Sleep Health

Sleeping in Sync When the Wife is Happy

A study done at the University of Pittsburgh suggests that couples are more likely to sleep in sync when the wife is more satisfied with their marriage. Results show that overall synchrony in sleep-wake schedules among couples was high, as those who slept in the same bed were awake or asleep at the same time about 75 percent of the time. When the wife reported higher marital satisfaction, the percent of time the couple was awake or asleep at the same time was greater.

The research abstract was published in an online supplement of the journal Sleep and was presented Wednesday, June 4th 2014, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, at SLEEP 2014, the 28th annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC.

A release from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine quotes lead author Heather Gunn, PhD as saying, “Most of what is known about sleep comes from studying it at the individual level; however, for most adults, sleep is a shared behavior between bed partners. How couples sleep together may influence and be influenced by their relationship functioning.”

The study group consisted of 46 couples who completed relationship assessments. In addition, objective sleep data were gathered over a 10-day period by actigraphy, a method of monitoring human rest/activity cycles.

“The sleep of married couples is more in sync on a minute-by-minute basis than the sleep of random individuals,” said Gunn. “This suggests that our sleep patterns are regulated not only by when we sleep, but also by with whom we sleep.”

The study was led by Wendy M. Troxel, PhD, behavioral and social scientist at the RAND Corporation and an adjunct professor of psychiatry and psychology at the University of Pittsburgh. Research funding was provided by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI; HL093220) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Established in 1975, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) improves sleep health and promotes high quality patient centered care through advocacy, education, strategic research, and practice standards. With about 9,000 members, the AASM is the largest professional membership society for physicians, scientists and other health care providers dedicated to sleep medicine.

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