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You know he loves you—but if your fiancé or hubby has seemed a little unhappy these days, it could be less about you, and more about the quality of sleep he's getting!
That's the fascinating finding of a 2013 study by researchers at University of California Berkeley. Poor sleep, the researchers found, can not only make us grumpy, short-tempered, and more prone to over-eating, but it can also make us act less grateful for the one we love most: "Poor sleep may make us more selfish as we prioritize our own needs over our partner's," says Amie Gordon, a UC Berkeley psychologist and lead investigator of the study.
Being in sync—with sleep, that is—seems to be a big key to happy relationships, say the researchers, who even noted that when one partner tosses and turns he (or she) is more likely to be emotionally independent and less in tune with his or her partner.
"You may have slept like a baby, but if your partner didn't, you'll probably both end up grouchy," said Gordon.
In the study, more than 60 couples ranging in age from 18 to 56 shared how their sleep patterns affected their "gratitude" to their partners. Participants were also challenged with problem-solving tasks, and those who slept poorly were more likely to have less appreciation for their partner.
Yikes! Talk about incentive to hit the hay. So how can both of you get more sleep? Try these research-tested, tried-and-true ways to get more shut-eye:
*Go to bed at the same time each night. Research shows that when we train our bodies to fall asleep at the same time every night, we're more likely to have higher quality sleep and less tossing and turning.
*Work out earlier: An after-work jog is great, but if your workout is pushed too late in the evening, that could spell trouble. The adrenaline response that workouts give off could wreak havoc on your sleep.
*Abstain from that late-afternoon coffee: Yes, coffee has lots of health benefits, but when you drink it too late in the day, it could interfere with your ability to doze off. Best bet? Cut yourself off at 4:00 pm in the afternoon, say experts.
Bottom line: Next time he's yawning (and grouchy at you), you'll know that he just needs a nap—stat!