You've heard the marital advice, “Never go to bed angry," but a new study says that if you're arguing with your spouse more often this week, both of you prioritizing sleep could be the best solution to reduce blow-out fights and curtail inflammation in the body.
A study published in the journal, Psychoneuroendocrinology examined how 43 couples resolved disagreements while lacking sleep. The Ohio State University research team conducted interviews on couples' interpersonal behaviors, noted the use of emotion regulation strategies (emotion expression, cognitive reappraisal) during
It's not surprising that when both partners experienced short sleep, their arguments were more heated and more hostile than when one partner got more sleep the night before. Anyone who's experienced shortened sleep can understand how a lack of sleep can impact emotion regulation—you probably feel less patient, easily irritated and possibly more combative when you're not getting the sleep your body needs. "Deep down, most of us know if we get irritable when we short ourselves of enough
However, the study also found that when one partner got sufficient sleep during the two nights of the study, both partners were likely to be protected from short sleep's behavioral effects during
What's interesting is when one partner had short sleep, their body showed signs of producing more inflammation after a fight. The less sleep
Previous research has shown that emotion suppression may be stressful and unhealthy and this study found that the body's inflammation response is tied to expression during
So if you're arguing with your spouse and you both didn't sleep well last night, make sure you're expressing your emotions and encourage your partner to share their feelings as well. This will help protect you from the immune response that leads to increased inflammation, and also help you from escalating your argument into a blow- out fight.