We need to talk.
Every relationship has its ups and downs, and couples fight about all sorts of things. But sleep science is increasingly proving that many of those fights may not be necessary. (Like, seriously, your irritation is probably coming from your night-long toss & turn session!)
Last year, an Ohio State University study of 43 couples found that while all couples experienced conflict at some point, some argued constructively and even used kind language, while others argued in a hostile, negative way.
What piqued our interest?
The researchers found that the hostile couples were getting the least sleep.
The research team invited the couples to the lab and prompted them to talk about issues that regularly caused arguments. The researchers filmed the conversations. Then, they evaluated them to determine whether the interactions were positive or negative and whether the responses were hostile or constructive.
The Science of Sleep
The notion that poor sleep can affect relationships is nothing new — and probably seems like common sense — but it’s shocking to see the science behind our suspicions.
The data shows that couples in which both partners had more than seven hours of sleep tended to do better during disagreements.
“The better functioning couples could [argue] with humor and kindness...” Kiecolt-Glaser explained. “The poorer functioning couples could get pretty nasty.”
The study also suggests that if even one partner in the relationship gets sufficient sleep, the relationship could improve.
A study from two psychologists at the University of Pittsburgh found that men were more likely to have negative interactions with their significant others if they had slept poorly the night before.
A 2014 study found that couples who reported sleeping poorly experienced more marital conflict.
How Poor Sleep Affects You
It’s not hard to understand why a lack of sleep would contribute to poor relationship health. If you’re sleep-deprived, you can suffer from impaired decision-making and a poor overall mood — and that’s a lovely cocktail of nasty.
A bad night’s sleep throws the amygdala — the part of the brain that processes emotion and memory — out of whack.
You might not be as sensitive to others’ feelings, or you might overreact to a stressful situation.
So, what’s our scientific conclusion? Prioritize a good night’s sleep for your mental and physical wellbeing...and your relationship, too!
One big step toward a better night’s sleep is investing in a great mattress. Ours are made with the most luscious, high-density latex and highest quality fabrics. And all of ’em will prevent what’s called motion transfer — that annoying thing that happens when your partner moves and your whole bed jiggles. So consider a new mattress, and let us know if those midday arguments over who is going to take out the trash subside.