by admin on June 30, 2011 · 0 comments

in Midlife sleep


Ever wonder if your sleep is having an effect on your relationship? Researchers at the University of Pittsburg explored this question in a study of couples, their interactions and their sleep patterns. Of course, the answer could be either or both, but the study sought something more definitive.

When partners are not happy with each other, certainly their nighttime sleep patterns can be disrupted.  We all tend to think about the things that are bothering us when we get into bed and try to go to sleep. And likewise, when one or both of the partners can’t sleep, personal interactions are likely to be less positive.  Thus, to the extent that we can study it, where’s the chicken and where’s the egg?

From many prior studies, we know that marital satisfaction is a unique  factor that positively influences many health variables – heart health, blood pressure, weight, diabetes and others.  It would not be a big scientific leap to assume that marital satisfaction also influences sleep.

In this recent study of carefully selected  “normal” couples, both members of the couple wore sleep measuring wristbands called actigraphs, which detect the level of movement throughout the day and let researchers know when people get into bed, when they fall asleep and when they transition to various levels of sleep.  They also filled out questionnaires on their interpersonal interaction that day, which were coordinated with their time to sleep onset.

Take a guess.  Who was more influenced by the lack of sleep and had that show up in their daytime interpersonal reactions – men or women?

Not surprisingly, womens’ relationships were more influenced by their lack of sleep than were men’s.  Women took much longer to fall asleep and had significantly more negative interactions with their spouse than men.  Do you recognize yourself here in the study?  Are you shorting yourself on sleep in hopes of getting a few more things done for the day? And not realizing you may be paying the price in your relationships?  Follow this newsletter and get more tips on how your investment  in sleep can pay rich rewards for your relationships.

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