Social Question

ccrow's avatar

How do you deal with differing sleep needs?

Asked by ccrow (8015 points ) November 28th, 2009

My husband tends to be an early to bed, early to rise person, where I am more of a night owl. I also need less sleep than he does. These two things combine into a recurring source of friction.

When I’m alone, I generally go to bed around 11:30PM (sometimes later), & get up about 6:30AM. He tends to need more like 9 hours, but when he announces he’s going to bed at 9:30, I am just not ready that early.
How do any of you handle this type of situation?

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15 Answers

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I am a night person, he’s a morning person – it’s a running joke between us but it also works because then at least one parent is alert and functioning at all times of the day an night

janbb's avatar

We generally go to bed at different times since I go to bed earlier and often stay in bed longer since I have bouts of insomnia. The issue is often around me wanting the lights off and him still wanting to read in bed. I have gotten better at falling alseep with the lights on and he has gotten better at stumbling around in the dark so it is not as much of an issue as it was in the first 30 years of our marriage!

mattbrowne's avatar

Accepting it while making as little noise as possible.

RareDenver's avatar

People have compared my wife to a cat, she finds the warmest place in a house, curls up and goes to sleep, she is in fact asleep next to me on the sofa now and it’s 4:50pm on a Saturday afternoon

She can sleep for England, I’m a bit of a night owl but it works cos even when she has had like 10 hours of sleep during the day she can then sleep at night when I go to bed..

scamp's avatar

I’m a night owl too, and my SO is a morning person. We have discovered that it’s kind of nice to have some quiet time whil the other is sleeping. When I sleep in, he can talk to his buddies on the computer, and work out with his weights without disturbing me.

When he goes to bed before me, I watch a TV show that I have stored on the DVR that he doesn’t paticularly like. or I take a book to bed and read with a booklight, so it doesn’t disturb him. I also watch a movie on my portable DVD player with headphones on, so the noise doesn’t wake him.

We used to struggle over bedtime, and wake time on weekends especially, but over the years we have found that the extra couple of hours of “me’ time is important and we worked it out nicely. It all depends on how you choose to see it.

One more thing.. when your partner isn’t in bed, you get to sprawl out! I learned to like the fact that I don’t have to fight him for blankets, or listen to his snoring for a couple of hours. Those are the hours when i get the best sleep!

casheroo's avatar

I can sleep as long as my husband is in bed with me. He can lay next to me watching tv, reading, or playing video games…I just need him in bed and have the room sort of dark. He is more of a night owl because he works so late and no one really comes home from work and sleeps right away..so he’s wired for a couple hours.
We make due by just being in bed together, but we don’t have to be sleeping. We also don’t feel the need to wake up at the same time either.

kevbo's avatar

There’s a book called Birds of a Different Feather that explores the social aspects of this topic in detail. It’s worth a look.

Darwin's avatar

We have been married long enough that we trust each other not to get up to any hijinks while one of us is asleep. Thus, I go to sleep when I am tired, he does the same, and we get up when we need or want to be awake. Some of this evolved because of having raised children, some of it because he retired before I did, and some of it is just familiarity with each other’s needs.

Although I must admit the getting him to dialysis at 6 am three days a week puts a crimp in my sleeping style. But in sickness and in health, right?

Zen_Again's avatar

Aren’t most couples like that?

I know I was in a relationship like that for about 15 years. Then another one for about 6. Then the last one for about 2. I hardly sleep anyway, and when I do – it’s for a few hours late at night. The women with me, and my siblings as well – come to think of it, my daughter, my aunts and everyone else I know (female) like to sleep in – then stay up (pretty) late.

I get up early early – and by 9–11 p.m. I am a walking zombiedude. Women never seem to be like that. (They are the stronger sex, that’s for sure).

But that’s neither here nor there; what can be done? Meet half way.

Spend weekends together. Compromise – workdays, e.g. if one gets up early – the other should take on the brunt of the evening work (kids and such).

I think if two people really love each other and want to make things work, night owl versus early bird should be the least of their troubles. There are 24 hours in a day.

Look at the bright side; some people are travelling salesmen (persons, whatever) and some are pilots or flight attendants.

Not to mention army people, cops and firemen; and what about the astronauts.

What about long distance relationships?

24 hours in a day: a couple should make it work for them.

ZEN OUT

ccrow's avatar

I don’t want to make this sound like more of a problem than it actually is- we don’t have any serious conflict about it.
Years ago, when our kids were small, he worked second shift. He’d get home about 1AM & be like @casheroo said, wired for a couple of hours. We had babies, I couldn’t stay up all night as they would wake up at the crack of dawn. As @Simone_De_Beauvoir said, it’s nice to have someone awake w/little ones. That’s all well & good… the thing that irritates me is, he often acts as though it’s a personal affront to him if I want to stay up. I am fine w/him going to bed when he’s tired, & on the very rare occasions that I go to bed before him (usually when he has had a nap, lol), I just go, I don’t try to guilt-trip him into coming up too.
”...night owl versus early bird should be the least of their troubles.” It is, but after 32+ years, he ought to know I’m not trying to avoid him by staying up late!! :-/

aprilsimnel's avatar

All my SOs were night owls like me, come to think of it.

Evelyns_Other_Zebra's avatar

My SO is a night person, as i tend to go to bed around 9:00, seem to work out just fine for us.

ccrow's avatar

@kevbo that looks interesting, must check it out. I don’t sleep in anymore though; I like to stay up but as I’ve gotten older I also like to get up in the AM. So most of the time I’m up later and earlier than he is. Sigh.

YARNLADY's avatar

We sleep according to our own, and our work schedule. I stay up until 2 or 3 am, and sleep until noon – he goes to bed around 11 pm and gets up at 6am work days, or 1 am to 10 am on weekends. We used to sleep in one room, and then he would dress in a different room, but we stopped that as our bedrooms filled up with kids and grandkids.

I’m just glad we have the same temperature schedule. My son has a real problem with his wife, she is always too hot, and he is always too cold.

SABOTEUR's avatar

Different beds.

Different rooms.

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