Selected Podcast

Sleep: Your Relationship Fix?

Sleep: Your Relationship Fix?
Do you bicker with your mate? Does it seem like you’re always snipping at one another?

Maybe one or both of you need more sleep.

A recent study from Ohio State University shows that sleep deprivation can affect the quality of relationships. Participants were brought into the lab to resolve a marital conflict. They were prompted to cover a disagreement personally provided in a survey. An interviewer made them discuss these hot-button issues and come to a resolution in 20 to 30 minutes.

Researchers coded how nasty the couples were to each other. When both members of the couple slept less than seven hours, they were meaner to each other than if one or both of them got at least seven hours rest. Relationship conflict is harder on the body when the partners aren’t well-rested. These couples didn’t have regular sleep issues.

Those who didn’t get a regular amount of sleep over a few nights didn’t have increased inflammation but did have increased inflammatory responses. In fact, your difficulty sleeping can affect your partner’s health and well-being over time.

If one partner has chronic sleep problems, the other partner may have more inflammation.

One or both of you needs to get at least seven hours of sleep. If you’re disagreeing regularly, put yourself in your partner’s shoes. Express your emotions in an honest way while being understanding. Reframe the conflict. This will help reduce your conflict.

How to Get Some Sleep

  • Set and follow a sleep schedule. A bedtime regimen with help.
  • Turn off those screens.
  • Consider sleeping separately if one of you is having sleep problems that interrupt the other.
Listen as Dr. Stephanie Wilson joins Dr. Pamela Peeke to share the importance of sleep in a relationship.


Smarty Pants Vitamins
Featured Speaker:
Stephanie Wilson, PhD
Dr. Stephanie WilsonStephanie Wilson, PhD, is a postdoctoral fellow at Ohio State University’s Institute of Behavioral Medicine Research.

She completed her PhD at Penn State and studies how social interactions in close relationships shape health and development across adulthood.