Does that really surprise anyone? A new study out of the University of Pittsburgh says that women who have stable marriages sleep better than women who are unmarried or who have lost a partner. The study also pointed out the fact women who start dating a new partner also sleep better as compared to their single—partner-less—counterparts.
Surely you and I can list several factors contributing to this result. (And I’d bet that if a study were performed on men, they’d find similar results.)
Let’s be honest: a good relationship, married or not, often leads to:
- Lower stress
- Greater sense of well-being
- Perceived security
- Stronger financial stability (or at least a perceived sense of this)
All of these play into the quality of one’s sleep. We can’t also forget the fact studies have also proven that those in committed relationships tend to live longer than those who are not. A 2004 study, for example, indicated that married people are healthier than other adults.
So how can a person not in a relationship reap the health benefits of actually being in one? Can a single person really sleep as well as a married person? Absolutely. You just have to:
- Pay attention to sleep hygiene.
- Seek solutions to lower your stress.
- Plan well for your financial future so money issues don’t keep you up at night. Financial woes seem to be the prime suspect in stress-related insomnia these days—whether you’re single or not.
- Establish a really good circle of solid friends. You’d be amazed at what having a trusty group of friends can do to your emotional—and physical—health. Another recent study out of Australia has shown that having friends around may do more for your longevity than having family members around!
And what if your partner snores, keeping you up at night? After all, a marriage can be “stable” but snore-full. That, my friends, is another topic for another day. It would surely put a kink in the better-marriage hypothesis, but luckily most snoring issues can be dealt with—more easily than finding a soulmate.
Michael J. Breus, PhD, FAASM
The Sleep Doctor™