Long-term couples in a romantic rut often complain their partners take them for granted and don’t express appreciation for all the loving things they do on a typical day. The culprit for that indifference? It just may be sleep deprivation, according to a new study out of the University of California.
“Poor sleep may make us more selfish as we prioritize our own needs over our partner’s,” says Amie Gordon, a UC Berkeley psychologist and lead investigator of the study, which she conducted with UC Berkeley psychologist Serena Chen. Their findings were recently reported at the annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychologists.
More than 60 couples, with ages ranging from 18 to 56, participated in the study. In one experiment, participants kept a diary of their sleep patterns and how a good or bad night’s rest affected their appreciation of their significant other.
In another experiment, they were videotaped engaged in problem-solving tasks. Those who had slept badly the night before showed less appreciation for their partner. Overall, the results showed poor sleepers had a harder time counting their blessings and valuing their partners.
How to remedy that? “Make sure to say to say ‘thanks’ when your partner does something nice,” suggested Gordon. “Let them know you appreciate them.”
Oh, and try to get a good night’s rest dear.