WASHINGTON: Couples who get a good night's sleep are more satisfied with their marriage - at least the following day, a new study suggests.
"The universality of our findings is important. That is, we know all people need sleep," said Jim McNulty from Florida State University in the US.
"Regardless of the stage at which a couple is in their relationship or the cultural context in which they are embedded, each member of the couple can be adversely affected by not getting enough sleep," said McNulty.
The study highlights the significance of sleep as it relates to self-regulation or self-control, which influences how married couples feel and think about their partner.
Self-control requires energy that can be replenished when our bodies are in the resting period known as sleep. In other words, sleep offers self-regulatory benefits to relationships, researchers said.
"Up to one-third of married or cohabiting adults report that sleep problems burden their relationship," they said.
Other sleep studies have indicated that even partial sleep deprivation can have harmful effects on processes that require self-regulation, like evaluating how you feel about your partner.
However, results in this study showed that differences between couples' sleep durations was not associated with differences in marital satisfaction.
That is, because one couple gets more sleep than another does not mean that the couple that experienced more sleep viewed their marriage more favourably, researchers said.
Researchers conducted the study with 68 newly-wed couples. Over a seven-day period, couples recorded the number of hours they slept and then responded to two sets of questions on a scale of 1 (not satisfied at all) to 7 (extremely satisfied).
The first set measured overall relationship satisfaction, asking husbands and wives to respond to questions such as, "how satisfied were you with your marriage today?"
The other set focused on relationship experiences in nine areas including chores, the amount of time spent together and conflict resolution.
Husbands especially were less negatively affected by bad experiences in those nine areas when they got more sleep, researchers said.
Sleep buffered the effects of specific negative events and evaluations on their broader, more general satisfaction with their marriages, they said.
The findings were published in the Journal of Family Psychology.