People sleep better alongside a loving partner who is responsive to their needs, according to a new study.
The researchers studied nearly 700 people aged 35 to 86 who were married or living together.
And they found a correlation between how responsive someone thought their partner was and how well they slept.
It is thought that people who feel cared for are less likely to be anxious or depressed, which helps them get a good night’s rest.
In a paper about the study in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, Dr Emre Selcuk, a developmental and social psychologist at Middle East Technical University in Turkey, and colleagues wrote their findings had implications for therapists trying to treat people with such problems.
“The inherently interdependent nature of adult romantic relationships means that romantic partners, as well as perceptions of one’s romantic partner, play a meaningful role in promoting better health and well-being,” they said.
“Our findings suggest that enhancing perceived partner responsiveness has the potential to increase the effectiveness of interventions designed to reduce sleep disturbances in particular and improve individual well-being in general.”
Sleeping well is widely accepted as having a beneficial effect on physical health.
But ‘restorative sleep’, as it is known, requires a feeling of safety, security, protection and an absence of threats.
In childhood this role is fulfilled by parents, while romantic partners help reassure adults.
“Having responsive partners who would be available to protect and comfort us should things go wrong is the most effective way for us humans to reduce anxiety, tension, and arousal,” Dr Selcuk said.
“Taken together, the corpus of evidence we obtained in recent years suggests that our best bet for a happier, healthier and a longer life is having a responsive partner.”
The 698 people in the study were asked to say how responsive they felt their partner was and how well they thought they slept.
The researchers also measured how much rest 219 people got during a week-long sleep study.
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