Lack of sleep can leave you cranky, unable to focus, and prone to giving in to cravings, but new research proves that it can also make you more irritable with your partner. So the solution to a happier relationship becomes pretty obvious, no? You both need to get enough sleep.
Before you head off to couple’s counseling, consider just how much sleep you’ve been getting. A study coming out of Ohio State University shows that people who slept less than seven hours (and definitely less than the recommended eight) were more likely to become hostile and verbally negative to their partner.
“When people have slept less, it’s a little like looking at the world through dark glasses,” said Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, the director of the study, tells the New York Times. “Their moods are poorer. We’re grumpier. Lack of sleep hurts the relationship.”
And it becomes even worse if the both of you have had a serious lack of shuteye. But if just one partner has caught enough zzz’s to change their attitudes, the chances of a fight go way down. And isn’t that ultimately what we all want?
Turns out, the first thing to go when you’re more than a bit irritated and sleep deprived is your sense of humor, the study authors say. And once that ability to laugh, or laugh at yourself, goes away, you’re immediately more likely to get angsty with your bae.
“It’s not the fact that the couples were disagreeing; it’s the lack of sleep and the way in which they disagreed,” Kiecolt-Glaser adds. “The better functioning couples could do it with humor and kindness but clearly still disagree. The poorer functioning couples could get pretty nasty.”
“Losing sleep here and there and coming across interpersonal tensions in daily life is really common for people,” says Stephanie Wilson, the lead author of the study. “These are small vulnerabilities that may add up. It teaches you the importance of getting rested every night and handling disagreements in a mindful way.”
Bonus pro tip: consider sleeping in the nude. It could have even more sexy and relationship-healing benefits than sleeping alone, if you catch our drift.