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For Women, a Happy Marriage Means Sweet Dreams
Date:6/9/2008

Those in troubled unions report more sleep problems, study finds,,,,

MONDAY, June 9 (HealthDay News) -- Trouble in your marriage can cause trouble in bed, but not necessarily the kind of trouble that first comes to mind.

New research has found that women in happy marriages tend to sleep more soundly than women in unhappy marriages. In fact, women with good marriages have about 10 percent greater odds of getting a decent night of shut-eye compared to women who aren't happy with their spouse.

"Marriage can be good for your sleep if it's a happy one. But, being in an unhappy marriage can be a risk factor for sleep disturbance," said the study's lead author, Wendy M. Troxel, a psychologist at the University of Pittsburgh.

The million-dollar question, Troxel said, is which comes first -- does the unhappy marriage lead to poor sleep, or does poor sleep contribute to a bad marriage?

"We have future studies planned, and we need to tease that out," she said. "If you're not sleeping, you're more irritable, have lower frustration and tolerance levels, so it's possible that could affect the marriage. But we suspect it's in the other direction," that the bad marriage is affecting the quality of sleep because you're trying to sleep next to someone you may be fighting with, and that's stressful.

"If you're stressed or anxious, it can have an effect on your sleep," agreed Dr. Ana Krieger, director of the New York University Sleep Disorders Center in New York City.

Troxel and her colleagues reviewed data on about 2,000 married women who participated in the Study of Women's Health Across the Nation (SWAN). The women were an average age of 46 years. Just over half were white, 20 percent were black, 9 percent were Hispanic, 9 percent were Chinese, and 11 percent were Japanese.

All of the women reported their sleep quality, the state of their marriage, how often they had difficulty falli
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