While You Were Sleeping: How to Navigate a Partner with an Opposite Sleep Schedule



I am an early bird who is dating a night owl. I used to lose sleep over this, but recently I figured out how to make it work.

My boyfriend is a full-time musician which requires a lot of late night shows until 2am with breakdown and commute to follow. He has to be awake and alert while a lot of us are in full REM sleep. Before I met him I was in the corporate world and had a very different schedule that required early rise times.

While I don’t have to wake up before the sun now, I find that the early hours of the day are my most productive and sleeping until 10 or 11am makes me feel like a slug.

What it comes down to are priorities and boundaries.

My Health Comes First – In order to operate at my best I need to get at least seven hours. If that means going to sleep before a movie or show is over, so be it. I used to operate with five and made it about 3 days, before I crashed. I used to think that more time with someone meant that it was better, but it’s the quality of the time that really matters. If I’m cranky or tired, it’s not quality time.

My Clients and Business Come Second – My schedule fluctuates with sessions on a daily basis, so it’s super important that I know what’s coming up. If he’s still sleeping, I’ll work on my phone or grab my laptop and write from bed. Thankfully my dog and boyfriend sleep through the key strokes.

It’s Ok to Say No -  If I’m feeling tired or worn out, it’s okay to stay home. Yes, I have flare ups of FOMO, but those feelings pass after a good night of sleep.

Schedule Snuggle Time – Weekend mornings are best for this when there isn’t anything on the schedule until 6pm. You can totally bank your snuggle time, so stay in bed as long as possible.

Arrive Back to Bed with Coffee – If you’ve been up and working, your partner will appreciate a snack or warm beverage upon wake up. (That sounds so 1950s, but it’s true). Even if you’re on your third cup, share the caffeine and gratitude for the quiet time.


Do you have a partner with an opposite sleep schedule? How do you manage?