Most people who have been in a relationship that involves a lot of sleepovers understands that when one person doesn’t get restful sleep, both of you often wind up in bad moods that morning. I personally have a lot of trouble sleeping in the first place, so when a partner wakes me up and I’m not ready to be woken, I get super grumpy, even if I’m still actually asleep. This sometimes sets the tone for the rest of the morning because the other person might not have intended on upsetting me, but I was exhausted and needed to sleep, so neither of us feel like the other is paying attention to our needs. Apparently, poor sleep can leave lots of folks feeling unappreciated, according to a study by the University of California, Berkeley.
When looking at couples’ sleep habits and how those relate to gratitude, researchers found that not getting enough restful sleep can lead to one partner feeling unappreciated because the other is often “too tired to say thanks.” Psychologist and lead investigator of the study Amie Gordon says that sleep can make people selfish.
“Poor sleep may make us more selfish as we prioritize our own needs over our partner’s… You may have slept like a baby, but if your partner didn’t, you’ll probably both end up grouchy.”
The study found the impact that a partner’s sleep habits can have on the other’s and how that interdependence works. For example, people prioritize their sleep over that of their partners by turning on music to drown out snoring or pulling the covers onto their own side. This results in one or both people getting unsuccessful sleep and feeling less sensitive to the other person’s needs and moods.
In one her experiments, Gordon asked participants to keep a diary chronicling their sleep patterns and how they felt about their significant others the next day. In another, she videotaped participants performing problem-solving tasks. Those who had slept the least, in both experiments, were the least able to show gratitude for and recount the good things about their significant others.
So, get more sleep, Blisstreers! Or, if you’re a born insomniac, too, at least remember to show some appreciation whenever possible to your partner.
Photo: Elizabeth Welsh / Flickr