How sleep quality may affect your relationships

Sleep affecting relationship of a couple

Getting a good night’s sleep is important for our health, as it helps our bodies function at their best. It also plays a major role in our productivity at work and home. It keeps us focused and energetic the next day. But when you are sleep deprived, you can easily lose your cool, be more irritable and experience more mood swings. Lack of sleep can also affect relationships! Read on to know the link between the quality of your sleep and relationships.

What are the health benefits of sleep?

Sleep is an important function. The amount of sleep needed by individuals depends on the age and health. Adults should sleep between seven and nine hours every night, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Good quality sleep is essential for a strong bond with your partner. Image courtesy: Freepik

If you get enough sleep, you can enjoy these health benefits:

1. May improve cognitive function

Sleep enhances cognitive processes such as memory consolidation, problem-solving, and creativity. It helps in processing and storing information learned throughout the day, says psychologist Pallavi Joshi.

2. Emotional regulation

Sleep plays a significant role in emotional stability. Adequate rest helps in managing stress and reducing the risk of mood disorders such as depression and anxiety.

3. Physical health

Sleep supports the body’s repair and regeneration processes. It helps in muscle growth, tissue repair, and the synthesis of our hormones. Good sleep also contributes to a stronger immune system. That’s why people who take adequate sleep are less likely to fall sick, says mental health and behavioural science expert Dr Rahul Chandhok.

4. Weight management

Sleep affects ghrelin, the hormone that regulate hunger and appetite. Insufficient sleep can lead to weight gain due to increased appetite and cravings for high-calorie foods.

How does lack of sleep affect relationships?

Poor quality of sleep may lead to increased anger and decreased relationship satisfaction, according to 2023 research published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. Here are some ways sleep may impact your relationships:

1. Increased irritability

Sleep deprivation can result in heightened irritability and mood swings, making partners more likely to argue over small issues. When both partners are tired, patience and tolerance levels decrease, leading to conflicts that can negatively affect the relationship, says Dr Chandhok.

2. Decreased emotional connection

Sleep deprivation can hinder emotional regulation, making it difficult for partners to connect on a deeper level. Lack of sleep may reduce empathy and understanding, making it hard to support each other through emotional ups and downs.

3. Reduced intimacy

Lack of sleep can result in lower energy levels and decreased libido, says Joshi. When one or both partners are too tired, they are less likely to engage in physical affection and sexual activity, which can impact the overall intimacy of the relationship.

Sleep affecting a couple
Lack of sleep can lead to reduced intimacy. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

4. Impaired communication

Effective communication is crucial in a relationship, and sleep deprivation can impair cognitive functions, including the ability to listen and articulate thoughts clearly. Misunderstandings and miscommunications become more common, leading to frustration and disconnection.

4. Increased conflict

Sleep deprived people often have a short temper and may become easily frustrated. This can lead to more frequent arguments and less patience in resolving conflicts, damaging the relationship over time.

5. Neglect of relationship needs

When people are tired, they may prioritise sleep over spending quality time with their partner. This can lead to feelings of neglect and resentment, as one partner may feel that their emotional and relational needs are not being met.

How to improve sleep quality for a better bond with your partner?

Improving sleep quality can significantly enhance the bond between partners.

Here are some tips –

1. Establish a sleep routine

Consistency is key, so going to bed and waking up at the same time every day helps regulate the body’s internal clock, says Joshi. Establishing a bedtime routine, such as reading or taking a warm bath, can signal to the body that it’s time to wind down.

2. Create a sleep-conducive environment

Make sure that your bedroom is quiet, dark, and comfortable for you. Invest in a good-quality mattress and pillows. You can use blackout curtains, white noise machines, or earplugs if the outside traffic and the noise are disrupting your sleep.

3. Limit screen time before bed

The blue light emitted by devices such as phones, tablets, laptops, and computers can interfere with the production of melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep. Try to avoid screens at least an hour before bedtime and do activities that relax you.

4. Exercise regularly

Regularly exercising at home or the gym can help you fall asleep faster and enjoy quality sleep. However, try to avoid vigorous exercise close to bedtime, as it can be stimulating and make it harder for you to fall asleep.

5. Manage stress and anxiety

Stress and anxiety are major sleep disruptors, so practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, and meditation. Discussing concerns with your partner and supporting each other can also reduce stress and improve your sleep quality.

Sleep and your mood are closely linked. If you get enough sleep, you will be in a good mood. Poor sleep quality can make you angry, and may create problems in your relationship. So, get a goodnight’s sleep for a healthy relationship.

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