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Stable Marriage Helps Women Sleep

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

Having a partner and a stable marriage helps women sleep better, concludes an eight-year study. Researchers from University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine also found that women who found a new partner after being alone during the study also slept experienced better quality sleep, but were a bit more restless.

According to Wendy Troxel, PhD, Assistant Professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, "Women who had 'gained' a partner over the eight years of the study had similar subjective sleep quality as compared to the stably married women; however, after looking at specific objective sleep measurements we discovered that these women had more restless sleep than the always married women”. Dr. Troxel speculates it may be a newlywed effect, or just lack of adjustment to sleeping with a new partner.

The study took into account variety of factors associated with poor sleep quality, controlling the study results for depression, ethnicity, socioeconomic status and age. They still found that women with stable marriages sleep better.

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The scientists looked at 360 middle- aged women from various ethnic groups. The women were part of the Women's Health Across the Nation study. Average age was 51. Over eight years, the women reported their marital status during an annual follow-up visit. Sleep studies were performed in the home, comparing the effects of a stable marriage on women’s sleep. The study found a direct association between a good night’s sleep and being in a stable marriage.

The findings have implications for sleep health in women. Previous studies show that happy marriages, free from strife, also promote women’s health by lending to quality sleep. Sleeping six to eight hours a night is linked to overall health and well-being.

The study showing that women sleep better when in a stable marriage may be worth consideration if you are weighing the pros and cons of marriage.

Do you share a bed with someone? How do you think it affects your sleep quality?

(1) http://www.aasmnet.org/Articles.aspx?id=891
Abstract Title: The Ups and Downs of Marriage: A Bumpy Road for Sleep?