There are two camps when it comes to sleep habits: the early birds and the night owls. Depending on which camp you are in, you may be more productive or successful during the day.
While history loves to teach those early risers are those who have more favor, in reality, sleep cycles depend largely on genetics. When it comes to married couples, those with different sleep schedules can actually cause a strain on the marriage.
Marriage Counseling: Exploring Couples with Different Sleep Habits
Married But Sleeping Separately
Most adults will maintain their own bedtimes which generally fall within a close time period of their spouse. However, what about married couples who have drastically different sleep habits? Waking up ahead of your partner or having to sneak in the room to sleep late at night on a regular basis can be difficult or even harm to the relationship. Sleep experts and marriage counselors spoke with over 1,000 couples to get a better understanding of their sleeping habits, evening rituals, and their decision to on separate schedules or even to sleep in separate rooms.
Separate Sleep Habits
When you spend enough time married to someone, you will notice that vast amount of similarities and differences you both share. As in most long term relationships, married couples tend to pick up each other quirks and personality traits over time. Food preferences, speech patterns, and even political views are common things that get shared between married couples. One thing that tends to never change however is sleep patterns.
Of those polled, 60% admitted to falling asleep at a different time than their spouse. While older couples had few conflicts with drastically different bedtimes, those in the younger crowd found that it sometimes led to some variation of interpersonal conflicts. When it comes to adapting, women were more likely to adapt to their partner’s schedule than men.
What Determines A Sleep Schedule
Sleep patterns are made depending on a person’s age, their environment, their health, and their recent amounts of sleep or wakefulness. In addition, behaviors prior to sleep such as stress or exercise also play a big role in determining a person’s sleep schedule. The biggest factor in a person’s sleep schedule is their individual internal clock and the time of the day or night relative to that. All humans need between six and eight hours per sleep a day in order to function optimally, however, when that sleep is obtained is not the same for everyone. Some people function better when they sleep during the day while others are more effective when they sleep during the night time hours.
Sleep & Productivity
Work is often one of the main causes of differing sleep schedules in a household. One spouse may work long hours and start early while the other starts later in the day. The result will be a spouse who seeks to turn in earlier while the other may have the energy to stay up later. Overall, couples who sleep at the same time tend to have lower stress levels and are more productive during the day than those who have different sleep schedules but share a room. Couples with different schedules that slept in different rooms also showed a higher level of productivity, but a lower level of intimacy in their relationship. Sleeping together allows couples to cuddle and chat which helps boost feel-good hormones in the brain. This relieves pain, improves the immune system, and allows for a deeper emotional bond.
Meeting in The Middle With Sleep Schedules
Married couples who sleep on different schedules can find it difficult to find a balance. Disturbing your partner as they are falling asleep or waking them up earlier than planned can be harder than you think. The same goes for keeping an early sleeper awake at night. On paper, it makes sense to try to sync your schedules, but in reality, it is not actually that easy. Women are more amiable to adjusting their schedule, however, men prefer to stick to their own routine. If couples are unable to meet in the middle, it results in two under-rested and overstressed adults. It is important to take into account each spouse’s reason for their sleep schedule, their genetics, and also their regular activities when considering how to best accommodate drastically different sleep schedules.
SAGE Counseling Omaha
At SAGE Counseling Omaha, our primary focus is on helping you to get the support and treatment that you need as you move forward. We all experience challenges that are often too difficult to work through on their own, and we are here to support you during these tough times.
When you connect with our compassionate counseling team, you can rest assured that you will receive the individualized care that you need. Contact us today. For approved clients, we are able to utilize telehealth services through our HIPAA compliant virtual software.