How To Deal With An Early Bird Roommate

…Or a night owl if you are the early bird.

So having a roommate will inevitably bring up some issues. One common issue I’ve noticed among college freshmen roommates is having different sleeping patterns than one another. It is understandable that this would be a problem considering what close quarters you are forced to live in. Dorm rooms don’t provide too much privacy.

If one or both of you is a light sleeper and your schedules are totally opposite, don’t think that all hope is gone. There is a certain unspoken etiquette that everyone living with a roommate should follow regarding respecting each other’s sleeping habits. If you adhere to some simple courtesies when they are sleeping, hopefully your roommate will follow suit.

In Getting Ready

If you tend to wake up and leave before your roommate is even awake, getting ready in the dark and quiet can prove to be quite a difficult task. You will definitely find yourself in this predicament if you have an 8am class and are up before the sun.

There’s not much you can do about your alarm except don’t let it go off for an extended period of time. That’s just obnoxious.

You can set your clothes out the night before so you don’t spend too long with the light on rummaging through your closet looking for something to wear. Same concept applies to your backpack. If you pack it up the night before you’ll just have to grab it and leave rather than have a fiasco packing it in the morning.

Obviously you will go to the communal bathroom to take a shower, brush your teeth and wash your face. Do you hair and makeup while you’re in there instead of in your room!

In Staying Up Late

If your roommate goes to bed earlier than your parents, or you plan on staying up late for whatever reason you will face the challenge of making your dorm both a bedroom and a study/hang out room.

Bedtime is usually synonymous with “lights out”, but obviously you will want the light on while you are still awake doing things. The courteous thing to do in this situation is to turn off the room light and turn on your desk lamp.

Another thing that should be turned off when someone is trying to sleep is sound. So if you are still going to listen to music or watch a show after your roommate goes to bed, plug in your headphones.

In Wanting Peace and Quiet

On the flip side, if you are the kind of person who needs it to be completely silent or dark for you to take a nap in the middle of the day, you cannot expect your roommate to drop what they are doing or leave.

Some good investments for you might be earplugs and a sleep mask. I have heard the complaint about wearing earplugs to bed that then you won’t be able to hear your alarm in the morning. To this I say you’re out of luck and need to be more easy-going.

In Going To Bed Early

If you like going to bed early, especially on weekends, give your roommate a break. It is college after all.

In order to avoid awkward confrontations or being woken up in the middle of the night, maybe text them to let them know you are going to bed. You could even turn their desk lamp on for them so they can see their way around when they get back. That is a polite way of indirectly telling them to be quiet when they get home and get ready for bed.

The best way to let your roommate know they are being inconsiderate when you are trying to sleep is to tell them. Although it may be awkward, it beats never getting a good night’s rest.

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Natalie Alexander

Natalie Alexander

Natalie Alexander is a sophomore at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo pursuing a degree in journalism with a concentration in public relations. In her free time she enjoys traveling, dancing, exploring, swimming, laughing, shopping, napping, writing and spending time with her family and friends.
Natalie Alexander

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