Study: A Sleep-Deprived Wife Leads to Marital Strife

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Categories: Dating and Relationships

Fellows, if your wife tosses and turns at night you may be in for a few fights. According to a new study, women who suffer from insomnia tend to have more negative interactions with their spouse and this often means trouble for a couple’s marriage.

“Sleep disturbance and deprivation has profound effects on mood, irritability, and frustration tolerance,” said the study’s lead author, Wendy Troxel, an assistant professor of psychiatry and psychology at the University of Pittsburgh. “And the person you’re most likely to take it out on is not your boss or some random person, but your spouse.”

In the study, researchers observed 35 couples who appeared to have healthy marriages. The couples wore sleep tracking devices on their wrists for 10 days and answered a series of questions designed to pinpoint marital problems caused by lack of sleep. The results?

When women tossed and turned at night, they had more negative interactions with their spouse the next day then positive ones. Surprisingly, men did not respond to a lack of sleep the same way. That is, men were not more likely to have negative interactions with their spouse after a poor night’s sleep.

Researchers are not sure why a lack of sleep affects men and women differently, but most believe it comes down to the way the sexes are wired.

“Insomnia is related to hyperarousal — which means that certain areas of the brain fail to calm down as night comes,” said Dr. Alon Avidan, an associate professor in the department of neurology and associate director of the sleep center at the University of California, Los Angeles. “In evolutionary terms it made more sense for women, who were the ones who took care of the kids, to be hyper-alert.”

This sensitivity to a lack of sleep, and the effect poor sleep patterns can have on a marriage, make it important that women suffering from insomnia seek help.

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