In this post, husband and guest author, Jesse Clark, shares his personal journey of why sharing a bedtime is essential to your relationship.
The time is now 11 pm.
Your significant other is heading off to bed and gives you the “you better be coming with me” look.
Sure you’d love to join, but you’ve been waiting all day for some alone time to decompress from the day’s stresses.
Maybe it’s that last chapter of your book you’ve been waiting to read or the latest episode that just came out, but whatever it is you’re excited about this relaxing alone time.
You’re now left frantically debating whether staying up for your own enjoyment is worth missing out on those special moments shared in bed together… and the argument that is sure to follow.
This is a situation I’m all too familiar with.
Being married to a middle school math teacher, my wife and I have very different sleep schedules.
She is a true morning owl, going to bed early into the night so that she is up nice and early and ready to tackle the day.
I, on the other hand, tend to sleep in a bit, which also means I like to go to bed to sleep in a bit later into the night.
I cherish these late-night hours, and being the night owl that I am I feel that I do some of my best thinking during this time.
There are definitely times when I am extremely grateful she is up early (nothing like waking up to the smell of bacon), but I am also very much aware of just how important those moments we get to spend together talking in bed are.
Was I selfish for wanting to stay up so much later?
Was there something else I should be doing to make up for this?
Coming to fully grasp this problem left me with a bunch of questions to answer.
Is this normal?!
First things first, I wanted to know if this was “normal”.
After all, we couldn’t be the only couple with drastically different sleep schedules, right?
Well, it turns out that an estimated 75% of couples report suffering this problem, affecting everyone from millennials to Gen Xers alike.
Being that it affected so many people across different generations led me to believe that it may be more than just personal preferences of the “night owl” in every relationship.
A bit of quick google research showed that this issue does indeed run much deeper than just making the decision to stay up later, as we are all hardwired differently, each with our own independent biological clock.
Why It’s important – the positives of sharing a bedtime
So I knew this differing sleep schedule issue was a real thing, does it really matter?
The first thing to try to understand was why sharing a bedtime is so important.
You’re probably thinking “we spend all day together working from home, what’s the big deal about missing an hour or so in bed together?”
Well, the truth is that something special happens in those intimate moments shared in bed together (and we’re not just talking about those types of moments either).
It’s during this time that couples establish and maintain deep emotional connections.
This happens through activities like cuddling and pillow talk, which inspire feelings of love, satisfaction, and appreciation.
You’re most likely to have important conversations around topics such as relationships, family/friends, work, and the future while you’re disconnected from your devices and the stresses of the day.
Not going to Bed Together – the Consequences
But on top of all the benefits, you are also actively doing damage to your relationship by missing out on these moments.
Skipping this time shared together in bed will likely lead to a rise in arguments, as it’s during this time when you are likely to have the deep conversations that keep you close and can help avoid and work through the inevitable problems that will arise between couples.
Studies suggest that a “silent drift” starts to happen 3.5 years into a relationship, which coincides with the same time couples tend to stop going to sleep together.
While there are other ways to regain this intimacy, such as setting aside other uninterrupted times during the day, going to bed together is by far the easiest and most effective solution.
So what can you do about this?
With the internet seemingly in agreement (words you don’t see every day) that going to bed together is essential to relationships, what can you do if this doesn’t come naturally?
How can you strike that perfect balance between getting to enjoy your own time, yet not losing out on this crucial part of nurturing relationships?
Here are a couple of suggestions that we found work best:
Compromise by adjusting your schedule to go to bed together a few nights per week.
Consider activities such as reading or going on your computer in bed for those nights you’re not ready to go to sleep.
Just make sure you’re cognizant of the light being emitted and that’s it not disturbing your partner’s sleep.
Lay with your partner until they fall asleep and then get up and go to the other room.
Just be careful with this as the noise created by you getting in and out of bed could disturb your partner.
Find other times during the day to form these special connections.
This requires finding moments where you can be alone in a remote and comfortable environment, without any distractions or stresses from the day.
Coming up with the right method to work around the issue of differing bedtimes should involve a conversation between you and your partner.
These are just a couple of widely (and personally) used solutions, but there are many ways to make this work.
Whatever you choose to go with, the important thing to remember is that by sharing these intimate moments together, you are laying the foundation for a strong and healthy relationship.