Sleep Helps Relationships: Poor Night’s Sleep Leads To Less Empathy, More Negativity, Selfishness In Couples [REPORT]

By Philip Ross on August 6, 2013 4:08 PM EDT

sleep helps relationships
Sleep helps relationships, say researchers in California. All the more reason to catch some well-deserved Zzz’s! (Photo: Flickr/bradleypjohnson)

Sleep helps relationships stay afloat, say researchers in California. Apparently, a lack of shuteye can lead to less empathy, more negativity and selfishness in couples. The study on how sleep helps relationships even shows that just one night's bad sleep can increase relationship conflict the following day.

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Researchers from the University of California at Berkeley looked at sleep patterns in couples, and how sleep affected the way people in relationships interacted with one another after a poor night's slumber. The study on how sleep helps relationships looked at 78 couples over a two-week period. Researchers had them take note of their sleep quality and track any arguments the couples had.

"For the first time, to our knowledge, we can see the process of how the nature, degree, and resolution of conflict are negatively impacted by poor sleep," Serena Chen, a professor of psychology at UC Berkeley, told Huffington Post.

The study, titled "The Role of Sleep in Interpersonal Conflict: Do Sleepless Nights Mean Worse Fights?" and published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, says that couples were better prepared to deal with conflict after getting a full night's rest. From the study on how sleep helps relationships:

Conflict resolution occurred most when both partners were well rested. Effects were not explained by stress, anxiety, depression, lack of relationship satisfaction, or by partners being the source of poor sleep. Overall, these findings highlight a key factor that may breed conflict, thereby putting relationships at risk.

According to PsyBlog, when couples didn't get enough sleep, the likelihood of there being more negativity between the two skyrocketed. Also, after a night of tossing and turning, partners found it more difficult to judge each other's emotions.

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