Sunday, October 2, 2022


Hubby is a night owl, wife is an early riser. Different sleep schedules hard to manage in RV

“Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” Or so the saying goes. But what happens when your hubby is the night owl and you are the early riser? Or the reverse? And what happens when the two of you try to navigate your different sleep rhythms while living in a 34-foot RV, or even less square footage? Yipes!

Why a night owl or early riser?

What causes one person to be an early riser and another a night owl? It’s our chronotype. Our chronotype is how our bodies react to different times of the day. Three types of chronotypes have been identified and generally accepted: morning, day, and night. Here’s more:

  • Morning chronotypes are early birds. They awake early (sometimes without an alarm) and are most productive during the morning hours, but cannot stay awake for the ten o’clock news.
  • Folks with a day chronotype, sleep in a bit later than early birds, but are most productive during the afternoon hours.
  • Night chronotypes sleep much later into the day, and are most productive late into the night and even the very early morning hours.

As we age, our chronotype typically changes. Toddlers and young children usually get up early, while teens enjoy sleeping in and can function well into the late-night hours. Older adults tend to reverse back to a day or morning chronotype pattern.

Early birds are healthier than night owls

Studies have found that early birds are usually healthier than late owls. The reason? Early birds tend to get more exercise during their awake time. Night owls tend to be more sedentary, and need to make a special effort to make sure they get adequate movement into their day.

So, now you know. But so what?! I’m confident that I’m a morning chronotype and I’m equally sure that Hubby is a night chronotype, but now what? Do I tiptoe around the RV hoping not to wake him while I’m feeling energetic and ready to take on the day? Do I attempt to stay up late so we can share time and activities together once the sun sets? Maybe he should change. After all, it’s difficult to hike in the dark. Ditto for admiring the amazing scenery as we travel. Maybe we should just compromise: both of us try shifting to middle ground: day chronotype.

If you try to adjust your chronotype, take it slow. Wake/sleep patterns take time to change. Move your bedtime no more than 30 minutes. That means I’ll try to stay up 30 minutes longer before going to bed. Hubby will adjust his bedtime to 30 minutes sooner. Light therapy may help me stay awake longer and help Hubby wake up earlier in the morning. We’ll need to cut back (or eliminate) caffeine, naps, and alcohol. All-natural melatonin may help Hubby fall asleep sooner, too. Eventually, we’ll end up with wake/sleep patterns that are more in sync. Maybe. I hope, anyway!

How about you? Do you share the same chronotype as your travel buddy? If not, what adaptations have you made?


What to do about conflicting sleep schedules in “small” RV?
Don’t skimp on sleep! Tips to get better sleep in your RV



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Alexis Cox
11 months ago

Yippee on the Goodbye “Facebook”.

Diane Mc
11 months ago

We are lucky. We both go to bed at same time. Sometimes I stay up and read a bit and sometimes my husband does. We both wake up around the same time, somewhere between 6:30 and 7.

11 months ago

I know many early risers with more health problems than me who is a night owl. My husband was early to bed early to rise – he died a year ago. Never caused a problem. He could make noise but I slept through it. I guess it comes from growing up on a farm when my dad would often be making noise outside my bedroom which I learned to sleep through. I also worked jobs graveyard. I had no problem sleeping through the noise of kids, tv, etc.

11 months ago

We are extremely lucky because we have a king bed, 2 couches and love seat recliners. Many choices to choose from and kitchen is in the middle. Keurig coffee maker so putting in pod requires no noise. Mike is in bed by midnight and up at 5 am with a couple of naps. I’m usually in bed by 2 and up by 9. No naps.

Susan Smith
11 months ago

My hubby goes to bed at least by 10 p.m. and gets up around 5-5:30 a.m., and I stay up until 11-11:30 p.m. and get up around 6-6:30 a.m. We’ve been full-time stationary in our 26′ RV for a year, and it took us a few months to figure out the best way for each of us to get a good night’s sleep. My hubby sleeps on the full bed in back as it’s closer to the bathroom which he has to get up and use several times in the night, and he’s further from the big AC unit in the ceiling (AC can give him headaches) in the summer. I sleep on a twin mattress placed on plywood where our table and bench seats would be so that I can put a small sturdy TV tray up to hold my CPAP machine (no room in back as the full bed is up against 3 walls), and I have more access to the AC. When he gets up he keeps the lights low and spends time reading his Bible. Neither of us drinks coffee so no worries about that. Having been married for 40 years, we have learned to compromise in order to get a good night’s sleep.

11 months ago

My wife used to be a night owl, but with gentle prodding, she has adapted to the “early to bed, early to rise” routine, & now enjoys it. But when we worked as oilfield gate guards, from our rv, a few years ago, she worked the 12 hour night shift, & I worked the 12 hour day shift.

Alaska Traveler
11 months ago

Hubbs is the early riser. We hit the bed together at 9-10. He is able to go right to sleep. I read then fall asleep between 12 and 1. He wakes between 5 and 6. Depending on the schedule, I either get up with him or sleep till 8ish. I never nap but he requires one. I guess he’s healthier than me… so be it. This works for us.

11 months ago

I go to bed between 10 and 11 and up at 5. My wife is to bed by 10 and up between 7:30 and 8. I have my coffee and laptop ready to go the night before and don’t turn any lights on in the morn. It has worked for 53 years so probably not gonna change.

11 months ago

I am up at 5:00 AM every morning. Sometimes earlier! Husband needs, absolutely NEEDS to sleep in or there will be one grouchy bear in the RV all day long. No change in our future. While not tiptoeing around in the AM, I get the coffee ready at night, make sure I have computer or iPad at the ready, use headphones, keep the lights to a minimum and am glad we have a pocket door to close.

11 months ago
Reply to  Nanci

Sounds like our place! While in camp, I’m a reader so use my morning 6:30-9:30 to read. He watches TV until 1 am and this gives us both private time to enjoy our hobbies. Traveling, we both get up earlier and hit the road.

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