Rosie Green: Are our early nights cause for alarm?

‘Can we ask them to leave by 9pm?’

The boyfriend is wondering whether it’s acceptable to ask this of our dinner guests.

I tell him that it is possibly (absolutely definitely) not socially acceptable. He sighs and concurs. The boyfriend, you see, is a morning person, a lark.

He likes lights out by 10pm and is wide awake at 5am, working on documents by 6am then firing out emails that land before 7am.

rosie green
Image: David Venni

I’m similar. I bounce out of bed like Tigger, firing on all cylinders. I have to hold off messaging people pre-6am as I recognise that most normal people are still in REM at that time.

I often think I’d be a good person to have in the army, as I’d be cognitively alert in a dawn raid. (Not so good at the other stuff though, like taking orders, fighting or wearing those fatigues ‒ very unflattering on the hips.)

But the flipside is that come dusk I’m incapable of stringing a sentence together, let alone having a deep and meaningful conversation. And I’m tetchy, too.

At parties I’m like a wind-up toy, absolutely wild until about 9pm. I’m never that person who stays up until the small hours chewing the fat. Nope ‒ I’ve gone to bed and have the earplugs firmly wedged in.

It’s different to be in a relationship with someone with the same circadian rhythm as me. We shoot the breeze at the crack of dawn and feel amorous at similar times.

My ex was the opposite ‒ a proper night owl. In the evening he would stay up to watch the end of a movie even if it went on way past bedtime. Imagine!

Naturally, he would be the last to leave a party. At midnight I would be giving him the nod from a corner of the room – a nonverbal five-minute warning, like the fun police ‒ while he was desperate to stay just that bit longer.

This made me, and no doubt him frustrated, as although I wanted to be a party animal, at that hour my body and brain craved sleep like a Love Islander does attention.

Back home in bed I would be begging him to turn out the lights while he wanted to get to the end of his chapter.

Our differing body clocks were not conducive to sex, as he would be up for it when I was exhausted and vice versa.

There were other friction points. Nothing would wake him in the early hours. Not storms. Not neighbours’ parties. Not noises that could possibly be intruders (but were, in fact, the wind). And not crying babies (his own).

I was often wide awake at 6am, thinking of all the jobs we/he needed to do. Then, when he opened his eyes a few hours later (which may or may not have been triggered by an ‘accidental’ loud noise… ahem), I would have a to-do list of ‘actions’ ready for him.

Is it any wonder that our relationship didn’t go the distance?

Which makes me wonder how much impact your circadian rhythm might have on the success of your relationship. While it’s good that my boyfriend and I are matching, we have to be careful as there’s no counterbalance to our mutual early-bird tendencies.

If we don’t watch it we’ll end up eating dinner at the same time as toddlers, or prisoners, or going to bed before it’s dark.

We could find ourselves turning down invitations if the start time is too late. And yes, imposing unreasonable curfews on our guests.

We could end up friendless. It’s a real concern.

So, on that front, how about you come round for dinner?

Is 5pm OK?

@lifesrosie

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