Wives who have trouble sleeping report more marital problems the following day. Interestingly, insomnia in men doesn’t appear to affect the couple’s relationship, reports a new study presented at the SLEEP 2011 conference in Minnesota. The report is getting lots of buzz in places like WebMD and Today.com (see links for their full stories). Following are some nuggets of the conclusions:
- Wives who had trouble falling asleep were more likely to report negative interactions with their husbands the following day.
- Husbands also rated the couple’s interactions less positively the day after their wife’s insomnia.
- Interestingly, when husbands got less sleep, they reported more positive marital interactions the following day. That’s at least in part because they reported higher marital functioning when they had more frequent sexual activity.
So, wives reported the interactions more positively when they got more sleep, while husbands reported the interactions more positively when they had more sexual activity.
Experts surmise that women tend to be more communicative when they are under stress, and lack of sleep created stress that negatively affected the couples’ interactions. Men, on the other hand, tend to repress or withhold negative emotions, so when they were more tired, it may not have appeared to impact the relationship as dramatically. In addition, they suggest women may be more prone to sleep disturbances, or unable to calm their thoughts down sufficiently to sleep.
Since the study was done on 35 healthy couples, it’s probable that the affect on couples having difficulties would be even more apparent.
I wouldn’t suggest this means husbands can get less sleep than wives. When my husband is tired from a difficult work schedule, we can all sense it. I also understand that it’s very poor for our health to have fewer hours of sleep than our bodies need. I remember the days when we had babies or toddlers and one or both of us was chronically exhausted. That’s a rough time on a marriage, as many of you can attest. Even if you have to ask a friend or a relative to help out while you take a nap, please do.
Both partners, but especially wives, need to be sure they get adequate sleep to not only function well physically but also emotionally. If you have sleep difficulties, discuss it with your doctor. You might not be saving your health; you might also be saving your marriage.
I wasn’t as fast as Paul Byerly on writing about this topic. As I was catching up on blogs, I found his post to husbands: Her Sleep is Important to Your Marriage.
Photo by Leticia Wilson courtesy of PhotoXpress.com
Posted in Communication, Family, Happiness, Marriage, Relationships, Sex
Tagged better sleep, how insomnia affects marriage, improve marriage, insomnia, Marriage, marriage tips, sleep, sleep disturbances
“Keeping the Sparks Alive” Series
Last week, the CBS Early Show reported on a new sex survey of married Americans with children. The study found 70 percent of respondents were too sleep deprived to make love after a full day of work, including jobs, parenting and home responsibilities. Watch the story here.
The survey showed couples under age 30 or in the honeymoon phase of their relationship had sex approximately two to three times week. Those over 30 had sex about once a week. Over age 60, they had sex about once a month. After sharing all these stats, they advised not comparing yourselves to other couples.
The show’s psychologist says she is hearing “I’m just too tired” from many more couples. She says three things affect the quality of your love life—first, health and hormones; second, how tired you are; and third, how happy the relationship is. A problem in any area will mean the sex life won’t be as great.
She advised couples need to prioritize time to get to know one another and connect. Here are the tips shared:
“Skip the trip to the mall” and other non-essential errands.
Remember that having sex re-energizes the body and the libido.
Take the time to be together.
Get up a half hour earlier and start the day making love instead of trying to find the energy at the end of the day.
Make your marriage, not your kids, the priority.
Get more sleep; it affects every area of your life.
Take an occasional day off to sleep instead of going away on vacation.
I thought the suggestions were useful, other than the last one, which is probably not realistic for most people. However, perhaps going in to work an hour or two late on occasion may be more doable than taking the whole day off to sleep. The other tip I would add is to trade childcare with friends who have children so you can have a night out (or in).
What suggestions do you have for fighting exhaustion and making your marriage a top priority?
New York Times columnist Ross Douthat discusses why monogamy still feels good in today’s world. He also shares a few details from a new survey that shows virginity is increasing among those aged 14 to 22. I thought he had an interesting take on monogamy as a separate issue from morality. His article was reprinted in papers across the country last week.
Photo credit:©Yuriy Poznukhov/PhotoXpress.com
Posted in Family, Happiness, Love, Marriage, Marriage Research, Relationships, Sex
Tagged better marriage, improve marriage, improving sexual intimacy in marriage, intimacy in marriage, Marriage, marriage tips, sex survey, sleep, sleep and sex, sleep deprivation