Alaska Sleep Education Center

How Can Relationship Stress Hamper Your Sleep Quality?

Posted by Jane Sandwood on Jun 22, 2021 2:31:00 AM

Unhappy couple.

Stress affects around 48% of Americans, and this, says the American Psychological Association, has a profound effect on everything from their relationships to their sleep quality. Stress causes around 54% of people to fight with people who are close to them, and this can lead to tossing and turning at night, or altered sleep patterns. A lack of sleep, meanwhile (or poor quality sleep) can cause people to become tired and cranky, causing sparks to fly in what would otherwise have been a peaceful relationship. What do studies suggest about the link between relationships and sleep, and what steps can couples take to improve their sleep quantity and sleep quality?

Early Relationship Stress And Sleep Quality In Middle Adulthood

A 2019 Personal Relationships study found that a person’s romantic relationships and the life stress he or she experiences at two key ages in early adulthood (ages 23 and 32) are linked to sleep quantity and quality when they are in middle adulthood (aged 37). The researchers found that those who had good relationship experiences early in life experienced less stress by the time they reached age 32, which in turn resulted in better sleep at age 37. Lead researcher, C Huelsnitz, stated that although relationships have long been known to affect health, it is only now that scientists are beginning to better comprehend the ways in which they can change health behaviors such as sleep.

Practical Advice For Stressed-Out Couples

Stress is something most people cannot avoid; couples in happy relationships still face stressors from aspects such as jobs, commuting, and other people. A University of Gothenburg study showed, however, that good partner relationships can act as a buffer to work stress. Being positive and employing successful stress management techniques can help couples forge ahead during tough times. Partners can make their loved one feel supported in many ways - by listening to them, honoring promises made, and (if their ‘love language’ is gift giving) by occasionally cheering them up with tokens of affection. Ideal presents for tense boyfriends and girlfriends or spouses include vibrating massagers, gaming consoles, or essential oil diffusers. Those who opt for the latter should choose lavender oil, which has been found in studies to lower stress levels. Couples can also battle stress through tried-and-tested holistic practices such as yoga and meditation, found in study after study to lower cortisol (stress hormone) levels.

Improving Sleep Quantity And Quality

Couples should take sleep seriously, committing to a regular sleep schedule and investing (if necessary) in removing barriers to good sleep quantity and quality. Changes may need to be made to one’s home design - for instance, couples may agree to remove TVs and other electronic devices from the bedroom. Couples can also look into replacing old beds and pillows, soundproofing their room, investing in an air conditioning/heating system, and replacing old curtains with those that block light out completely.

Relationship stress can impact sleep quantity and quality, as all sources of stress can. Studies have revealed, moreover, that this type of stress in early adulthood can affect sleep quality later in life. It is important for couples to tackle both stress and sleep issues proactively, since failing to do so can have negative consequences in one’s personal and professional life.

The Importance of Bedtime to Couples

Once you take the needed steps to bring back romance into your life, you will reap the benefits. Not only will your communication become better, but you will have more understanding for each other. It will bring a closer connection and more love. Once this happens, the bedroom will start seeing the benefits. 

A happy wife is a happy life, as they say. How true this statement is. You will realize that by agreeing to head to bed simultaneously every day and not talking about work or deadlines, your sex life will improve, and therefore your overall mood will too. By giving your partner a massage once a week and vice versa, you will be more in tune with each other and more likely to want to get it on in the bedroom. 

All good relationships have a healthy sex life. So, steps should be taken to ensure that you both understand what is important in your life. But once you reach them, you will feel better about yourself and better about your partner. Bedtimes for many couples have been lost. It was sacred at one time in a relationship, and now the bedroom is where one goes to sleep, and the other partner comes a little later to sleep.

To bring back bedtime as a couple is not difficult. Just talk to each other. Understand that if you want a healthy relationship, you need to spend time together. Once you start the process, you will love it. Work and stress will take a back seat while communication, love, romance, and sex will take the driver’s seat. Your life will feel better, and your body and mind will be strong and healthy. 

The best thing about it is that your work life will also improve. Life is always about balance. Once you find balance in both work and your personal life, you have found harmony, which is the ultimate satisfaction and will make life going forward so much more comfortable in every aspect. 

Snoring and Sleepy

Topics: insomnia, stress, couples

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