if you want to read in bed. For dressing in the morning, keep a lamp behind a screen instead of turning on the overhead lights.
3. Minimize noise. You’re bound to make some sounds when you enter the bedroom after your partner has gone to bed. To minimize the disruption, wait at least an hour so they’re more likely to be in a deep sleep.
4. Limit electronics. It’s easier to get your forty winks if you turn off TVs and computers at least an hour before retiring. If you’re carrying your phone to bed, put it on vibrate under your pillow.
1. Remove your kids. More than 81% of married adults who typically sleep with their child report having a sleep problem, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Keep your kids in their own rooms.
2. Deal with stress. You’ll both sleep more peacefully if you’re relaxed. Meditate before bed and look for ways to simplify your lifestyle.
3. Go camping. Studies show that sleeping outdoors can help to restore your internal clock. Pitching a tent in the back yard or visiting a national park could be a fun way to start working on healthier sleep habits.
Even if you’re a lark married to a night owl, you can have a good nights’ sleep and a happy marriage. Enjoy each other’s differences while you manage your body clocks so you’ll be well-loved and well-rested.