It’s bedtime and your partner is nowhere to be found!
You are getting sleepier and sleepier and yet you are alone in bed, maybe the dog is next to you (or the cat is under the covers) but it’s kind of weird and lonely when you are going to bed by yourself, especially when the person you want near you, isn’t!
So, what is a healthy sleeper to do?
8 Things You Can Do If You And Your Bedpartner Do Not Go to Bed At The Same Time.
1 – Know Your Chronotype. What’s a Chronotype? This is your biological schedule that tells your brain when to wake up and when to sleep (among about a million other things), many people call these things like Early Bird or Night Owl. You and your bed partner may not have similar Chronotypes, if you want to find out check out my Chronotype Quiz.
If you are an early bird (what I call a Lion) and your partner is a Night Owl (what I call a Wolf) then you may have a few issues to sort out. The reason is this:
Your BIOLOGY is different.
Yes, this is a GENETIC thing you will want to explore. If you now know your Chronotype, and it is different than your partner’s, what can you do about it? There are more than the two chronotypes mentioned above and my quiz will help you identify your personal chronotype and give you the answers you need. I also cover when to do when you and your partner have different chronotypes in my book The Power of When. I encourage you to read it, many people have told me how much it helped to understand the difference in their own and their partner’s sleeping types and what to do.
2 – Hang out together anyway. Consider having the person who likes to stay up later hang out in bed next to the person who wants to sleep early. A few suggestions if you are the late-night person:
- Stay on top of the covers, that way when you get out it is less disruptive.
- Keep an animal or pillow between you and that person, animals are great because they breathe like us and your partner can be comforted by them (be careful, you might get replaced). Use headphones if you are going to watch or listen to something on your tablet or phone (REMEMBER TO WEAR BLUE LIGHT BLOCKERS). Also turn down the brightness, or get a cover for the light.
- If you want to get up, wait until you are sure they are asleep for a good 10 minutes.
Use a book light if you want to read
3 – Try a weekly schedule. Weekends you both sleep together (to get some cuddle time), on weekdays you are both on your own, maybe one person goes to the guest room or couch if they want to stay up later.
4 – Make sure to spend “together time” earlier in the evening. After dinner, allow for a good 60 minutes of just talking through your day, and discussing anything necessary. Many people miss this part the most because they are used to doing it in bed, so finding time for it can decrease anxiety.
5 – It could be your Alarm Clock. Look into getting a silent vibrating personal alarm clock. There is nothing worse than your bedpartner waking up at the crack of dawn with an alarm and waking you up as well.
6 – Consider Sleep Gear. If you are the person who likes to go to bed earlier, consider your sleep gear: eyeshades, earplugs, a sound machine, these three things alone offer many of my patients great relief.
7 – Make sure your bed, is not making it worse. Many beds which are not too firm will cause excessive movement when a person gets up or lies down, which can be very disruptive.
8 – Stop the Snoring. Many people just snore and it simply keeps the entire house (or neighborhood up). If you or your partner snores, check out my Snore Type Quiz to learn what type of snorer you are next too, and some proven solutions!
Of course, if one person is not going to bed at the same time as the other because of a sleep disorder, then clearly your next step is to get evaluated! What could be the culprit:
Snoring and Sleep Apnea. This one can be very disruptive and dangerous. Get evaluated immediately if you suspect sleep apnea. Click the link above to learn more about the symptoms of sleep apnea and what to do if you think you have it.
Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) and Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD). this is when a person is either involuntarily moving their legs while they sleep, or before they go to bed, they have to shake their legs or move them constantly to get comfortable. This can be treated with supplements (a specific type of iron deficiency) or medications.
Insomnia. Of course, there are many different reasons why a person could have insomnia or just poor quality sleep. If you are interested in improving your sleep quality or fixing your insomnia without pills, check out my educational courses you won’t be disappointed.
This week I had the great fortune of being interviewed by a few different websites, here are a couple I thought you’d enjoy:
Wishing you all Sweet Dreams!
Michael J. Breus, PhD
The Sleep Doctor ™