A good night sleep proves critical for healthy marriage

A “good night’s sleep” is proving more critical that many of us ever thought; it may be critical to the preservation of a marriage and can potentially keep inches off your waist.

When it comes to the ever-important world of sleep and the differences between men and women, here’s just one example of the fact that sometimes life really isn’t fair: If hubby tosses and turns, it doesn’t appear to affect the marriage but, if she’s rollin’ in the rack, it may critically affect the relationship.

At least that’s the report of Wendy M. Troxel, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, at the 25th Anniversary meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, June 11–15, 2011, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Effects Of Sleep Deprivation“We found that wives’ sleep problems affect her own and her spouse’s marital functioning the next day, and these effects were independent of depressive symptoms,” reported Troxekl. “Specifically, wives who took longer to fall asleep the night before reported poorer marital functioning the next day, and so did their husbands

The sleep issues – episodes of waking after sleep onset and total sleep time – of 32 “healthy” married couples were followed for ten night using electronic diaries to measure the quality of marital interactions and measured against the sleep data. The study concluded that insomnia could negatively impact a marriage.

The results show that when wives take longer to fall asleep at night it predicted their husbands’ reports of less positive marital interaction the following day. But the opposite results – husbands taking longer to fall asleep and negative impact on the marriage – did not materialize. strife.

The authors pointed to their results as proof that insomnia can be a warning sign for marital strife. “These results highlight the importance of considering the interpersonal consequences of sleep and sleep loss,” Troxel said.

Two studies presented at the Minneapolis meeting show that being sleepy can affect our desire for carb-heavy goods.

In a study of 262 high school seniors who answered surveys on sleepiness, carb cravings, and depression, researchers discovered that as daytime sleepiness became more acute, so did a craving for carbs. Teens who had extreme daytime sleepiness had a 50% higher chance of also “jonesing” for carbs. In addition, participants who were very depressed were nearly three times more likely to crave carbs.

“This study is important given the rising epidemic of obesity among teens as well as increasing metabolic syndrome and diabetes among young adult populations,” said Mahmood Siddique of the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Jersey, in a news release. “This study highlights the importance of diagnosing sleep deprivation as a risk factor for obesity among young adults. Those who are depressed and sleep-deprived may be at special risk for obesity.”

In a second study, researchers found that sleeplessness adds to the attraction for rich, delicious foods. Twelve men and women age 19 to 45 underwent functional MRI studies while looking at pictures of high- and low-calorie foods, as well as images or rocks and plants, which served as study controls. Subjects were also surveyed about the intensity of their daytime sleepiness.

While looking at photos of high-calorie foods, subjects who reported higher levels of daytime sleepiness showed less activity in their brain’s prefrontal cortex; the prefrontal cortex is where decision-making takes place – the advantages and disadvantages of an anticipated event are weighed and social controls and inhibitions are exercised.  While researchers are not certain that being overly tired will result in downing an entire bag of potato chips or a plate of brownies, they noted that additional studies may be warranted. “Given the chronic level of sleep restriction in our society, such relationships could have epidemiologic implications regarding the current increase in obesity in westernized countries,” noted study co-author study William Killgore of Harvard Medical School

Posted in: Health & Exercise, Sleep Issues

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