The Sleep Habit That's Ruining Your Relationship, According To Research

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Couple frustrated from lack of sleep in bed

We have more than enough reasons to get a good night's sleep: improved memory, weight loss, less stress, the list goes on and on. But did you know that without catching enough z’s, your love life could also suffer?

That's according to a new study conducted by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, which suggests that sleep deprivation can make it harder for tired couples to value each other. So if you're feeling less than appreciated by your significant other, it may be because they aren't getting enough sleep.

Your sleep habits may be ruining your relationship



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"Poor sleep may make us more selfish as we prioritize our own needs over our partner's," said Amie Gordon, a UC Berkeley psychologist and lead investigator of the study. "You may have slept like a baby, but if your partner didn't, you'll probably both end up grouchy."

Over 60 couples, ranging in age, participated in the study. In one experiment, participants kept a diary of their sleep patterns and whether they saw the effects of their sleep in how they appreciated their significant other. In another experiment, couples were asked to complete problem-solving tasks together. The results from both of these experiments proved that poor sleepers had a harder time valuing their partners.

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We all know that sharing a bed with a significant other sometimes means sleepless nights whether it's his obnoxious snoring or her late-night cookie-munching (and you waking up in crumbs). But it's been proven that how the two of you go to bed at night can dictate your relationship during the day.

So what's the big takeaway here for couples? Get some shut-eye and your relationship will get up on the right side of the bed in the morning! And right before you climb into bed, take the time to let your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, or whoever, "thank you."

Overall, the study found it possible that lack of sleep might make it more difficult for people to practice gratitude and value their partners, said study investigator and UC Berkeley psychologist Amie Gordon.

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How can couples make sure that they have gratitude for their partner and marriage?



Gordon says it pretty simply, "Make sure to say to say 'thanks' when your partner does something nice. Let them know you appreciate them."

Keep in mind, that just because the study found a link between poor sleeping habits and having less gratitude, it doesn't mean the lack of sleep was the reason for the spouses' behavior. 

How do you and your partner deal with sleep deprivation?

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Alexandra Churchill is a digital editor who currently works for Martha Stewart Living. Her work has been featured on numerous sites including The Huffington Post, Her Campus, USA TODAY College, and Northshore and Ocean Home magazines.