How Lack Of Sleep Could Be Affecting Your Relationship

Young couple in bed, man sitting up with arms crossed, portrait

Relationships are not perfect. Every once in a while, you and your partner are bound to get into an argument about one thing or the other. However, we get it; we understand that it stems from the basis that humans are fundamentally different in some way and thus will have varying opinions. Even so, we can try to reduce the causes of the arguments. Are you aware that lack of, or reduced hours of sleep could contribute to these arguments?

A study recently conducted by Stephanie Wilson and her team sampled 43 couples from Ohio State University. Each of the couples admitted to having experienced marital conflict that ranges from money management to amount of time spent together. However, some of the couples reported to arguing with kindness and understanding while others reported that their arguments were dominated by hostility and negativity. All their sleep periods ranged from 3-7 hours. The couples who slept for a lesser time were found to experience harsh and hostile arguments. This is not to say that the couples who got healthier amounts of sleep did not engage in any arguments or had lesser arguments. The difference was solely on the tone of the arguments.

During an interview, Dr. Janice Kiecolt Glaser, a professor at the Ohio State University said, ‘It’s not the fact that the couples were disagreeing. It is the lack of sleep and the way in which they disagreed.”

Sleep helps our brains function properly; it is basic biology. Lack of enough sleep affects both your emotional and physical wellbeing. When in a relationship, this will easily spill to the arguments you and your partner are bound to have. According to Beloit Mattress, lack of enough sleep causes irritability and frustration. In the event that an argument starts up while you are in that state of mind, you are bound to snap and use a lot of negative words. This does little to negate the situation and an argument about dirty dishes can easily turn into World War III.

Sleep coupling. Image from

A study carried out in 2010 reported that men who are likely to get into fights with their wives did not have enough sleep. Sleep affects the part of the brain that solves problems.  It also increases stress levels stress hormones levels by 45%. Your ability to fix any problem that arises during an argument is greatly compromised. Lack of enough sleep reduces your ability to concentrate which may come off to your partner as lack of interest in the issue. This causes the argument to blow up and become bigger than it initially was.

Sleep deprivation also acts reduces one’s sense of humor which is badly needed in any relationship. It allows both of you to laugh at each other especially if the cause of the argument was quite silly. However, the most noticeable element of sleep deprivation in a relationship is the toll it takes on the body physically. Getting your beauty sleep is not just a figure of speech. Lack of enough sleep makes you physically unattractive which may affect your partner’s sexual attraction to you. If this leads to less sexual escapades, it ends up aggregating the arguments between you and your spouse.

Furthermore, reduced hours of sleep not only affects the emotional well-being of the individual but also their health. Research shows sleep deprivation puts one at the risk of stress-related inflammation which is associated with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, arthritis and other diseases. The same study conducted on the 43 couples involved blood samples which were taken before and after the couples had slept for two nights and discussed a topic that would cause conflict. The results showed that people who slept less didn’t wake up with higher inflammation. They, however, had a greater inflammatory response to the conflict. So that means that less sleep increased vulnerability to stress. However, the result of lack of sleep, as we have seen causes hostile arguments which can eventually cause the same inflammatory reaction.

The other problem is sleep patterns between partners are almost identical. If one partner is having issues sleeping, it is likely to affect the other partner. If such a couple has issues, the problems can persist over time probably making things worse. The truth is, sleep may not fix all your relationship issues, but it works as a lubricant to help you work your way through those issues. So ensure your body receives the recommended amount of sleep for a healthier relationship.

Featured image via

Facebook Comments