Researchers are still sounding the alarm: sleep is a very important element of everyday life, and its neglect significantly affects not only our functioning but also relationships with other people. This is an increasingly serious problem that concerns even half of all couples! It turns out that when analysing growing relationship issues, we should also analyse the amount of hours slept in the last week.
Although it may seem that sleep problems arise after losing a partner and a difficult breakup, the research indicate a completely opposite situation. This lack of an adequate duration of rest can lead to the disintegration of even the most satisfying relationships. The psychologists from the University of California researched over a hundred couples. They examined the level of anxiety, depressive moods and satisfaction with sleep. The experiment has shown that the couples had the worst quarrels after tough sleepless nights. Where does this come from?
As it turned out, when we have sleep deficits, we are not able to express gratitude to our partner. During the same research, the participants were asked to write down the information about premature awakenings or problems with falling asleep. Then they were instructed to perform several tasks. People who had not rested in the previous night could not appreciate the efforts of their better half, and they were indifferent to his or her feelings and emotions. The experiment clearly shows that the lack of sleep impairs our emotionality – we are colder and more selfish, just as if we were running out of emotional battery. Nobody will convince us then that the partner was late due to a traffic jam or did not call back because of an important meeting. We will use funny remarks, provoke quarrels and assure ourselves of mean intentions of our partner. As you can guess, with this attitude we are not particularly fond of compromises that are so important in the life of every happy couple.
The correlation between sleep deficiencies and the quality of relationships was also analysed by the researchers from the University of Florida. Their experiment involved 68 newly-wed or fresh couples. Each of them wrote down the number of hours slept during the week and completed two questionnaires. The first one covered general topics of satisfaction with relationship while the second one included more detailed questions about the division of household duties, the amount of time spent together or the ways of dealing with conflicts. The results surprised even the respondents. As many as one-third of marriages and couples living together, who suffered from a permanent sleep deprivation, showed much greater problems and tendencies to relationship crises than the rest of the couples. Sleep is responsible for maintaining our self-regulation at the appropriate level. Its lack results in our inability to keep our nerves in control and cope with our emotions.
The extreme pace of life
There are many reasons for insomnia or nocturnal awakenings: trouble at work, too many duties, lack of support, beginnings of depression – to name some of them. The current lifestyle of young people is faster than ever before. The number of stimuli that surround us is constantly growing, and it is not going to decrease in the age of a rapid technological progress. We must learn to skillfully manage our time, limit the amount of electronic devices in the evening and, above all, listen to our own body. Many years of work on sensory science also prove that our sleeping problems may result from the lack of touch – let’s try to develop a habit of cuddling and giving each other a dose of tenderness before falling asleep. In many homes, a good solution turns out to be the purchase of a special sensory bedding, whose specialised heavier filling positively affects subconscious sense of security. Weighted quilts and blankets have soothing and calming effect as they send positive signals to the brain during sleep.
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