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Married Early Birds and Night Owls

Solutions For When You have Different Sleep Preferences


Photo: Stockbyte / Getty Images
Photo: Stockbyte / Getty Images
If you and your spouse wind down at a different time the day, your sleep preference differences could hurt your marriage.

Changing your body clocks isn't all that easy and actually may be impossible. So what can you do to keep these differences from having a negative impact on your marriage? Here are some suggestions.

Solutions for Married Night Owls and Early Birds

  • Talk about it. Brainstorm solutions together.
  • If you are an early bird don't insist that your spouse go to bed when you go to bed. As your night owl spouse lies there unable to sleep, resentment will grow. Additionally, night owls can't expect their early bird spouses to stay up way past their bedtime without being grouchy the next day.
  • Consider having a few minutes each evening to share your day, your thoughts, and your feelings with one another.
  • Agree to keep your bedroom free from television or computer usage.
  • Avoid stressful conversations at the end of the day.
  • Accept your early bird spouse's need to have quiet time before going to bed.
  • Find out if you can snuggle with your sleeping spouse. Some folks don't want to have their sleep disturbed while others would love a snuggle.
  • If you are an early bird believe and accept that staying up late doesn't mean your night owl spouse loves you any less.
  • Make the most of your "overlapping" hours together.
"Our marriage has been humming along this way for several decades now. THERE IS an overlapping period each day, from about 5:30 to 10:30 p.m., when we're both reasonably awake and alert, and that's when we converse with one another. Both of us have come to feel that, if you can't communicate in five hours, you probably can't do it in 10. Or 24."
Source: "Morning Larks, Night Owls can happily share a nest." Oakland Tribune. FindArticles.com 9/1/2005.

"If you're like us, you don't always go to bed at the same time-one of you is a night owl and the other an early riser. But this doesn't mean you have to sacrifice pillow talk. Just take a few minutes before the first one of you dozes off. Lie beside each other and talk or pray. Even if one of you stays awake into the wee hours, you'll at least have experienced that prime time of connection."
Source: Les and Leslie Parrott. Your Time-Starved Marriage. 2006.
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Please Note:
Seek help from your doctor if your inability to get a full night's sleep lasts for more than a month. You could have chronic insomnia or other health issues.

Seek help from a marriage counselor if one of you is feigning sleep or staying late up to avoid sex or to avoid talking and/or connecting with one another.

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