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Ideal Bedroom Set-Up for Partners with Separate Sleep Schedules

woman opening bedroom curtains looking out open window

woman opening bedroom curtains looking out open window

We can break most sleepers in this world into two categories: early birds and night owls.

Early Birds

Early birds often precede the sunrise, popping awake at a time most of us would still consider night. They fling back the covers joyfully, engage in some early morning exercise (whether physical or mental), and are already breakfasted, showered, and mid-way through a project before the rest of the household wakes up. Depending on who you ask, they're either the best thing or worst thing ever.

Night Owls

Only after the sun sets do night owls begin to come alive. After a late dinner, they like to settle in with TV, reading, hobbies, or social time. While others are yawning, they're planning their summer vacations, tootling around on Facebook, and finally getting a head start on cleaning out that closet at the end of the hall. Depending on who you ask, they're either the best thing or worst thing ever.


Another thing that's either the worst or best according to who you ask? When early birds and night owls get together as romantic partners. Whether because of natural dispositions, works schedules, or some other matter, they find themselves sleeping and waking at vastly different times. 

Some couples make it work. They use the staggered bed/wake-up times to give the relationship breathing room and allow time for separate hobbies and personal development. Other couples find themselves struggling to stay connected when they're on totally different schedules. 

It's not an option for one or the other to change to accommodate the other, however. When it comes to primary sleep cycles, our bodies set the rhythm more than our wills.

Right from birth, our personal biological clocks are already wound. Genetics establishes a person's "chronotype," which is pegged to when his or her body feels up and at 'em.

"People span the range of those who are very early risers to very late setters, and this is genetically determined," said Frederick Brown, a professor of psychology at Penn State.

To a certain extent, behavior and environment — say, routinely pumping iron in a well-lit gym toward midnight — can shift our built-in predispositions. But for those of us squarely in one chronotype camp or the other, in the end, the body is the boss. (LiveScience)

Though choices we make during different phases of life may make temporary alterations, our early bird or night owl tendencies tend to come with our DNA. 

Since changing your partner isn't an option, your best bet is to change other aspects of your life to make your situation as manageable as possible.

A straightforward solution is to evaluate the set-up of your bedroom. Simple changes can help you and your partner accommodate your different sleeping schedules. 

Build a Mini Lounge Area

One of the most essential steps is to consider creating a mini lounge area in your bedroom. That way, if your partner wants to sleep while you sit up and read, you have options other than reading in bed (which might keep your partner awake) or going to another room (which will make you feel disconnected).

Instead, with a mini lounge area in your bedroom, you can kick back in a comfortable chair or curl up on a love seat under a low light just a few feet from your partner. While not all bedrooms have the right square footage to handle this, many couples have found this solution helpful. 

If you're having trouble picturing how this might work, take some time to browse this gallery. In it, you will see how a variety of spaces (and let's just say it, budgets) work this plan out.

Install Screens 

When we say screens these days, we know what everyone's thinking. But no, we're not talking about computers, tablets, and phones — not this time.

We're talking about floor screens — the collapsing, foldable room dividers.

These lightweight, freestanding furniture pieces are made of a series of hinged panels and run the gamut from functional to fancy. Though floor screens are often used these days decoratively, they can likewise serve convenient purposes. 

Here are some ways screens can be used to keep the peace for couples on separate sleep schedules:

  • Putting the bed behind a screen can shield the sleeper from the partner's early-morning or late-night rustling around the room.
  • Setting up a screen around the desk, computer table, or any other area that would create a glow would allow one partner to work while the other stays asleep.
  • Keeping a screen folded against the wall but ready to pull out when and wherever needed, provides couples with a variety of options.

 For tips and tricks on the effective use of screens to divide your room, see here.

Invest in Sleep Accouterments 

Soft music, sleep masks, aromatherapy, earplugs, weighted blanks, specialty pillows, and white noise machines.

While some would recommend these to combat insomnia, they're also useful tools for living with a partner who sleeps on a different schedule. While not all of them work for everyone, at least one item from that list may be your solution to dealing with a noisy, restless, or otherwise inconveniently awake partner. 

While your partner is up prowling around at all hours, you can curl up and rest easy. 

We Can Help

The most practical way we can help is to remind you that we here at Nest Bedding provide the highest quality mattresses at the best possible prices. And while we can't do much to get you and your partner on the same sleep cycles, we can help ensure that whenever you do get into bed, your rest is as cozy and comfortable as possible.

If you would like to hear more about our premium mattresses, or if you have questions or comments about anything else, please feel free to contact us at any time.

You can also feel free to stop by one of our showrooms, where our friendly (but not pushy) staff would be happy to help in any way they can.

We look forward to serving you!

See you soon.