Did you know that a lack of sleep can affect your relationships? It’s true! According to the National Sleep Foundation, 7-9- hours is optimal for adults. Yet, 42% of Americans report getting less than 7 hours of sleep per night.
Since the 1940’s the average amount of sleep adult Americans get has decreased by more than an hour. Average sleeping hours have gone down and the divorce rate has gone up. You may or may not think that those two are related. Nevertheless, sleep does have an effect on your relationships. Here’s how:
When we were first married, we got a lot of good advice from family and friends. One piece of advice, however, actually proved detrimental. And this advice was repeated to us by several people: Here it is: “Never go to bed angry.” Although it sounds good on the surface, we found that trying to stay up late to resolve an issue only increased the level of the conflict. The later it got, the more depleted our willpower. The more depleted our willpower, the more grumpy and stubborn each of us got.
Over the years we’ve discovered that when disagreements happen at night, it’s best to call a temporary truce, go to bed and then discuss the issue again in the morning, after each has had a good night’s sleep. In the morning, we’re usually able to have greater empathy and understanding and much more patience to assist us in resolving the issue. We could also see the humor in our depleted dialog and ridiculous reasoning from the night before. Our experience fits right in with recent research on conflict and relationships. Here’s a direct quote from the study:
“One partner’s poor sleep was associated with a lower ratio of positive to negative affect (observed and self-reported), as well as decreased empathic accuracy for both partners during a conflict conversation.”
Ok, that’s enough bad news. Here’s some good news facts on how getting enough sleep can benefit your relationships?
So, there you have it. Based on the research, chances are if you improve your sleep habits, you’ll also improve your relationships! In other words, if your partner is weepy, he might just be sleepy! And if you find that you’re snapping, you may want to try napping! Thanks for joining us!