Relationships • Article

Can Good Sleep Improve Your Love Life?

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There's no doubt that sleep is crucial for your physical and mental health. But research shows that it also plays a huge role in your relationship with your partner. Here's how getting a good night's sleep benefits relationships.


More Appreciation

Couples often complain that a sense of mutual appreciation wanes over time. Getting enough sleep may be crucial for maintaining that support. In a study presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology in New Orleans, researchers found that sleep deprivation might leave partners too tired to say "thanks" and make them take each other for granted.

"Poor sleep may make us more selfish as we prioritize our own needs over our partner's," says Amie Gordon, a University of California, Berkeley, psychologist who was a lead investigator.


More Sex

Researchers from the University of Michigan Medical School tracked the women's sleep and sex patterns for two weeks, according to a study of more than 170 women, published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine. They found that every extra hour of sleep made the women 14 percent more likely to engage in sexual activity with a partner.


Fewer Misunderstandings

Stan Tatkin, a couples therapist and author of Wired for Love, notes that people who don't get enough sleep are more prone to depression, anxiety and problems with emotional regulation, all of which make things look worse than they really are.


"The little things that would ordinarily not bother them start to bother them," he notes. This also means that people may make more errors in judging the intentions of their partners. For example, they may mistake a neutral facial expression for something mocking or hostile.


Less Fighting

Not getting enough sleep makes people grumpy and irritable. It can also lead them to argue more with their partners, research suggests. In a study published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, researchers found that sleepless nights translated into worse fights in a relationship. They also found that sleep loss seemed to impact couples' ability to resolve conflict effectively. Partners were most likely to resolve conflicts when they were both rested.


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Sense of Humor

A sense of humor is one of the handiest psychological tools that can help couples resolve spats. But if you and your partner want to keep your sense of humor intact, you both need enough ZZZs. As research has shown, sleep deprivation can affect people's sense of humor, says Terry Cralle, certified clinical sleep educator and co-author of Sleeping Your Way to the Top: How to Get the Sleep You Need to Succeed. This is likely because the ability to find humor in a situation requires high-level cognition, which is also impacted by a lack of sleep, she says.


*Based on internal analysis of sleep sessions assessing sleepers who use multiple features of Sleep Number® products. Claim based on sleepers achieving over 15 more minutes of restful sleep per sleep sessions.

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