Cause for concern: Women who sleep badly have more 'negative interactions' with their partners the next day
But a man’s inability to fall asleep at night does not have the same effect, a study shows.
It found that wives who have difficulty sleeping reported more ‘negative interactions’ with their partner the following day, and fewer positive ones.
Husbands had a similar reaction the day after their wives had a disturbed night.
But husbands’ sleep had no effect on either partners’ reports on the quality of their marriage.
Dr Wendy Troxel, one of the researchers, said: ‘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.
‘Specifically, wives who took longer to fall asleep the night before reported poorer marital functioning the next day, and so did their husbands.’
She said the relationship between nightly sleep and next day’s marital interactions was stronger than the association between daily marital interactions and subsequent sleep.
Curiously, however, husbands’ reports of more positive interactions were often followed by them getting less sleep the next night.
The researchers do not know why this might be.
Positive interactions: Husbands slept less the night after a good day with their partner, researchers found
The amount of time they took to get to sleep and the number of times they woke in the night were measured for ten nights.
Each day, they were then asked to report positive emotions such as feeling supported or valued by their spouse, or negative reactions such as criticism or feeling ignored.
Dr Troxel, professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh in the U.S., found in a previous study that the presence of a husband or partner meant women slept better.
She has also found that women who are happy in their marriage report fewer sleep disturbances.