Getting through the day when you’ve barely slept can be a nightmare. You’re bleary-eyed and fuzzy-brained, unfocused and irritable, jacked up on caffeine and ready to crash by mid-afternoon.
On top of all that, skimping on shuteye can spell disaster for your relationship. According to studies, sleep deprivation can take a serious toll on even the happiest couples.
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people ages 18 to 60 get at least seven hours of sleep a day, but a growing number of adults are ‘short sleepers’ who regularly average fewer.
If your beauty rest isn’t so beautiful these days, are are five ways it could be negatively impacting your relationship with a significant other.
You Fight Dirty
All couples have disagreements, but how you disagree matters. A study at Ohio State University’s Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research found that high-functioning couples handle conflicts constructively, with humour and kindness. Sleep deprived couples, on the other hand, tend to display more negative emotions and handle conflict resolution with hostility.
You’re Less Attractive
Spending adequate time in slumberland is essential if you want to maintain your handsomeness. Humans not only desire good-looking partners, we also have a handful of psychological biases that makes us think attractive people are better people overall. The ‘physical attractiveness stereotype’ is a tendency to assume that individuals who are aesthetically attractive also possess other socially desirable personality traits, like confidence and intelligence. A Swedish study confirmed that sleep-starved people are perceived as less healthy and less attractive – and therefore less desirable – than their well-slept counterparts.
Your Sex Drive Is Shot
Sleep deprivation is linked to depleted energy, increased tension, low libido, and decreased interest in sex. If you have sleep apnea in addition to sleeping insufficient hours, you may also have low testosterone levels. In a study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism in 2002, nearly half of male participants who suffered from severe sleep apnea also secreted abnormally low levels of testosterone during the night.
Your Funny Bone Is Broken
A good sense of humour is consistently rated as one of the most attractive qualities a man can have, but it fluctuates with your ability to get a good night’s sleep. Humour requires high-level cognition, which is impaired by a lack of quality slumber. A 2006 study discovered a link between an inability to appreciate verbal humour and sleep loss – one the couldn’t be fixed with caffeine or other stimulants.
You Don’t Express Gratitude
Both partners must feel appreciated for a relationship to stay strong. Unfortunately, according to researchers from the University of California at Berkeley, sleep deprivation can leave you “too tired to say thanks,” making your other half feel taken for granted. “Poor sleep may make us more selfish as we prioritise our own needs over our partner’s,” says Amie Gordon, a UC Berkeley psychologist and lead investigator of the study. “Make sure to say ‘thanks’ when your partner does something nice.”