If your guy goes by the alias "snore machine," you may have good reason to cosy up to the couch: Poor sleep can make you feel ungrateful and taken for granted in your relationship, according to research recently presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology.
University of California, Berkeley, researchers examined the correlation between sleep and gratitude through a series of studies, each of more than 60 couples ages 18 to 56. In one experiment, participants kept a diary of their sleep patterns and their appreciation of their significant other. In another, researchers watched couples working together on problem-solving tasks, and observed that those who had slept badly the night before showed their partner less appreciation.
"Poor sleep may make us more selfish as we prioritize our own needs over our partner's," says lead researcher Amie Gordon, a psychologist and doctoral student at UC Berkeley. But here's the kicker: Because sleep-deprived people are more likely to skimp on shows of gratitude, both partners end up feeling taken for granted. "You may have slept like a baby, but if your partner didn't, you'll probably both end up grouchy," says Gordon, whose previous research has shown that expressing gratitude is vital to relationship satisfaction and longevity.
Can't remember the last time you got a good night's rest during a sleepover? Here's how to beat your biggest co-sleeping complaints:
- He Snores...A Lot
Give him the gift of a high-loft pillow--which is designed with the highest point at the middle--to keep him from rolling onto his back. Since people experience the most airway instability when they're face-up, side sleeping can help prevent airway vibrations and sleepless nights, says Ulysses J. Magalang, MD, medical director of sleep medicine at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. If the snoring is severe, suggest he ask his doc about sleep apnea, a disorder in which breathing stops during sleep that can cause extreme fatigue for both parties.
- You Fight Over the Covers
It's simple: Get two comforters. In Scandinavia, Germany, and Austria, couples often cover their beds with two twin-sized, side-by-side comforters and forgo cover wars altogether. If you pride yourself on a Pinterest-worthy bedroom, drape a coverlet over the top of the comforters to tidy the look.
- He Likes to Sleep with the TV On
Eye masks can help block out light. Meanwhile earplugs can help muffle any noises that go bump in the night, says Magalang, who notes that light and noise are the most common problems for bed sharers. If earplugs don't do the job--or just feel funny to you--suggest that your Late Show-loving beau wear super-thin and squishy headphones designed specifically for sleepers. Try Bedphones, $30, at bedphones.com.