A recent research conducted by Florida State University (FSU) Psychology Professor Jim McNulty and graduate student Heather Maranges found that when a married or cohabitating couple regularly get enough sleep, partners tend to view the relationship more positively.
The study, published in the Journal of Family Psychology, surveyed 68 married couples over a seven-day period, asking them to record the number of hours they slept and to rate their relationship satisfaction on a scale of one (not satisfied at all) to seven (very satisfied). The survey also asked couples to rate their satisfaction with certain relationship experiences, like household chores, conflict resolution, and amount of time spent together.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, people (and especially husbands) were less affected by negative experiences in those relationship areas if they had gotten more sleep the previous night. In other words, getting more sleep meant that they felt less cranky about negative aspects of their relationship, e.g., that recurring argument about who’s messier or who hogs the bed more.
It should be obvious why getting more sleep makes people less cranky, but to get scientific about it, getting some shut-eye might be a major key to regulating your self-control, according to other research. Even a little bit of sleep deprivation negatively affects your glucose levels, a key component of your willpower. Translation: not getting enough sleep can make you more susceptible to impulsive decisions, like lashing out at your spouse for forgetting an anniversary or even evaluating how you feel about your partner.
“Up to one-third of married or cohabiting adults report that sleep problems burden their relationship,” the researchers wrote in the paper.
However, researchers also noted that just because one couple gets more sleep than another does not mean that they are comparatively more satisfied with their relationship. Rather, it just meant that they reported better overall satisfaction in their own relationship if they got more rest.