DEAR HARRIETTE: I recently got married. My husband and I did not live together before marriage, so we are learning each other’s idiosyncrasies now. One thing that is a problem is that I am a night owl, and he is a morning person. We hardly ever get in bed at the same time. I feel like one of us is constantly disturbing the other’s sleep. I don’t know a solution, though, because we have such different sleep patterns. What do you recommend? -- Nighty Night, Denver
DEAR NIGHTY NIGHT: Getting enough sleep is essential for your long-term health and happiness. Without proper rest, you can become irritable, which will trigger other challenges in your marriage. What can you do? First, you can try little things, like putting a dim night light by your side of the bed so that you can slip into bed without turning on the lights whenever you are ready to go to sleep. Do not turn on any electronics, and try to settle quietly as you go to sleep. Make sure you have opaque curtains in your room so that in the morning the room stays dark when your husband gets up. He will need to be quiet when he gets up so as not to disturb you.
Another idea that some couples follow is to have separate rooms. Yes, that may sound crazy for newlyweds, but if you really do sleep differently, you may want to sleep in different rooms and come together at mutually agreed-upon times. You have to work out what works for you.
DEAR HARRIETTE: Every year on my birthday and every holiday, I get a call or email from a friend of mine. This year -- crickets. I’m worried about him. He is an older guy who recently retired, and he is single. He has always been a loner, so I don’t know whom to contact to check on him. I pray nothing has happened to him, but if I do hear from him again, I need him to give me a couple of emergency contact numbers. We have to look out for each other, right? -- Looking Out, Rochester, New York
DEAR LOOKING OUT: Let’s hope your friend is fine and just got distracted. Yes, it is a smart idea to ask him to share a few of his close friends’ contact information for emergency purposes. Promise not to bug any of his friends, but point out that you were honestly worried about him since he broke his pattern.
Be prepared not to get the desired result, though. A confirmed older bachelor is not someone who is accustomed to being traced, so to speak. He may balk at your idea. If he refuses, you will have to accept that you cannot help him to stay safe.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to email@example.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)