You may have never thought about how your sleep habits affect your relationship. Truth is, they can make a difference in your marriage. You may have heard the old saying, “Laugh and the world laughs with you; snore and you sleep alone!”

Some nights we find ourselves tossing and turning and unable to find rest. Without proper rest, we can wake up tired and cranky. We look at our spouse and think, “Why does she pull off my covers?” or “His snoring makes sleep impossible!” Whatever the sleep woe, it can affect more than your mood—it can impact your marriage. Improve your sleep, improve your marriage!

On the positive side, good sleep can bring more intimacy. In fact, one study found that men treated their wives better when they got a good night’s rest. To make a restful night even better, try cuddling. It has a positive effect on both partners and can lower anxiety and bring feelings of security to a relationship. And the closer the better! A study in the UK found that an inch apart is better than 30 inches! You don’t need a tape measure to ensure proper distance—just get close, touch, and be together!

Sleeping a good seven hours or more also helps you better regulate your emotions. It gives the body time to reboot. Consequently, better sleep may prevent hostile interactions brought on by sleep deprivation and stress. Basically, good sleep helps reduce conflict because you are emotionally and physically rested.

Some of you are thinking, “I am trying to get a good night’s sleep, but my partner snores! I wake up in the middle of the night and find myself grumpy the next day.” It’s true, distractions and interruptions lead to an irritable mood and more bickering the next day. Sleep distractions at night add up to less appreciation for our relationship the next day. If snoring is due to sleep apnea, a common cause, convince your partner to use a sleep aid like a CPAP machine. It will not only improve physical health but might save your marriage.

Loss of sleep can also aid memory loss. Hmmm…maybe he forgot to take out the trash because he didn’t sleep well. Also, try adding a little pink noise (lower frequency than white noise) to help block out noise, but also to improve what is called slow-wave sleep (linked to memory). We need sleep to make memories stick. I tell this to college kids all the time. Staying up all night to study will end in irritability and a lack of memory.

And what about late-night TV watching and binging our favorite Netflix series? What does that do to a relationship? Researchers found that it results in less sleep, but also makes you less interested in your partner. This may be related to the connection between depression and loss of sleep. So, turn off the TV, cuddle, and get some z’s!

If your relationship could use a little improving, consider getting sleep as one way to prevent marital dissatisfaction and to make you a better person to be around. Do your part to create intimacy and satisfaction by paying attention to your sleep patterns and how they affect your relationship.

Sleep habits and your relationship