Wife's sleep plays key role in marital bliss

Wife's sleep plays key role in marital bliss

Professor Wendy Troxel, who led the study, said: “We found that the wife’s sleep problems affect her own and her spouse’s marital functioning the next day, and these effects were independent of depressive symptoms. “Wives who took longer to fall asleep the night before reported poorer marital functioning the next day, and so did their husbands,” Dr Troxel said.

In previous studies the researchers had found that women sleep better if they enjoy the stable presence of a husband or partner in their bed. But in new research, presented at a meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies in Minneapolis this week, Dr Troxel looked at the links between length of sleep and “daily marital interactions”. She and her team studied 35 healthy married couples, most of whom were in their thirties and who had no history of physical or mental health problems.

Their nocturnal movements were recorded over 10 nights with a device called an actigraph, in order to work out how long it took them to fall asleep (sleep latency) as well as how long overall they slept. Then the couples were asked to note how many “positive marital interactions” they enjoyed the next day, when they felt valued or supported by their spouse, and how many negative ones where they were criticised or ignored. The longer it took the women to fall asleep, the more likely the couple were to report relationship problems the following day.

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