Heart Health Articles

Sleep Deprived Wives More Sensitive To Relationship Issues

July 15, 2017

No one likes to be sleep deprived. It was reported earlier this month that bullies might in fact torture others because of a lack of sleep and in newly reported information this month; it seems that when wives can't fall asleep, that tends to trigger marital tensions the next day, but the sleep issues of husbands barely impact spousal relationships. Interesting chemistry.

Wendy Troxel, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and the study's lead researcher explains:

"The findings suggest a wife's prolonged inability to sleep predicts her own and her husband's marital interactions, which tend to be more negative and less positive. Women are generally more expressive and tend to drive the emotional climate of couple's relationship. Men are more likely to repress their feelings or not be as aware or tuned into the climate of change taking place."

Basically, women who can't sleep are more likely to express stress, be irritable and verbalize their feelings.

In a small sample, researchers tested the sleep patterns of 35 young and healthy married couples for 10 nights using noninvasive sensors that monitored rest and activity cycles. Wives with sleeping difficulties sparked significantly more negative marital interactions the next day, according to the research. The results were independent of depressive symptoms and previous diagnosis.

Troxel adds:

"It's a cyclical process that can get under the skin of couples and put them into negative trajectories when it comes to their mental health and well-being. Sleep problems need to be clinically addressed and perhaps marriage therapy started if the relationship is in trouble."

Keep physically active during the day. This is especially important the day after a bad night's sleep. When you sleep less, you should be more active during the day. Being less active is one of the worst things an insomniac can do.

Strenuous exercise (brisk walking, swimming, jogging, squash, etc.) in late afternoon seems to promote more restful sleep. Also, insomniacs tend to be too inactive a couple of hours before bed. Do some gentle exercise. A stretching routine has helped many people.

Toxel concludes:

"Intuitively, it makes sense that you don't function at your best when you're sleep-deprived, but there's shockingly little data on how this affects marital relationships."

When it comes to bullies, parents of 341 children completed validated screening assessments for conduct problems, bullying behavior, and sleep-disordered breathing. Teachers provided assessments of conduct problems, behavior, and disciplinary problems in school. Overall, 32% of the children were classified by a parent or teacher as having a conduct problem, 12% were classified as demonstrating bullying behavior, and 17% received at least two disciplinary referrals from teachers.

Almost a quarter of the misbehaving children snored more than half the time, which is suggestive of sleep-disordered breathing or potential sleep apnea. Aggressive schoolchildren appear to be more likely to have sleep-disordered breathing than their more mild-mannered counterparts, a cross-sectional study showed that was conducted by the University of Michigan.

If you are in bed and unable to sleep, many experts suggest getting completely out of bed, sitting in a chair, and reading, writing letters, or doing some quiet activity. As you get sleepy, go back to bed and use a relaxation technique to fall asleep. Make your bed a place to sleep, not a place to get other things done.

Sources: Kansas State University, Science Direct and Associated Professional Sleep Societies

Sy Kraft