At 3am this morning, my wife and I lay awake in bed. An enormous rainstorm was passing overhead, pounding the roof of our home and making me wonder just how sturdy that roof was. The storm eventually passed, but it took both of us a while to fall back to sleep.
When we awoke this morning for our morning routine with the children–breakfast, baths, teethbrushing, backpacks–I noticed that I was a bit slower and grouchier than usual. I didn’t realize how my lack of sleep was affecting my relationship with my wife until I stumbled upon this article later in the morning. It seems the amount and quality of our sleep really does have an impact on our relationship.
Sleep and Relationships
What they looked at in this study was the relationship between sleep and gratitude. These researchers at UC Berkeley found that those who had a poor night’s sleep were less likely to be grateful and appreciative.
The researchers went on to look at how sleep affected relationships. What they found was that “people tended to feel less appreciated by their partners if either they or their partner slept poorly.”
When I thought back on this morning and my grouchy state, I realized that this was a big part of the dark cloud that rested over me. I felt unappreciated for the breakfast that I had made for the whole family. As I think back on this morning, I also realize that I was not grateful for the fact that my wife helped to bathe the children.
Getting Better Sleep
If you and your partner would like to improve your sleep life, here are a few ideas.
Don’t watch tv or use your computer for at least an hour before bed. Use that time to allow your mind to wind down. If there is a tv in your bedroom, you might want to consider taking it out of there. Not only will it interfere with your sleep life, it will interfere with your sex life. Laptops might have the same affect. Keep your bedroom and your bed as a place for sleep and for intimacy. All the other distractions can remain in other parts of the house.
Create a before bed ritual. The process of doing a set routine with the intention of going to sleep can help to signal the body that you are preparing for sleep.
Practice gratitude before going to sleep. I find it beneficial to meditate on all the things that I am grateful for that happened during the day. Just taking a few minutes to think about what I am grateful for helps me become aware of the positive aspects of my day. This is calming and helps any stress that might be present subside.
Rub your partner’s shoulders. Some intimate contact, even if it isn’t sexual contact can be very soothing at bed time. By sharing a few moments to caress and massage one another can be calming for both of you.