The key to a happy, or happier, marriage has a lot to do with what takes place in the bedroom -- and no, we're not talking about romantic moments shared behind closed doors.
A recent study conducted by Florida State University (FSU) Psychology Professor Jim McNulty and graduate student Heather Maranges found that when a married or cohabitating couple regularly get enough sleep, partners tend to view the relationship more positively. The study participants included 68 newlyweds who, for one week, had their amount of sleep recorded and then were asked to respond to relationship-related questions.
The questions used a 1-7 scale ("1" indicated not being satisfied whatsoever, while a "7" indicated extreme satisfaction) to gauge each relationship. Everything from, "How satisfied were you with your marriage today?" to questions pertaining to conflict resolution and chores were asked.
All told, there was a correlation between overall relationship satisfaction and getting more sleep; the less sleep involved, the lower the numbers were on the scale of questions. In particular, husbands were found to better cope with bad experiences involving topics like chores and conflicts when they slept more.
"The universality of our findings is important," Maranges said. "That is, we know all people need sleep. Regardless of the stage at which a couple is in their relationship or the cultural context in which they're embedded, each member of the couple can be adversely affected by not getting enough sleep."
Of course, it's no secret that getting proper amounts of sleep has benefits galore. Adults require a minimum of seven hours of sleep daily; anything less than this on a routine basis can lead to a host of mental and physical problems including an increased risk of obesity, stroke, and even early death.
As Arianna Huffington wrote in chapter two of her book The Sleep Revolution, "If burnout is civilization's disease, sleep deprivation is one of its chief symptoms." A known sleep advocate, Huffington is dedicated to shedding light on the importance of sleep, debunking the many myths about it's perceived insignificance, and even the benefits of dreams to better understand our lives. Without the right amount of sleep, we're grumpier, unproductive, agitated, souls yawning our way through life.
And now, according to the FSU experts, lack of sleep also means we may not be as likely to view our marriage as favorably as we could.
As for me, I've been married just over a year this past July. I'm happy to report I'd probably be giving out tons of 6s and 7s on those questions. Yes, we've had moments where dirty dishes piled up. There have been picayune conflicts. But there have also more occurrences of each of us getting 7+ hours of sleep more regularly than not, so perhaps that's a key part of our happiness too. This study suggests so, and given everything else out there about its benefits, I'm not surprised that shut-eye is a huge relationship-booster.
Oh, and my husband and I both agree that the toilet paper rests over the outside of the roll instead of facing the wall, so there's that going for us too.