Some of us are morning people. We generally wake up easily in the morning, often with plenty of energy. But staying up late at night is hard for us. Some of us are night people. We like staying up late and generally have plenty of energy at night. But for those of us who are night people mornings are hard. We often have trouble getting up early and may not be happy or energized for hours in the morning.
When a morning person and a night person pair up, as much as they enjoy each other and want to be together, their differences can create trouble. At night the morning person may want to go to bed early and not be in the mood for conversation. Whereas the night person may be eager to stay up late and eager for conversation. In the morning, the morning person's being awake, busy around the house, and being cheerful may annoy the night person, who either wants to sleep later or is awake but wants peace and quiet.
The Early Days of a Relationship
Two people may not realize that they are different in these ways when they first get together, or if they are aware of the difference they may not realize how much the difference could be a problem. When they first get to know each other, the morning person may often go out at night with the night person because that is when their schedules allow them time to get to know each other and because the night person is interesting and attractive. And in the rush of early sexual play, they may both be glad to spend evening and morning time embracing. As part of that, they probably both are glad to go to bed and wake up at the same time relatively often. But as a relationship becomes long term, the fact that one is a PM person and one is an AM person could create challenges.
When Can We Talk?
At night a morning person is often too sleepy to be good at conversation. So holding off on a conversation until later at night, even if it makes sense in terms of chores being done and privacy from children or others who share the residence, might not work. Similarly, having a conversation in the morning might be very hard for a night person, who will need more time to get the brain working and be comfortable talking, listening, and maybe even thinking. Still, a lot of couples in which one partner is an AM person and one is a PM person are able to converse in bed later at night or early in the morning. It helps some of those couples to keep those night time conversations brief. They might, for example, only agree on what the issues are or a framework for solving a problem, and then they make an appointment to talk during the day.
When Will We Be Awake Together in Bed?
For many couples in which one partner is a morning person and one a night person, both partners are okay much of the time with going to bed and getting up at different times. But sometimes they want to go to bed or wake up at the same time. They might want to cuddle. They might want to have sex together. They might have any number of reasons to go to bed together or wake up together. What can they do? Some couples make appointments. For example, the question, "Should we go to bed together at 10?" can be taken as an expression of interest in having sex together. Some couples have a routine of going to bed together, for cuddling, conversation, sex, etc., and then later on, the night person gets out of bed and goes about being a busy night person. Similarly, some couples cuddle, talk, or have sex in the morning, and after a while the morning person gets up to be busily a morning person while the night person dozes for a while.
How Can I Sleep When You Are Awake and So Busy?
How can the morning person's sleep not be interrupted by the night person's activities around the house and then making noise and jostling the bed when coming to bed? It can be partly a matter of the AM person habituating to what the night person does, like habituating to the sounds of the heating system and to traffic outside. It also can be a matter of the night person learning to be more quiet at night and more careful when going to bed. Similarly, a night person can become habituated to sleeping through the activity and sounds in the morning of the morning-person partner. And the morning person partner can learn to be more gentle and quiet in what she or he does in the morning while the night person partner is still dozing.
Is It OK to Be Different?
The question arises in some couples about whether it is okay to be so different about going to bed and waking up. The difference may be frustrating, but it has advantages. For example, one gets some privacy and quiet time to think, read, watch one wants to watch on TV, deal with e-mail, etc. Also, couples do best with a balance of togetherness and apartness. Too much togetherness can be smothering. And so if one partner is an AM person and one is a PM person, the two may be able to have a healthy amount of apartness.