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Beep sleepers: Is the incessant drone of your partner’s alarm clock destroying your sleep?

by Erin Lindsay
11th Mar 2020

Are you a beep sleeper or a jump starter in the mornings? Alarm clocks can be the make or break of a relationship (at least in the mornings)

Waking up in the morning is a concept that fills me with rage. That reads like an extreme statement but I promise it’s accurate. I am not a morning person —  I like to be lulled from sleep in a gentle manner, preferably waking up naturally, and to remain undisturbed by other human life until at least two hours into the day. I don’t do morning runs, morning singsongs, I really don’t do morning enthusiasm of any kind.

In saying all of the above, I am not a snoozer — that is, I’m not one of those people who set 10 alarms 10 minutes apart and let them all ring through before getting up. So visceral is my hate for getting up in the morning that I would do anything rather than prolong it — I set my alarm for as late as possible, but when it goes off, that’s it.

This kind of body clock is very well suited to a single person, who has free reign over their morning routines, but when you are in a couple, the lines are blurred. My boyfriend is great, wonderful, lovely etc. but he is a chirpy morning person. There have been many 3 am starts to head to the airport for a holiday where I’ve considered if the number of years I’d get for murder were worth shutting his chirpiness up — it’s been close, but lucky for him, we haven’t gone that far.

Thankfully, we’ve been together long enough now that we’ve reached a level of truce when it comes to mornings — he does his best not to bother me (read: speak or look at me) in the mornings, and when he is cracking jokes before breakfast, I’ve softened enough to allow myself the occasional laugh. But there’s one factor that still divides us — he’s a snoozer.

And apparently, we are not alone in this issue. A recent thread on Twitter calling married couples to divulge their ‘stupid recurring’ fights to the social media masses made for hilarious and infuriating reading, and one particular reply caught my eye:

Fifteen years of snooze alarms. I couldn’t bear it. And the replies were full of equally desperate voices: “This. Drives. Me. Batshit”; “I wanna donkey kick him out of the bed!”; “Feel your pain”. Seas of sleep-deprived spouses echoed Rebecca’s woes, and I couldn’t believe that so many people were dealing with sleep incompatibility.


Yep, sleep incompatibility. It is a thing. From science.

According to the National Sleep Foundation in the U.S, three out of four adults wake frequently during the night, and this affects their energy levels throughout the next day. And the culprit? Their partner’s sleep habits. Sleep incompatibility covers a range of sleep issues, like snoring, tossing and turning, even body temperature, and unfortunately, increases with age.

There is a range of solutions that WebMD suggests — sleeping apart, and conquering the cause of snoring are popular. But can your alarm habits really be a factor in how compatible you are?

Despite the rage, the sea of Twitter replies were quietly putting up with their spouses’ head-wrecking alarm snoozes — love really is stronger than anything (even a good night’s sleep). For myself and my boyfriend, we’ve found an easy solution — I start work an hour before he does, so I’m out the door before his snoozing ways can start to annoy me.

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