Updated: Sep 2
I could start this blog out by writing about several things that could be causing marriage problems. You can even name many yourself. But I want to write about something that most would not think of as the culprit for their marital problems. It is The Lack of Quality Sleep!
Could it be that getting the right amount of “Z’s” might possible help strengthen your relationship? Or, could it be the that the lack of quality sleep is the very thing that is causing your marriage to fall apart?
When couples are in crisis, most probably would not start out by saying, “Hey, I know what we can do to get along better, go to sleep! Yep, that’s it. I just need a good night’s sleep and we will live happily ever after!”
No! This is not where a couple would normally start. We would spend hours talking about how it is her fault or his fault or that we are just not meant to be together. How about this one? “We don’t know how to communicate.” The #1 reason. Well, if this is something that you have heard or said, you’re not wrong; these are some reasons why couples have problems.
What if I told you that one of the reasons why the above issues surface to begin with was because of the lack of quality sleep?
THE #1 response that I get from people when I ask this question, “How’s it going?” is “I’m tired!” Everybody that I talk to is tired. I believe Americans do not get quality sleep and it affects every part of their life.
I’m going to help you! I want to help you get the right amount of sleep for you!
Without making this blog into a book, I will stick to the major reasons why I believe if a person gets quality sleep, he or she will change the trajectory of their life and have a better marriage. There is so much information on SLEEP and how it affects us, that I plan on doing a series of videos on the aspects of sleep and how to get quality Z’s. Be looking for this series.
Right now, I am only going to give you 3 things about sleep; what the body needs, what happens when a person does not get quality sleep, and what you can do to fix a lot of the sleep problems. That will make this short and sweet! I’ll be talking about this many more times in my upcoming blogs.
1. All Sleep Cycles are Necessary for a Night of Quality Sleep
I won’t get too scientific; I’ll let you do the research. However, there are four (NREM) non-rem sleep cycles and one (REM) rapid eye movement cycle. Each stage has a purpose and when a person goes through all cycles, he or she will normally have a quality night of rest. The stages are approximately 90 minutes long and can be in a different sequence rather than just 1-5 sequentially. If you do the math, that is about 7.5 hours of sleep per night. However, not everyone needs 7.5 hours of sleep, but many studies show that for the average person to experience his or her best night of rest, they should get around 6-9 hours of sleep.
Stages 1-2 is light sleep, stages 3-4 is deep sleep, and then there is REM sleep. Deep sleep helps your body restore and heal physically, and REM, rapid eye movement is when your brain is active and during this cycle, your mind is healing, getting rid of junk thoughts, and moving your thoughts from short-term to long-term memory. Stages 1-2 are light buffer sleeping. Missing any of these stages effects our body and our mind in many ways. That’s all on the scientific part. There is so much more.
2. Lack of Sleep Causes Many Problems
Depending on your genetic make-up, which determines your circadian rhythm (a process that regulates the sleep-wake cycle), will depend on when and how much time you need to get quality sleep. That is another blog! So, if a person is not getting the right amount sleep, or the quality of sleep necessary, here are just a few of the things that sleep deprivation causes.
Effects cognitive processes
Lack of sleep impairs one’s attention, alertness, concentration, reasoning, problem solving, and judgment.
Kills sex drive
Makes you forgetful
Let me ask you this, if just one of these four causes is messed up, will it cause conflict? What about all four? Let’s just say that you are dealing with a lot of conflict anyway; I’m talking about the kind of conflict that is shaking the very foundations of your marriage and then you add sleep deprivation. Without good sleep a person can become extremely irritable and then when more conflict surfaces, it is very difficult to handle it correctly.
Because of the lack of good sleep, a person cannot maintain attention on what is important, has trouble concentrating and staying alert, forgets what is said, fumbles all over the place attempting to reason, and fails to help solve the issue. Add the loss of sexual desire and this is a recipe for extreme marital problems. There is more, but this blog will not cover the health issues that the lack of sleep causes, which in turn causes more marital problems.
3. Things to do to get more sleep
GO TO BED! Okay, I know, that’s not all there is to it. Below I will give you some things to start doing immediately to get some better Z’s. These may not be a cure all, but it is a good start.
Stop all caffeine after 2:00 pm
The body produces a chemical (neurotransmitter) called adenosine. During wakefulness, adenosine gradually increases in the body which cause sleepiness. Caffeine is a chemical a lot like adenosine, but when it reaches the brain, along with adenosine, it inhibits and blocks adenosine and increases wakefulness. If caffeine consumption stops at 2:00 pm, it allows the levels of adenosine to continue to come up throughout the day and start making the person sleepy.
No nap when you get home from work
Try to keep from napping when you get home from work. Instead, go to bed earlier.
Turn off all electronic devices and bright lights (TV, iPads, tablets, phones, etc.) one hour before bedtime.
These types of light emit blue light that inhibits the production of melatonin in the body. When the sun goes down the body naturally begins to produce melatonin and a person begins to feel less alert and sleepy. Melatonin works with adenosine and the two will peak at a certain point during the night. These levels stay elevated for several hours all through the night. The brain has a gland with a natural clock that switches on melatonin, but even if the gland switches on, it will not produce melatonin unless the person is in a dimly lit room or darkness. Just like sunlight, artificial indoor lighting can prevent the release of melatonin. Thank you, Thomas Edison!
Lower the temperature in the bedroom room and extinguish as much light as possible
To add to the last point, as we settle down for a good night of sleep, our body temperature decreases. Melatonin is produced and released in low-light and cooler body temperatures. However, if it gets too cold in the room as well as too warm, we will have trouble sleeping. The temperature of the room will be different for everyone. You will need to check what is good for you, but research shows that a room between 68 and 70 is the average temperature for a good night sleep.
Could it be that if you got quality sleep, your marriage would be better? I believe it could be! I believe it could be for so many reasons and I have listed a few of those reasons. This blog only skims the surface of getting good, quality sleep.
I hope this has been helpful and that you will try these things to get better Z’s.