Not Doing This at Night Could Sabotage Your Relationship, Experts Warn
Your evening routine matters more than you think.
There's no such thing as a perfect relationship. Whether you've been together 10 months or 10 years, differences of opinion, life stressors, and even petty squabbles will rear their ugly heads. However, there are habits you can develop to avoid these issues as much as possible—and ones you'll want to avoid at all costs to prevent them in the first place. Ready to do a relationship audit? We recommend starting with your nighttime routine. Read on to discover the evening actions some couples skip that sabotage their relationship before they even wake up.
Not getting enough sleep could be ruining your relationship.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adults should get at least seven hours of sleep per night. Anything less, and you might see an impact on your relationship.
One 2013 study published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science found that participants reported more conflict with their partners on days following a poor night's sleep. "If you have ever seen a two-year-old who skipped a nap, you can see a version of how we all react to sleep deprivation in terms of our emotions," Jennifer L. Martin, PhD, a clinical psychologist and behavioral sleep medicine specialist at UCLA, told Time. "Small problems seem bigger. Our reactions are amplified."
Poor sleep can cause hostility.
Increased squabbling isn't the only side effect of poor sleep. The habit can also cause increased feelings of hostility toward your partner. For a second 2013 study published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, researchers asked couples to rate how they slept the previous night and videotape themselves discussing a source of conflict. Those who had slept poorly reported more negative feelings toward their S.O. After watching the videos, researchers noted the poor sleepers also showed decreased empathy, conflict resolution skills, and an ability to gauge a partner's emotions.
Sleep deprivation can also make you less attractive.
Sometimes, the tell-tale signs of a poor night's sleep are written all over your face. Your under-eye bags seem bigger, your skin looks more inflamed, and your eyes feel red and scratchy. Unfortunately, other people—including your partner—may notice this too.
A 2017 study published in Royal Society Publishing found that strangers rated sleep-deprived people as less healthy and less attractive than those who had received a good night's sleep. They also added that they would be less inclined to socialize with the people who looked tired. Obviously, that's not the type of energy you want to bring into your relationship—which is why decent shuteye should be a priority.
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A quick cuddle can turn things around.
Now that you know the nighttime habit that can hinder your partnership, here's one that can help it: cuddling. John Gottman, PhD, a psychologist specializing in marital stability and founder of the Gottman Institute, considers cuddling one of the top 10 habits of couples who have a great sex life.
"Partners who cuddle tend to feel very connected and bonded, especially as cuddling provides a sense of being loved and wanted," Carla Marie Manly, PhD, a clinical psychologist, told Well+Good. "When long-term partners make it a practice to cuddle, their physical and emotional connection tends to be very strong."
So, there you have it. In order to create a strong, healthy relationship, you'll want to adjust your nighttime routine to include seven-plus hours of sleep and lots of snuggles. We have a feeling you'll happily oblige.