Husbands take note: If you want a happy marriage, make sure your wife is well rested.
Sleep-deprived women are more likely to report negative interactions with their husbands the day after a bad night’s rest, according to a new study by sleep researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. The women’s husbands also reported more unpleasant interactions when their wives were tired.
However, in a surprising turn, sleepy men do not have the same impact on their marriage. Even after tossing and turning, men do not report more negative interactions with their wives.
“Women tend to be more sensitive to the highs and lows of relationships, and they tend to be more communicative when they’re feeling the stress,” said researcher Wendy Troxel, PhD, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
“So the fact that women’s sleep problems affect both their own and their partner’s next day’s marital functioning may say something about women’s expressiveness, whereas men tend to kind of repress or withhold negative emotions.”
In other words, women take out their crankiness on their spouses; men don’t.
The same study also found that when couples reported lots of positive interactions throughout the day, men got less sleep—but not because they suffered from insomnia. “Couples that have more positive interactions during the day may be engaging in other activities in bed at night,” said Troxel.
The study’s findings are significant, said Lauren Hale, PhD, a sleep expert and associate professor of preventive medicine at the Stony Brook School of Medicine in Stony Brook, N.Y., because “we need to be reminded that sleep should be a priority for not only functioning throughout the day physically and cognitively but emotionally and socially.”