Sleep Boosts Relationship Satisfaction
We all know what it’s like when we don’t get enough sleep.
We’re tired, cranky, short tempered, and really don’t have a lot of patience. Let’s face it, anyone who’s running low on sleep probably isn’t a lot of fun to be around.
Sleep is important. Not only for our our brains and body to function, but it also our mental health, attitude, and mood.
But do you ever wonder how often a lack of sleep affects other parts of our life? For instance, how about your relationship?
Most of us haven’t. But a new study in the Journal of Family Psychology finds that couples who get more rest have better overall relationship satisfaction.
How Sleep Affects Your Relationship
Sleep might be a bigger problem in relationships than you realize. Here’s a quip straight from the study itself:
“Up to one-third of married or cohabiting adults report that sleep problems burden their relationship.”
The thing about sleep is that it has a big effect on our self-regulation and willpower. The researchers report that this has an indirect effect in how we interact with our significant other.
To test sleep’s effect on relationships, researchers sent home questionnaires with couples for them to answer over the course of 7 days. This included how much time they slept as well as how satisfied they were with their relationships in nine different areas – things like chores, sex, affection, and conflict resolution.
Not surprisingly, when the pairs got more sleep, the happiness levels in their relationship increased as well.
The researchers also saw that men were especially affected by lack of sleep. So when the men got extra sleep, they were less negatively affected by bad experiences, and saw bigger increases in marital satisfaction.
The researchers say this about their findings:
“The universality of our findings is important. That is, we know all people need sleep.
Regardless of the stage at which a couple is in their relationship or the cultural context in which they’re embedded, each member of the couple can be adversely affected by not getting enough sleep.”
Don’t Look Past the Obvious
In the bigger picture, the study eludes to how big an effect sleep can really have in different parts of our life. It colors our world. How we think and feel, and how we deal with stress. And – as the study indicates – how satisfied we see ourselves with our relationships.
When we’re tired we have a different view of the world. Our perception of events becomes less positive and we have less energy to deal with emotions. It affects how we feel and how we think.
But the study is also a good reminder of how something obvious might slip past our radar when we get busy and stressed.
Are you fighting because your stressed at work? Are small annoyances now blowing up into big fights? Or are the both of you simply having problems getting enough rest at night?
If things are getting a little intense in the relationship, take care of yourself and your significant other by making it a point to get a bit more rest. It may be just what you need to take the edge of the tension.
And besides, who doesn’t love a little extra sleep anyway?