Sleeping is a natural cycle necessary for proper functioning of the mind and body. As insignificant as sleep may seem to some people, it does have positive and negative effects on relationships.
Are You Getting Enough Sleep?
People spend a third of their lives sleeping. The average adult should get at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep. Getting adequate rest keeps you calm, focused, and energized to complete daily tasks. In fact, studies show that people who get 7 or more hours of sleep each day tend to be happier.
Imagine how sleep would affect your relationships if you were always rested and happy. In the state of such ideal, you would probably get along well with your spouse or partner, children, friends, and your boss.
Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Your Relationships
In the real world, most people do not get enough sleep within any given 24-hour period. This has significant implications for their relationships and overall quality of life. Persistent lack of sleep or chronic sleep deprivation is a common reason romantic, family, and work relationships are fraught with problems. Studies show that spouses with fewer sleep issues tend to have happier relationships.
The following effects of sleep deprivation can have a direct impact on the quality of your relationships:
Unpredictable Moods: Mood swings due to lack of sleep can be a source of arguments or disagreements. Stress, irritability, anxiety, and hostility are linked to foul moods. You may feel depressed or have emotional outbursts if things don’t go your way. Having unpredictable moods can make your partner or children unsure of your state of mind. This can cause them to avoid interacting with you just to avoid conflict.
Loss of Attraction: Physical attraction helps keep couples drawn to each other. With persistent lack of sleep, you may develop ‘bags’ or dark circles under your eyes. Dry, dull skin may occur due to lack of shut eye. During sleep, the body renews cells and produce collagen that help to hydrate the skin to keep it looking soft, firm, and youthful. Being awake may inhibit this process and contribute to signs of aging such as wrinkles and frown lines. Eventually, your relationship can suffer if your partner no longer finds you attractive.
Lack of Sexual Desire: Loss of interest in sex can spark problems in your marriage or romantic relationship if one or both of you are suffering from “sleep debt.” Low sex drive is a common cause of breakups. Losing sleep affects hormone levels. Chronic lack of sleep is linked to low testosterone in men. Women may experience vaginal dryness or pain and become less interested in sex.
Unhappiness: When you lack sleep, you’re often drowsy, cranky and can’t even appreciate some sense of humor. Life doesn’t seem as enjoyable anymore, because you always seem too tired to do fun things with your partner or family. Heck! You struggle to stay awake on the job. No wonder your boss has been complaining about your poor work performance. If you are not happy, chances are those you are in close relationships with are also unhappy.
Difficulty Parenting: Lack of shut-eye can put a strain on the relationship between you and your kids. When you are deprived of sleep, you aren’t too happy and positive parenting goes out the window! You may be easily angered, yell, or be less patient, loving or empathetic when responding to your children’s needs. Younger children especially may think they did something wrong and may feel hurt or unloved and may withdraw.
Forgetting Important Things: In the day-to-day management of a family or a relationship, remembering important things is critical. Since lack of sleep dramatically affects concentration and memory, you may find yourself forgetting a birthday, anniversary or a deadline. These and other things, for example, not remembering to pack lunch for the kids or pick them up from school can trigger conflict in your relationship with your partner or children.
Healthy sleep habits improve physical, emotional, and mental health and can significantly reduce problems in relationships caused by sleep deprivation. So, in case you’ve been wondering why things have been kind of chaotic lately, it’s probably because you really do need a good night’s rest.