There is no question in most people’s minds that not getting enough sleep can leave you a little groggy, snappy, or crabby in the morning. Most of us are aware that when we are overtired, we are less productive and more prone to making mistakes. Some of us can even acknowledge that being drowsy while driving is just as dangerous as having a few drinks and getting behind the wheel. However, the vast majority of us can’t quite seem to get behind the idea that sleep deprivation impacts every single area of our lives, including our romantic relationships.
We may be guzzling down coffee to get through the day but that won’t help us garner the energy to get a little busy when the lights go out. This is why one of the National Sleep Foundation’s Sleep in America polls found that 25% of all co-habitating couples are too sleep deprived to have sex. Women have it worse than men as almost one-third of modern women are simply too exhausted to participate, leaving them and their partners feeling lonely and disconnected.
Sleep deprivation, even just for a single night, can significantly impact our chances of having sex. For one thing, you are simply less attractive overall. One night without sleep increases how visually tired you appear by almost 20% which in turn helps to decrease your attractiveness by 4% and the impression of how healthy you are by 6%. Not sleeping also leaves you more stressed out which can further impede the desire to be intimate with a partner. Research has shown that lack of sleep can increase your cortisol stress hormone level by as much as 45%.
Lack of energy also plays a big role. People who don’t get enough sleep at night are tired throughout the day. In fact, more than 20% of people who feel tired during the day report lacking energy as compared to more than half those who do not experience daytime sleepiness who feel energetic from the minute their feet hit the floor in the morning. We are also more emotional when we are tired, and not necessarily in a good way. Almost two-thirds of us acknowledge that it can be difficult to regulate our emotions, remain calm, and put our best foot forward when we are suffering from sleep deprivation.
The reality of our situation is that lack of sleep and chronic sleep deprivation may be a contributing factor to the 50% divorce rate since relationships are harder to maintain when you are too tired to communicate, commiserate, or participate. Getting at least 7 hours sleep each night improves almost every aspect of our lives, including our interpersonal relationships and our sex lives.
It seems that the true key to a happy marriage is dedicating the time and space to get a good night sleep every night.