Yes, sleep is good for our health, our mood, and even our diets. But, did you know that catching some Zzz’s can be good for your marriage too? You may not realize it, but sleep-hygiene plays an important role in healthy relationships. Understanding the importance of sleep can bring you and your partner closer together.
When you wake up, your spouse is likely to be the first person you interact with. If you are standing between your partner and their morning coffee, you could inadvertently be taking the brunt of their early morning moodiness. Or vice versa.
When we are in a committed relationship, no matter how much love and understanding there is, at times emotions can get high and hurtful words are said. Even though we know this on a logical level, feelings are hurt and resentments can form.
Your partner’s sleep quality affects you
Even if you are getting a great night’s sleep and feel refreshed in the morning, your partner’s lack thereof can cause adversity in your relationship. In a study performed by Wendy Troxel, Ph.D; couples reported more negative interactions with each other during the daytime when one spouse slept less than six hours.
Differing sleep schedules
Say that you go to bed at 10pm, but your honey doesn’t get under the covers until 11:30 pm. You may already be off in dreamland, but their climbing into bed is disturbing your sleep, whether you realize it or not. These small movements can actually pull you out of falling into deeper stages of sleep, which we need to recharge our bodies and minds.
Personally, if I am going to bed earlier than my husband, I feel out of rhythm with him. It can certainly be hard if the two of you have different work schedules and therefore have to wake up at different times. If it is at all possible for one of you to go to bed and wake up earlier in order to be on the same sleep schedule you might want to discuss making the change.
Plus, who doesn’t love a little cuddling before drifting off to sleep? This skin-to-skin connection will release oxytocin, the love hormone, in you and your sweetheart’s brains. A study done in 2012 explored the levels of oxytocin produced by couples and singles. One of the findings indicated that couples who were more physically close with each other, (as in cuddling) produced higher levels of oxytocin.
Partners who sleep in sync are typically happier
Studies suggest that couples whose sleep habits are more in tuned with one another were more satisfied in their marriages. Julie Ohana talks about how sharing family meals can strengthen your relationships in this blog post. Sharing your bed together to attain high quality sleep is an important factor in maintaining healthy relationships too.
Heather Gunn, PhD, published a research study for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, and she states: “The sleep of married couples is more in sync on a minute-by-minute basis than the sleep of random individuals. This suggests that our sleep patterns are regulated not only by when we sleep, but also with whom we sleep.”
How to improve your sleep, together
Start a conversation with your spouse about your combined sleep habits. Talk about where each of you can make compromises for the other, in order to get on the same time schedule. Come up with a nightly routine you can do together to help each other wind down from the stresses of the day. Maybe even include a relaxing massage to wind down.
When we get enough sleep, we feel well rested and wake up naturally at the right time, according to our body mechanisms. We are in a better mood overall and tend to treat others more kindly. I know I’m cranky if I haven’t taken a good night’s sleep. Let’s make sleep a priority for our marriage’s sake.