When wives can’t fall asleep, the marriage can suffer, a new study finds, but a husband’s lack of sleep doesn’t have the same effect.
Researchers tested the sleep patterns of 35 young and healthy married couples for 10 nights using sensors that monitored activity and rest cycles, according to MedicineNet. Wives with sleeping difficulties showed significantly more negative marital interactions the next day.
“Women are generally more expressive and tend to drive the emotional climate of a couple's relationship,” Wendy Troxel, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and the study's lead researcher explained. “Wives who can’t sleep are more likely to express stress, be irritable and verbalize their feelings.”
“Men are more likely to repress their feelings or not be as aware or tuned into the climate of change taking place,” Troxel added.
The couples, mostly white professionals with an average age of 32, used electronic diaries to assess daily whether their marital interactions were negative (I was ignored or criticized), or positive (I was cared for, supported). The results were independent of depressive symptoms.
The research was presented Monday in Minneapolis at the annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies.