Prioritize Sleep for Better Relationships

A week after adjusting the clocks ahead to Daylight Savings Time, hopefully, most people will have re-established a good sleep routine and shaken off the brain fog that comes with losing an hour of sleep.  Good sleep is vital to overall health and wellbeing, and when one partner struggles with falling or staying asleep, it can affect the relationship.  But with open dialogue, couples can problem-solve to ensure both people are able to prioritize sleep and get the rest they need to be productive, healthy and a better partner. 

According to recent studies, more than 60 percent of Americans are sleeping with a partner.  Because disruptions from one restless partner can interrupt the sleep of the other, a “sleep divorce” can be a healthy choice when other options are exhausted. 

Sleep can also suffer if partners have different sleep/wake patterns. Being mindful of one another’s natural sleep cycle and making small adjustments to accommodate both partner’s needs will result in more daytime harmony.

Sleep etiquette isn’t often talked about between couples but without good sleep, we can’t be our best selves – poor sleep may also contribute to health problems.  Sleep habits can be linked with relationship health and by treating sleep disorders such as snoring, apnea or insomnia, couples can have a healthier sex life and relationship. 

Author and clinical psychologist Wendy M. Troxel is a sleep researcher and a leading expert on how fundamentally sleep affects all aspects of our lives.  Her recent Ted Talk on couples and sleep help partners navigate sleep choices like having separate bedrooms and improve relationships with proper rest. She urges couples to prioritize sleep and think of it as an investment in their relationship. 

Because sleep has such an influence on marital satisfaction and quality, which has been found to predict physical health outcomes, treating sleep disorders not only may improve relationships but also helps prevent chronic illness and pain and improve immune function. 

Troxel’s latest book Sharing the Covers: Every Couple’s Guide to Better Sleep will be released in April 2021, and it serves as a roadmap to solving sleep problems and building a healthier relationship.