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Valued relationships improve sleep: study

AAP logoAAP 18/08/2016 Sarah Wiedersehn

Being valued by your partner is much more valuable to your health than you might think.

According to a new study, when you don't feel valued in a relationship your sleep suffers.

We spend up to one-third of our life asleep but not everyone sleeps well.

For couples, it turns out how well you think your partner understands and cares for you is linked to how well you sleep.

Research published in journal Social Personality and Psychological Science says individuals with responsive partners experience lower anxiety and arousal, which in turns improves their sleep quality.

Using data from the Midlife Development in the United States project and other studies, researchers at Middle East Technical University in Turkey showed connections between partner responsiveness, physical health and psychological wellbeing over several years.

"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," said lead author Dr Emre Selcuk.

He says maintaining a loving and supportive relationship doesn't just do wonders for mental health but for physical health too, because one of the most important functions of sleep is to protect us against illness.

Restorative sleep requires feelings of safety, security, protection and absence of threats.

For humans, the strongest source of feelings of safety and security is responsive social partners - whether parents in childhood or romantic partners in adulthood.

"Taken together, the corpus evidence we obtained in recent years suggests that our best bet for a happier, healthier and a longer life is having a responsive partner," said Dr Selcuk.

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