Our relationship is great — except our sleeping preferences are totally incompatible

Dear Wayne and Wanda,

I have been dating “Jeff” for a couple months and we recently decided to be exclusive and see where this goes. I really like him — I see a lot of potential here. Except there’s one huge problem and I don’t know what to do about it. We are totally incompatible when it comes to sleeping.

I like cool temps, lots of blankets, and if I need to get up at a certain time, I set one alarm, because once I’m up, I’m up, and I won’t fall back to sleep. I’ve also always been a very still and quiet sleeper — once I’m down, I’m out for the count, I don’t toss and turn.

Well, Jeff is pretty much the opposite of all of this. He doesn’t like “heavy” blankets so he prefers a warmer room. Every time he’s slept over, he’s set an alarm and hit snooze multiple times. This makes me totally crazy. Why would you set an alarm and wake yourself up if you don’t actually have to be up and can apparently still lie in bed for multiple rounds of the snooze button?! Also he is a super restless sleeper and also way into cuddling, and I have never ever been comfortable sleeping with another person touching me.

I did mention the snooze button thing to Jeff — I basically said I’d prefer to not hear an alarm until I need to get up. He said he’s always been a heavy sleeper and snooze helps him “slowly waken.” Ugh.

Everything else about Jeff is good. It’s just these sleepovers are killing me. Advice on how to handle this?

Wanda says:


I once traveled with a friend who hit the snooze button four times every morning like, well, clockwork. We were sharing hotel rooms to save money and when I asked if she could please consider setting a single alarm — because, like you, once I’m up, I’m up — she seemed completely surprised by the request, and explained she needed it to wake up. Like Jeff, she couldn’t envision a morning routine without multiple rounds of being roused. They are not alone.

The University of Notre Dame published a study in 2022 that found 57% of adults regularly hit the snooze button despite the fact that doctors and scientists generally agree that when you snooze you lose, as it’s generally no good when it comes to supporting quality sleep.

Working adults are chronically tired, and despite our best intentions for an early start, the prospect of 5 or 9 or 17 extra minutes of sleep so often sounds way better than starting our day, right? You didn’t give details about Jeff’s employment, but if he has a later start to his day, slowly awakening with snooze support might feel like a gentle way to begin the day. And given that he’s a cuddler, Jeff probably genuinely enjoys the lazy, sleepy morning moments with you, while you’re inwardly and increasingly annoyed.

If you feel strongly about certain things you need — like, less snooze button — you need to ask for them. But Jeff probably needs things too. Like, cuddling! So be prepared to compromise.

Wayne says:

Wanda, navigating the demanding modern working world isn’t the only reason adults with jobs are extremely exhausted these days. For instance, hearing the violent screech of a clock alarm that jolts you awake four times every morning sets the tone for a bleary-eyed, brain-fried, super-annoyed morning, if not an entire day, for light sleepers like our letter writer, yourself and me. I have no idea how multiple snoozes make for a slow and smooth wake-up for someone like Jeff and your traveling companion, but it isn’t fair for their roommates/bedmates.

There may be an alarm clock middle ground. Those sunrise alarm clocks that slowly lighten and steadily increase in volume are about as gentle as it gets. The deep sleepers can also ditch the clock and wear a wrist alarm, which pulses silently to wake a person up, instead.

But this isn’t just about alarm clocks. Their whole sleeping situation is a mess: room temperature vs. blanket coverage, restless movement vs. complete stillness, let’s cuddle vs. leave me alone. Like the alarms, there are some possible give-and-take adjustments that can be implemented here to make bedtime more comfortable for both parties.

But the big picture: Any one thing that interrupts a good night’s sleep can make nighttime a nightmare for the light sleeper. Look, we’re adults and the whole sleepover concept is overrated. The goal of going to sleep is sleeping, right? Sure, you can cuddle or more before you go decide to try to sleep, but I don’t think you’re losing any romantic connection if you don’t share the same bed the entire night (though Jeff may feel otherwise). Maybe it’s best that anytime you’re disturbed by some movement or heat, move into another bed or even another room. And when you know you won’t be able to handle the snooze button routine the next morning, start the night sleeping in another room entirely. It’s better than waking up mad, tired and not wanting to sleep over anymore. And you can always crawl back into bed in the morning for some quick cuddles after the snooze button’s finally off and your sleeping beauty is happily awake.

[Ask Sahaj: My boyfriend wants to lie to his parents about living together]

[What’s the best sleeping position?]

[Ask Sahaj: He wants kids, but I don’t. Should we break up?]

Wayne and Wanda

Wanda is a wise person who has loved, lost and been to therapy. Wayne is a wise guy who has no use for therapy. Send them your questions and thoughts at