Past research has tied poor sleep to increased risk of cancer, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes, but new research adds ruined relationships to the list. And since so many of us get less than the recommended seven to nine hours of shut-eye, it is no wonder our relationships are suffering.
Researchers at the Ohio State University discovered that people who sleep less than seven hours per night had a higher risk of becoming hostile towards their partners. If one partner had enough sleep, however, there were lower chances of a fight or resolving an argument in a hostile way.
The research team asked 43 couples to argue about their common issues in laboratory conditions. The discussions were recorded. Volunteers agreed to have their levels of TNF-alpha and IL-6 proteins measured. High levels of these two proteins can boost the risk of diabetes and other chronic diseases.
While sleep deprivation did not alter these markers it did lead to arguments that boosted the markers. Past studies had revealed that men tend to be more aggressive than women after one night of poor sleep. The research also showed that couples tend to start hostilities after just two weeks of sleep deprivation.
The Ohio research revealed that there is a link between sleep deprivation, conflict and a rise in inflammatory markers that can lead to disease. We may be aware that lack of sleep makes us short tempered and less able to make decisions or be empathic. Lack of sleep also takes a heavy toll on the partners’ sense of humor, which is a must-have in any relationship.
Researchers explained that sleep deprivation affects the part of the brain that enables us to solve problems. Without sufficient sleep, it is hard to be an active listener, have a good sense of humor and be open to another person’s suggestions.
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