Quality of your relationship and sleep closely linked, studies find

Poor sleep can take its toll on your relationship. A responsive partner can make you sleep better, though. Adam Taylor/Getty Images

In case you didn’t get the memo: Sleep is a pretty big deal that can affect essentially every aspect of your life, including your relationship.

We spend up to a third of our life asleep. And how well you sleep is linked to how well you think your partner understands you and cares for you, suggests a new study published this week in Social Personality and Psychological Science.

It examined close to 700 married or cohabiting adults aged 35 to 86.

“Our findings show that individuals with responsive partners experience lower anxiety… which in turn improves their sleep quality,” lead author Dr. Emre Selçuk, a developmental and social psychologist at Middle East Technical University in Turkey, explained in a statement.

Your partner’s attentiveness — a core aspect of romantic relationships — can not only lead to better sleep, but other research has shown better sleep can also make you see your partner in a more positive light.

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A study in the Journal of Family Psychology last month found when 68 newlywed couples (who were heterosexual, predominately white, with an average age of 24) got above-average sleep, they were more likely to feel satisfied about their marriage the next day.

The satisfaction levels were based on factors like conflict resolution, affection, dependability, sex, and chores; as well as satisfaction in their marriage and partner overall.

While the sample may have been small, anyone who’s gotten into a fight while exhausted knows the toll tiredness can take.

We’re not as rational when we don’t sleep, sex and relationship expert Jessica O’Reilly said in 2015.

“When we’re not well-rested, we overreact to the smallest things…we don’t make good decisions.”

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She added that when faced with the choice between sex and sleep, you should choose the latter — unless your partner is wide awake and prepared to do all the work, she joked.

O’Reilly believes getting more sleep is the number one thing you can do to  improve your relationship.

WATCH: More on sleep and relationships

The state of our sleep

The majority of Canadians are sleep-deprived, a state that can have major effects on both your mind and body.

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Sleep expert Rachel Morehouse, a psychiatry professor at Dalhousie University, told Global News in May sleep-deprivation can make people more impatient, anxious, sad, and difficult to get along with. It can also hinder their productivity at school or in the workplace, as tiredness makes memory retention a challenge.

All those factors can contribute to you being overall less happy, which will undoubtedly trickle down to your love life.

In the long-term, fatigue can take a toll on your physical health, too. It can contribute to problems like high blood pressure, Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, and wreak havoc on your waistline.

WATCH: Here’s why your sleepless night is giving you the munchies

Are you more likely to eat junk food when tired?
Are you more likely to eat junk food when tired?

Those who sleep fewer than six hours a night are 30 per cent more likely to become obese than someone who sleeps seven to nine hours, research shows.

It’s been found people make bad food choices when they don’t get enough sleep.  But just like with sleep and relationships, it can go both ways. People can also improve their sleep through proper diet.

READ MORE: Here’s what you should be eating for a good night’s sleep, according to scientists

Doctors at Columbia University Medical Center discovered when people ate more fiber, they fell into a deeper sleep. Saturated fat interrupted a person’s slumber, and a higher sugar intake was tied to a more restless night.

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So aside from curbing those cravings, the next time you feel cranky with your partner, the best thing you might be able to do for your relationship is to get a good night’s sleep.

Or at least take a nap.


With files from Carmen Chai and Brennan Leffler, Global News