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20 Sep 2011

Can Lack of Sleep Ruin Your Marriage?

By Marianne Beach,
Newsflash: A new study finds that lack of sleep can make women grumpy. And we end up taking it out on our husbands.I can't say, as a new mother to a three-month-old, that these findings are all that shocking. Between late stage pregnancy, birth and night feedings, I can't remember the last time I got a full night's sleep. And yes, in the AM, I'm not exactly the sweetest wife to ever wakeup with. (Sorry dear!)
Turns out, I'm not alone. And you don't have to be a new mom to suffer the effects. A new study from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine finds that women who had difficulty falling asleep at night reported more negative--and fewer positive--interactions with their husbands the next day.
Well, of course! We're freaking tired!
But here's the weird part. They also looked at the husbands' sleep patterns as well. Get this, they found no increase in negative interactions with their wives whatsoever--even amongst those who suffered insomnia. (And yes, their wives weighed in on this -- it wasn't all self-analysis.) So what's the deal, guys? How do you stay so nice after a bad night's sleep?
The interactions were assessed daily over a 10 day period, using electronic diaries to evaluate the positive interactions (such as feeling supported and valued) and negative ones (like feeling criticized or ignored.)
The authors concluded that sleep disorders such as insomnia can have a negative impact on marriages.
So how do you fight insomnia and get a good night's sleep? The National Sleep Foundation suggests practicing "good sleep hygiene." Wake up every day at the same time and don't give in to the temptation to nap during the day. Avoid stimulants like coffee or tea and practice a relaxing bedtime routine. Lastly, create a safe, comfortable sleeping environment to drift off in.
Good things to remember once my daughter heads off to college in 18 years and I finally have an opportunity for a real night's sleep. In the meantime, I hope my husband can be forgiving...
Source: American Academy of Sleep Medicine
Source: National Sleep Foundation
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