Sleep

Happy couples sleep in sync — unless the dog is in bed

June 6, 2014 at 4:43 PM ET

Video: A new study from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine found married couples are more likely to sleep soundly when the wife is happy.

"Happy wife, happy life" — or so they say. Actually, it's more like happy wife, happy sleep. Married couples are more likely to sleep and wake in sync if the wife is satisfied with her marriage, new research suggests.

“Most of what is known about sleep comes from studying it at the individual level; however, for most adults, sleep is a shared behavior between bed partners,” Heather Gunn, a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Pittsburgh and lead study author, said in a news release. “How couples sleep together may influence and be influenced by their relationship functioning.”

The study involved 46 married couples who completed relationship assessments and provided data on their sleep habits for 10 days. The research was presented Wednesday in Minneapolis at the Associated Professional Sleep Societies’ annual meeting.

Although most couples do share a bed, about one-fifth do sleep apart, according to the National Sleep Foundation. And women do tend to be lighter sleepers

One reason getting a good night's sleep is so important is because it effectively cleans the garbage from our brains, recent research shows. But an estimated 50 to 70 million American adults are suffering from sleep problems, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If your marriage is happy and you still can’t figure why you’re not getting enough shut-eye, there might be another reason. maybe you need to kick the dog or cat out of the bed.—

Research from the Mayo Clinic found a rise in the number of people suffering from sleep disturbances caused by their pets, though it cautioned it could be due to more people owning multiple pets. An estimated 10 percent of patients who went to the clinic’s sleep center reported sleep disturbances from their pets in 2013, up from 1 percent in 2002, Mayo researchers reported at the Minneapolis conference. 

The study involved 110 patients who went to the Mayo Clinic Center for Sleep Medicine in Arizona. Nearly half of the patients, 46 percent, owned pets, and of those, 42 percent had more than one pet.

Common disturbances caused by the dogs, cats and birds the patients owned were snoring, whimpering, needing to go outside or medical problems.

“One patient owned a parrot who consistently squawked at 6 a.m.,” Dr. Lois Krahn, a psychiatrist and author of the study, said in a release. “He must have thought he was a rooster.”

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