According to a recent poll about how the pandemic has influenced couples, 1 in 10 find themselves very likely to separate, 1 in 5 couples report more fighting than before, and 1 in 3 feel more annoyed with their partner when compared before the pandemic.
Luckily, you can improve your intimate relationship with better sleep. Even though it may sound surprising, but sleep can have a transformative impact on relationships. The truth is, sleep-deprived couples fight more often and are less likely to solve a conflict successfully, according to studies. Similarly, if only one of the partners is short on sleep, it will also impact the other’s mood and thus affect their relationship.
Having said that, here’s a list of how sleep can help you strengthen and improve your intimate relationship.
To communicate effectively with over beloved ones we need to activate a complex set of cognitive skills at once including attention and focus, emotional control, facility with language, reasoning, and patience.
But, how does sleep affect those skills? In fact, sleep deprivation makes people more sensitive and emotionally reactive because it increases the activity of the brain center, called the amygdala, responsible for emotional rapid response. As a result, we become intensely reactive to everything around us.
Plus, lack of sleep affects our ability to recognize other people’s emotions in general and to accurately identify both positive and negative emotions. So, better sleep means better cognitive skills and thus better communication.
Empathy is a key element of durable relationships filled with love and support. When we have more empathy we can relate deeply to other’s people feelings and strengthen our relationship.
Several studies show that sleep deprivation reduces our capacity of being empathic with others. Namely, according to one study conducted in 2014 on almost 40 healthy adults, even one night of poor sleep can negatively affect both direct (the conscious relating to other’s emotional experience) and indirect empathy (the physiological response to other’s emotional experience).
And, in tough times like these, you need to show empathy and understand your partner truly in you want to improve your relationship. Fortunately, sleep can help you with this too.
The coronavirus has made us spend lots of time at home, juggling between jobs, household chores, and childcare. And, when you seriously think of it, that’s actually a lot of responsibilities. This pressure also impacts our ability to appreciate our partners and makes us complain about everything done from loading the dishwasher to cooking dinner.
Lack of sleep only worsens this situation and puts emotional distance between couples since it impairs gratitude for our romantic partners which has also been proven by research. Precisely speaking, a study of more than 60 couples showed that getting enough sleep makes them feel unappreciated by their partners.
Plus, similar to the effect sleep has on communication, if only one partner is short on sleep, it means that both of them will lose their gratitude and appreciation for each other.
Last but not least, better sleep leads to better and more sex. Of course, you knew this and didn’t need an expert to tell you that tired and short on sleep couples aren’t likely to enjoy sex often and to its fullest.
The main issue here is that couples, in general, usually limit sex to bedtime. But, this is a real killer to your intimate relationship since biologically-speaking bedtime is the worst time for sex due to low testosterone levels, which are highest in the morning.
Furthermore, poor sleep harms both sexual function and arousal, for both men and women. Indeed, sleep deprivation reduces testosterone levels which hamper sex drive and sexual pleasure and also increase the risk of experiencing erectile dysfunction in men. Erectile dysfunction is closely linked to obstructive sleep apnea too. So, again we may conclude that sleep will improve our sex life and thus strengthen our intimate relationship.