Unhappy Marriages Lead to Restless Nights

Marital Discord Linked to Trouble Falling and Staying Asleep

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Happily Married Women Have Fewer Insomnia Symptoms

The study involved 2,970 women, aged 42 to 52, enrolled in the Study of Women's Health Across the Nation. About one-third were happily married, one-third unhappily married, and one-third unmarried.

Out of total, about half were white, 20% were African-American, and 10% each were Hispanic, Chinese, or Japanese.

Compared with those in happy unions, unhappily married and unmarried women were more likely to experience any of four insomnia symptoms at least three times over a two-week period: trouble falling asleep, trouble staying asleep, waking up early, and restless sleep.

When looked at by ethnicity, the results held up in white, African-American, and Hispanic women.

There was a trend toward more restful sleep among happily married Chinese and Japanese women than their unmarried or unhappily married counterparts, but the finding could have been due to chance. "That could be because not enough women were studied, or because of some cultural differences in terms of a woman's role in marriage," Troxel says, adding that further study is needed.

The study also showed that not sleeping through the night was by far the most common complaint among all women who experienced symptoms of insomnia.

Arand says that regardless of the state of your marriage, women who experience persistent symptoms of insomnia for more than three weeks may want to consider seeing a sleep specialist. "Then depending on how much your marriage is impacting sleep, it might make sense to seek marriage counseling at the same time," she says.

WebMD Health News Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD on June 12, 2008

Sources

SOURCES:

SLEEP 2008, the 22nd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, Baltimore, June 7-12, 2008.

Wendy M. Troxel, PhD, department of psychology, University of Pittsburgh.

Donna Arand, PhD, Kettering Hospital Sleep Disorders Center, Dayton, Ohio.

Sources

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