When two people with opposite sleep patterns marry, rules of the game must be established.
The night-owl will be slow to wake. And when he does the early-riser must avoid pelting him with questions. Even though she has been up for hours! And has great things to share with him! Has he seen this photo? Does he want to go to this dinner party on Saturday? Would he like a cup of tea? Has he seen what a beautiful day it is outside?!
These are the types of things she should avoid shouting at him when he first emerges from the bedroom. She has learned she should only begin conversing once he starts muttering his disapproval as he reads the morning news.
This is the “go” sign.
And likewise, the night-owl must not fret when the early-riser gets more and more quiet as the night progresses. She’s not brooding. She’s just slowing down. And she has no problem with him staying out until dawn, but please don’t expect this of her on a frequent basis.
But beyond these rules, there are great benefits to marrying someone with a different sleep pattern. Say you’ve chosen to remodel during a spring with exceptionally late rains. And you’re living under a temporary roof that leaks here and there. It needs constant monitoring.
This is when it is very good to have a household that rarely overlaps in sleep. The night-owl can cover the midnight to 5am shift. The early-riser can take over after that.
They’ll pass on the stairs. One heading to bed. The other toward the pots and pans filling with rainwater.
Both quite glad they married someone very different from themselves.
Amy John Headley is a landscape designer based in San Francisco.