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Morning person with night person
Old 07-03-2016, 12:46 AM   #1
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Morning person with night person

DH is a night owl while I like to go to sleep before 11 and am normally up by 7. He likes to sleep until 10 or 11. I've been able to deal with this while we both work but I'm worried this will be a conflict when we retire. He says he won't need to sleep as much once he isn't exhausted from work.

What has been your experience - if your spouse has a different time rythm and/or energy level, did you come closer together in retirement? Any strategies to deal with this?


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Old 07-03-2016, 01:07 AM   #2
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My wife also gets up at 10 or 11 a.m. I'm up by 6:00 a.m., and have to keep quiet.

It doesn't help that we're just about raising our grandchildren, and they suck the life out of us.

I sleep 5 hrs. max. at night, but get an afternoon siesta most afternoons.

Due to the difference in hours kept and since she watches completely different television (Tyler Perry shows), she has her end of the house and I have the other end.

And once someone retires, they sleep even more--for the most part. Because they can.
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Old 07-03-2016, 02:45 AM   #3
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I am the morning lark (awake before 6:00 a.m.) and my spouse is the night owl (sleeps until 11:00 or noon on weekends). It works well for us because it gives each of us "alone time" with plenty of "together time". We are both considerate of the other's chrono type, and we plan our noisier activities for when the other is awake.

Were you looking for specifics on how we manage the noise, or on how we get enough time together? We both work now, and our routine works for us on weekends, so I am not worried about retirement.

We have agreed on a "quiet" curfew (usually 10:00 a.m. is when I can start noisier activities, though I will negotiate an earlier time if I want to run noisy appliances at, say, 9:00 a.m. that weekend). We don't have a TV in the bedroom, and I prefer to watch less TV, so he watches all the shows I am not partial to after I've gone up to bed. I request he come to bed at my bedtime a couple of nights a week, and he'll usually wait until I've dropped off before going back downstairs to watch TV or play video games. If he's reading, he'll often read in bed. We are in a noisy urban area, so I wear eyeshades and soft ear plugs to sleep (I don't see his reading light).

My sewing machines are in the shed out back, so I can be productive and noisy out there without disturbing his sleep. The computers are in a separate room from the bedroom, and keyboard clacking and quiet music in there does not disrupt the sleeper (we wear headphones if we want more volume).

"Normal" noises (making meals, taking a shower, watching normal/low-volume TV) don't disturb the sleeper, so we don't have to just sit still or leave the house in our solo time.

In the beginning, I waited until he was awake to make noise and I felt hampered and like I wasted half the weekend in NOT doing things. (And, yes, resentful at his being asleep when I wanted us to be up and doing.). The 10:00 a.m. compromise was the key for us. Very rarely, he will be watching a movie/playing a vid game which has unending explosions, and I've gone down to ask him to turn it down.
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Old 07-03-2016, 04:15 AM   #4
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It's usually possible to use headphones with a TV or stereo. Plenty of wireless solutions available,
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Old 07-03-2016, 05:59 AM   #5
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I'm in bed by 10 most nights and up by 5, my DW prefers to stay up a bit later and sleep later. Morning time is my time to surf the internet, news, and computer time to work on designs for my CNC machine. We usually spend 30-45 minutes together most mornings with a cup of coffee and reading the news on the porch.

If you're only talking about a few hours a day to deal with, sounds like a great opportunity to pursue separate quiet interests. I actually sleep a bit less as I've gotten older and have been retired nearly 8 years. I can stay up late if there is a reason and our schedules aren't set in stone but our different sleep/wake patterns haven't been an issue for us.
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Old 07-03-2016, 06:15 AM   #6
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I was a night owl until I turned 30 then I did a 180. This time of year I like to sleep with the sun. I'm in bed by 9 most nights and up at 5 or 5:30A. When the sun starts rising after 6 then i'll wait to go to bed until closer to 10. I couldn't live with someone who was up until 2am and sleeping until 10am or later.
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Old 07-03-2016, 06:55 AM   #7
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On the comments of using the time in the mornings for "time alone" is what I do. Now my spouse is up by 8:00 usually and I could see where 10 to 11 every day could turn into issues also. We run a loud fan in our bedroom to kill some of the noise issues. This is a holdover from my rotating shift work days and she uses head phones for the television at night. This works for us and good luck.
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Old 07-03-2016, 07:19 AM   #8
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DW is in bed by 10 PM and up before 6 am. She naps in the afternoon.

I am up until 11:30+ PM and usually up and showered by 7 AM as I go to meet the ROMEO guys daily for coffee and conversation. I take no naps during the daylight hours.

She has to have the TV (multiple) on constantly and I prefer it (them) off. I guess we could fight/argue over this but it's not worth it. When she runs errands, I go around the house and shut them all off. (HA!) (I should hide the remotes, but that would not go over very well)
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Old 07-03-2016, 08:34 AM   #9
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I was a night owl until I turned 30 then I did a 180.
Same here, except that the switch occurred in my 50s.
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Old 07-03-2016, 08:58 AM   #10
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DH and I have similar "issues" as mentioned so far. He goes to bed early and gets up with the sun, I stay up until 11 ish and sleep until 7 or 8. He sneaks a nap some afternoons, I don't. He needs the tv on constantly for background noise, I prefer quiet or music.

The differences in sleep patterns provide us each with "alone time" each day. I don't know what he does early in the morning, but I use the time after he goes to bed to either read or watch a tv show that he doesn't care for.

The difference in our preferred daytime environment (quiet vs tv) provides us with an opportunity to practice compromise and tolerance 😬
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Old 07-03-2016, 09:29 AM   #11
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How do you work this out when you travel or are staying away from home? I sleep much better if I have an hour so quiet time reading in bed before I go to sleep. This is difficult to do on those situations and sometimes I just won't be able to drift off for a long time if I don't get the reading time in. One reason we like VRBO rentals so much!
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Old 07-03-2016, 09:44 AM   #12
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My husband is nocturnal. He comes to bed between 4AM - 5AM and sleeps at least until noon. I go to bed around 11PM and read until I'm ready to sleep, then up at 6:30AM to take the dog out, then back to bed until around 9AM.


Sometimes I am annoyed when he is still sleeping after 12PM because it makes it harder to get things done. But I remind myself that if I want it differently, I'm the one that needs to change. All I can control is me and what I do. And I love him so dearly that the annoyance is very temporary.
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Old 07-03-2016, 09:56 AM   #13
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Thanks to you all for the responses. Noise management is not an issue for us. Neither of us watches much TV and he is very considerate about using headphones. My concern was about spending time together once we're retired. I like the 10 am compromise idea! Sounds like most of you have worked something out that keeps you happy together. Very encouraging.


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Old 07-03-2016, 10:05 AM   #14
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What has been your experience - if your spouse has a different time rythm and/or energy level, did you come closer together in retirement? Any strategies to deal with this?
This is not a big deal for us.

Since the beginning DW and I have had slightly different wake / sleep cycles. At first I stayed up later and got up earlier (and was always sleep deprived). Now she stays up later and I get up earlier. Doesn't matter, because after I stopped working the amount of time we spend together increase by at least 10X. Besides, in our "solo time" we both do the same thing - internet.
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Old 07-03-2016, 10:10 AM   #15
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We aren't married, but this is our 17th year together and I bought the house next door to him last year. So I suppose we might as well be.

Anyway, he always worked swing shift before we retired, and in retirement he still keeps those hours. I keep more normal hours I suppose.

We spend time together in the afternoons and early evening, when we are both awake.

When one of us is awake and the other is sleeping, we enjoy our "alone time" and pursue hobbies, get things done around the house, and so on. Since noise is not an issue, I think this will be easy for you two to work out.

I think this probably works out better for us than if we slept the same hours, because we aren't totally "joined at the hip" when we are awake. We have the time and opportunity to pursue solitary activities and interests, which in turn gives us something new and different to talk about when we are together.
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Old 07-03-2016, 02:44 PM   #16
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For a minute, I thought that my DW was posting on ER!!

Anyway, before I retired, that was pretty much my schedule *everyday* (up late, LATE, LATE! and sleep until 10 and yes, I had "super-maxi-flex hours") and my DW was up at 6:30.

Now that I am retired, I tend to go to bed and get up with her schedule. I have NEVER fancied myself as a morning person, but in retirement, I have grown to really enjoy them. I would say now that I might sleep to 10 about once every couple of weeks. So, I think when you retire, your schedules will sync.
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Old 07-03-2016, 02:59 PM   #17
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She's the morning person, I'm the night owl. It's been that way since day one. We've had no issues with it, when the occasion calls for it I'll set an alarm clock (which in retirement is very rare) and if needed she'll go to a family gathering that lasts past her bedtime. I'll drive home in that case because she's asleep in the car within 15 minutes.

The house is large enough that each has enough room for solitary activities without disturbing the other. It helps that neither of us is inherently noisy anyway and if something is going to be noisy we'll just wait until the other is awake too.
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Old 07-03-2016, 06:11 PM   #18
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This is not a big deal for us.

Since the beginning DW and I have had slightly different wake / sleep cycles. At first I stayed up later and got up earlier (and was always sleep deprived). Now she stays up later and I get up earlier. Doesn't matter, because after I stopped working the amount of time we spend together increase by at least 10X. Besides, in our "solo time" we both do the same thing - internet.
That has been our experience too. We are usually in sync with sleep and wake times (go to sleep around 1-2 am now that it's summer; wake up 8 or 10 am). If one of us goes to bed early then that person might get up earlier than 8 and makes the best effort to not wake the other. It's usually DW getting up earlier.

Occasionally during the school year when I wake up at 7:30 to walk the kids to school, I'll do quiet stuff for an hour or so until DW wakes up. Nice time for reading a book, sipping coffee, internet time, quiet TV or computer games, etc.

Otherwise, we have the hours from 10 am till midnight every day with generally very few scheduled activities in between. We have more than enough time together, and don't mind the occasional block of time apart.
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Old 07-04-2016, 02:43 AM   #19
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I am the late sleeper and DH gets up early. Years ago, we recognized we have different sleep cycle needs. DH goes to bed early (usually at least 4 hours before I do). He then gets up several hours earlier than I do. It really isn't an issue.

The only problem occasionally is that I am a light sleeper and if DH has been asleep for hours when I came to bed he can be noisy and I may ask him to turn over. Rarely, I will ask him to go sleep in the other room if he is keeping me awake (yes, I've offered for me to go to the other room but he prefers that he do it).
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Old 07-04-2016, 06:55 AM   #20
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This is indeed a common pattern. DH stays up late, gets up late. I am the opposite. Unfortunately, if he comes to bed after 3, I wake up and I'm usually up for the day, but will need a nap. This gives us our alone time as many people here have stated.


The biggest problem with night owls is travel. A night owl HAS to be willing to change their schedule to get the most out of travel experiences. Shore excursions on cruises typically start at 8AM. Road trips are more relaxed if they begin early in the day. Unfortunately, this puts a burden on the morning person to get the night owl moving earlier than their usual time.

Our driving trip through Iceland was less stressful for me than most travel with DH, since it was never night anyway! But he still had to get moving in time for breakfast.

My biggest issue with living with a night owl is that I have become DH's human alarm clock.😐

If anyone here has solutions to that problem, please share.


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