A recent survey found that 75 percent of people have different bedtimes than their partners. Opposites might attract, but some lifestyle differences can create tension over time. Sleep is one of them. If you and your partner have significantly different sleep schedules, this could lead to frustration and detract from your sleep quality. While you might not be able to avoid the staggered sleep times for a while due to work, a new baby, or other obligations, you don’t have to compromise your best night’s sleep or quality time together.
Instead, practice these restful habits for different sleep schedules in marriage and relationships.
- Sync Your Sleep Schedules When You Can
Sometimes you can’t avoid out-of-sync sleep. Couples where one or both work in a shift-work profession that affects their sleep, like medical care or manufacturing, don’t have a lot of say in when they work or sleep. But if your different sleep schedules diverge because of insomnia, discomfort, or media consumption, you can take more control of finding a solution.
Going to sleep at the same time doesn’t just avoid disruptions from one partner coming to bed. Studies have shown it also improves how people feel about their relationship and helps them wake up more rested. Prioritize going to bed at the same time. Falling asleep will take practice, and it is a great opportunity to address your sleep habits and other health issues that are keeping you from getting your best night’s sleep together.
- Treat Underlying Sleep Disorders
As you sync your sleep schedules as much as possible, you might find that one or both of you have a sleep disorder. Chronic snoring, sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, or stress and anxiety have profound effects on your sleep quality and quantity. They are also likely to disrupt your partner’s sleep. Together, identify potential sleep disorders and talk with your doctor about lifestyle changes and potential treatment plans.
You can often alleviate snoring and treat insomnia at home with helpful behavior shifts and improvements to your sleep environment. Seemingly small changes—like elevating your head with an adjustable bed base or turning off devices before bed—can make a noticeable change for couples on different sleep schedules.
- Adjust Your Mattress
Sometimes couples have different sleep schedules because their mattress isn’t meeting one or both of their needs anymore. You’ll want an adjustable mattress with individualized Comfort Control™ to personalize each side of the bed according to your changing support needs. Changes in your health, including pregnancy or an injury, might lead to a lack of comfort in your current bed. This can make some partners put off going to bed, or they might even sleep in a separate bed or on the sofa.
One of the main reasons you or your partner could be avoiding bed is that it doesn’t support proper spinal alignment. Misalignment can be caused by several health concerns, and if left uncorrected, poor alignment can lead to further discomfort. The level of support you need to maintain alignment can change, so it’s a good idea to make subtle adjustments regularly. Check your spinal alignment with the tips in our article about comfort and support, and adjust your mattress settings accordingly.
- Create a Disruption-Free Sleep Environment
When they can’t avoid different sleep schedules, couples can still create a sleep environment that promotes deep and restful sleep for both partners. No matter when your sleep schedule lets you “hit the hay,” these sleep-boosting tips will communicate to your body that it’s time to visit dreamland:
- Choose dim, warm light and black-out curtains
- Eliminate noises or use a white noise machine to soften loud sounds
- Take the television out of the bedroom and turn off devices that emit blue light
- Keep the night time temperature between 65 and 72 degrees
- Invest in high-quality bedding and an adjustable mattress.
Turning your shared bedroom into a restful space is only part of the process. When one of you goes to bed early, set up your partner for success. Make it easier for them to get into bed quietly by turning back their covers or turn on a small night light, so they can navigate the room. Little habits like this will make it easier for both partners to get to sleep without disrupting each other.
- Respect Each Other’s Sleep Schedule
No matter when you catch up on sleep, respect your different sleep schedules. You’ll both feel more loved and appreciated when your partner takes practical steps to help you get restful sleep. Try keeping noise in your home down during each other’s sleeping time. For example, don’t mow the lawn or vacuum while your partner is sleeping. Plan evening outings around their quiet time—maybe stick to happy hours instead of late dinners.
Keep in mind that the most regenerative sleep stage takes place before you’ve been snoozing for even 90 minutes. So, if you and your partner wake each other soon after falling asleep, you can limit your bodies’ ability to heal muscles and replenish energy for the next day. On the flip side, you’ll wake up refreshed and ready to take on the world together when you’re able to experience non-REM without interruption.
- Embrace Your Differences
Having a partner with a different sleep schedule can be an advantage. Maybe the one who wakes up earlier to enjoy the sunrise can also set out breakfast for their partner. Or perhaps the night owl in your relationship lets the dog out for a quick break before going to bed. Talk with each other about your sleep needs and how you each benefit from having different sleep schedules as a couple.
Grow your careers, be available for midday school events, or run errands. When you make space for each other to get restful sleep—at any time of day or night—you’ll both benefit. You may find that with some small changes in your habits, you’re actually happier with staggered sleep times.
- Wind Down Together
Changing your body’s internal clock is hard, and for some couples, complete alignment isn’t possible. When you do have time together to wind down, be fully present with each other. One of the main reasons couples benefit from going to bed at the same time doesn’t have to do with sleep at all. Simply setting aside the time to cuddle and talk about their day helps couples relax and strengthens their bond.
Set aside time before the first person goes to bed and get cozy. If work or other commitments keep you from narrowing the gap between your different sleep schedules, use this quiet time to relax and experience intimacy in the bedroom. If you are trying to synchronize your schedules, go through all your bedtime rituals at a similar time, like brushing your teeth. If you aren’t ready to fall asleep yet, don’t lie awake thinking about sleeping. That only adds to your insomnia. Instead, quietly leave the room and practice some relaxing habits such as meditation or reading a book.
Having different sleep schedules as couples can be frustrating and disruptive. But you and your partner can resolve or even embrace your differences with the right isense adjustable mattress and healthy sleep habits that bring you together.