It’s no secret that a good night’s rest is a key ingredient of a happy and healthy waking life. In modern societies where time is often seen as a commodity and stress prevails among much of the population, getting a night of quality, undisturbed sleep is often seen as a luxury. But the need for adequate rest is clear, as it affects everything from mood to productivity to physical health. Recently, a study was performed to understand the impact of sleep on romantic relationships, and as you might have guessed, there is a clear correlation between the quality of sleep a couple receives and the perceived quality of their interactions.
The study followed twenty nine couples over the course of a week; each individual was asked to record their thoughts on the quality of interactions during the day, as well as information about their sleep during the night. While the information recorded about interactions was necessarily subjective to a certain degree, the trend was clear: those couples who received a poor night of sleep experienced a decrease in the quality of interactions the following day. To make matters more difficult, women who recorded poor experiences during the day subsequently received a lower quality in sleep that night, as did their partners.
This “vicious cycle” of sleep and social interaction may have important implications for therapists and counselors, especially those who work with couples. While there are a range of methods involved in working out differences and creating a positive, rewarding relationship, the benefits of working out any differences before heading off to bed can be included as a valuable tool in the arsenal of healthy relationships. And getting quality sleep may become a more pressing prescription.
© Copyright 2009 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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