Stress and negative relationships impact sleep quality later in life
Having a supportive partner and a healthy relationship can help improve wellbeing, reduce stress and as recent research revealed, even increase longevity.
Negative relationships have the opposite effect, and a new study found that positive relationships in early adulthood can predict sleep quality down the road.
Researchers from the University of Minnesota conducted a study examining the relationship between sleep, stress, and a person’s past dating experiences to see if there were any links to sleep quality and quantity in middle adulthood (around age 37).
The researchers focused on two critical points in early adulthood, age 23 and 32 and examined stress, relationship and sleep during these points.
A positive relationship during early adulthood correlated with less stress at age 32 and better sleep at age 37.
The researchers say that because sleep is often a shared behavior, examining sleep and relationship quality can shed insight into long-term health predictors. The results also show that relationships help reduce stress.
“Although a large body of evidence shows that relationships are important for health, we are just beginning to understand how the characteristics of people’s close relationships affect health behaviors, such as sleep,” said Chloe Huelsnitz, the lead author of the study. “The findings of our study suggest that one way that relationships affect health behavior is through their effects on individuals’ stress.”
The study was published in the journal Personal Relationships.