Picture source: Pixabay
As a kid, you hated your parents telling you to go to bed. But now, as a busy adult, you can't wait to take the load off and sleep. So many times, you hit the snooze button in your alarm, hoping for a chance to catch a few more winks.
Sleep has so many emotional, physical, and mental benefits. Thus, having too little to no sleep at all will bring a lot of negative effects on your health. These negative effects are often serious that sleep deprivation was even used as a torture method.
There are some pretty harrowing tales of detainees having to suffer through such interrogation techniques. The CIA has even come under the spotlight for using sleep deprivation. The effects are extreme fatigue, disorientation, severe lethargy, and social withdrawal.
It doesn't end there, though. You will notice that your relationships will suffer from a lack of sleep. Indeed this latter part forms the basis of this article. And, we will provide plenty of scientific evidence to support whatever we share.
Sleep and Its Effect on Your Relationships
Sleep and Emotional Imbalance
If you are a parent or have lived with kids, you know how they behave when they don't get nap time. They become irritable, and soothing them is next to impossible. Well, it all has to do with one part of the brain.
The amygdala is the part of the brain that regulates memory and emotions. Lack of enough sleep will throw the amygdala out of sync. It will play havoc with neurotransmitter production, resulting in less or more than what is necessary. When this happens, your emotions will be all over the place.
A study shows that the effect is especially severe amongst men. Poor sleep quality directly correlates with amygdala reactivity, perceived stress, and negative affect. Yet, restoring the optimal amygdala environment is as simple as improving your sleep quality.
How easy do you think it is to live or be in a relationship with a sleep-deprived partner? You have to walk on eggshells because you never know how they will react to the smallest things. Lack of enough sleep will make you angry and aggressive. You will find it hard to adapt to situations and experience extreme irritation with very small things.
- Sleep for Stress Management
Your long hours mean you don't get a chance to enjoy more than 4 hours of sleep. What you may not want to admit is the fatigue and pressure of life are proving too much to handle. And the truth is you cannot fall asleep because of the thoughts swirling through your mind.
Inadequate sleep also brings irregularity with your hormones such as progesterone, estrogen, testosterone, and cortisol. Such hormonal imbalance and stress can lead to health problems such as vaginal itching and yeast infection.
When experiencing stress, the body releases cortisol, which elevates blood sugar. The yeast in your body feeds on the sugar, resulting in a candida overgrowth. Having to deal with these conditions will make you more irritable but it can be easily cured with products containing probiotics for the vagina.
You must take relevant steps to handle your stress levels. Make it a priority to get enough sleep every day. The sleep benefits will become apparent almost immediately. You will feel more relaxed, and everyone around you will notice a mood elevation.
- Sleep and Empathy
The ability to empathize is a critical component for people in healthy relationships. You must be able to feel what your partner is feeling at all times. When they are sad or happy, you should resonate with that emotion. That way, you can better regulate your responses depending on the situation.
You see, the ability to share someone else's feelings or emotions is thanks to extended neural networks. These include the insular cortex and anterior cingulate. Ok, we don't need to go too deeply into a science class.
But research shows a link between sleep quality and neural activation of the insular cortex. That will, in effect, have a direct on how much empathy you can project. Study participants viewed photos of people with neutral and distressed expressions. Those who had better sleep had more empathy for those showing distress.
Sleep and Intimacy
Develop a healthy bedtime routine with your partner. Due to hectic lifestyles, this may not always be possible. But, it is something that you both need to work on. Going to bed together is the best way to develop intimacy.
Remember, intimacy does not always mean sex. Take time to catch up or sit in companionable silence. That act of physical closeness will bring you two closer.
We did mention cortisol above. What you should know is that this hormone suppresses estrogen and testosterone production. That means your sex life will suffer if you don't sleep enough.
Here is how to work around the issue of different bedtimes. Try and schedule at least three nights in the week when you go to bed together. Think about it like the date nights you schedule into your weekly routine.
People may debate whether having a TV in the bedroom is a good idea. There is no rule book or strict guidelines on this. Decide as a couple whether to have such gadgets in the room. Even if you do, don't allow them to be a distraction. Watching a movie together is great for unwinding and can enhance intimacy. But, know when to turn off the TV and sleep.
If you want to enjoy a healthy relationship, it helps to be in a good state of mind. And, getting enough sleep is a pretty good start.
You may not always be able to squeeze in 8 hours of sleep every day. But, even if you manage six hours, focus on the quality. That means taking steps to reduce your stress levels. When you slip in between your clean sheets, don't drag the day's challenges into bed with you. Lack of enough quality sleep will exacerbate your stress levels.
You will become angry, aggressive, unempathetic, and a raging pot of seesawing emotions. Your immune system will weaken, leading to health issues and conditions like yeast infections. Your sex drive and intimacy with your partner will also suffer. Yet, the cure is so simple; get enough sleep!
Many times snoring affects a relationship in a negative way by hindering both the snorer and their partner from getting good sleep at night. It is very important to analyze your feelings that accompany the ritual of sleep, and openly share them with your partner.
With their hectic schedules, many couples often only have this time to catch up. It is no wonder why it’s crucial to their relationship. Unfortunately, snoring can force one spouse into another room for the sake of sleep, and this crucial together time is hard to replace in their busy lives otherwise.
If your marriage is suffering because you or your spouse snores, the key to reconciling is to understand that snoring is a symptom of a physical condition, such as sleep apnea, and it can be treated. There are many non-surgical, in-office and minimally invasive treatments available to snorers today. Although we at Alaska Sleep Clinic would never make the claim that we have saved marriages, we have heard back many times from patients who tell me that it wasn’t until after their snoring was cured they realized how much happier they are snuggling next to their spouse again.