Improving Your Sleep to Help Your Relationship Connect on a Deeper Emotional Level

Improving Your Sleep to Help Your Relationship Connect on a Deeper Emotional Level

The Importance of Effective Sleep Strategies for Couples

When you scroll through social media, you’ve very likely come across a meme joking that you’re not getting enough sleep as an adult. It’s common as people age to struggle to get to sleep or stay asleep. If you’re reading this, it’s quite possible you either struggle to fall asleep, stay asleep, or you wake up and struggle to get back to sleep. Regardless of the issue that best describes your struggle with sleep, the impact of a lack of sleep can leach into all areas of your life. This includes your relationships and sex life as well.

Just look at a workday after a bad night’s of sleep and compare it to one after you slept well and you’ll notice right there how a lack of rest can impact all kinds of relationships. Therefore, you shouldn’t assume that the same lack of rest wouldn’t impact your relationship with your partner. Whether or not you notice this as a culprit of relationship or sexual problems, it plays a role in them for sure.

Fixing your sleep isn’t likely to completely resolve all of your relationship and sexual issues. However, it can certainly go a long way in positively impacting how you feel, how you interact with your partner, and your overall physical health. This can help you reserve the negative trickle-down effect sleep may be having on these things and help you pave the way to improving your relationship.

The Impact of Sleep on Relationship Dynamics

…(and everything else).

Sleep has a strange circular effect on every aspect of our lives. The stress, tensions, unresolved conflicts that you experience each day can disrupt your sleep patterns. Then the issues you’re having with sleep can turn around and impact your relationship. These issues can then circle back around and lead to even more stress, which can even further disrupt your sleep. This can then just basically go on forever.

What makes this even worse is that you might not even realize the impact that this cycle is having on your relationship. This type of pattern tends to happen over the course of years, and even decades. Just like any other slow change that you’re experiencing, you may get used to the lack of rest on some level. It can become your new normal, which means you’re more likely to overlook it as an issue at all. Thus, recognizing and accepting the issue is the most important thing. You won’t make any steps for change if you don’t first recognize that your lack of sleep is having an impact on other areas of your life.

Here are just a few of the ways that fatigue and tiredness can impact your relationship:

1. Communication Issues and a lack of patience.

Talking about relationship and sexual problems requires solid communication skills . Even with good skill, you’re much more likely to resort to bad communication habits when you’re tired. All of the resentments, frustrations, and irritations are more likely to come out in the worst ways and at the worst times. Once something is said, it can’t be taken back.

But there can be another issue that can arise from a lack of sleep that can even take these communication problems to the next level of problematic. Sleep highly correlates with patience. When we’re discussing difficult things, we have to be patient with our partner. On the other hand, when you’re tired, you’re more likely to interrupt, cut off, and even insult your partner.

2. Lack of generosity.

It’s best to assume our partners want what’s best for us. When you assume that your partner doesn’t want what’s best for you, the result is going to be even more of those resentments I already mentioned. Being generous about your partners’ intentions (with boundaries of course) is critical to enhancing your relationship. Generally, you want to assume your partner has your best interests at heart. When you’re tired, you’re much more likely to be suspicious and untrusting.

3. Blowing up or shutting down.

The lack of rest and the mounting issues can push your relationship to one of 2 extremes. This could lead you to blowing up more frequently or even shutting down completely. Blowing up can be really problematic but shutting down might even be worse. When you blow up, assuming it doesn’t get violent or blatantly abusive, you’re still at least interacting with your partner. When you shut down, you might not be interacting at all. Obviously, you’re going to feel even more disconnected when you’re not interacting. When it comes to sex, you’re less likely to be motivated when you’re disconnected. If you’re dealing with sexual dysfunctions, you’re probably already struggling with motivation and you may be avoiding. Shutting down may increase the likelihood that you’ll avoid sex.

Sexual Health and Sleep.

A lack of sleep and sleep disorders can negatively affect libido and overall sexual satisfaction. If you’re struggling with sexual dysfunctions such as erectile disorder or delayed ejaculation, the stress that you can experience from a lack of a sleep can create more ED and DE symptoms. Other sexual dysfunctions can also be impacted by your lack of sleep because you’re more likely to avoid trying new things, having difficult conversations, and learning more about sex.

Part of overcoming sexual dysfunctions is increasing your confidence. There’s no way to guarantee you won’t have any more symptoms, but why do things that increase the likelihood that you’ll have more symptoms? Like stress, if you’re lacking confidence, you’re much more likely to experience symptoms and be more sensitive to the symptoms you’re experiencing.

Even when you’re not dealing with a diagnosable sleep disorder, consistently lacking sleep can push you to prioritize so many things over sex. This can push you and your partner even further apart.

Quality sleep impacts your mental and emotional health and decreases stress.

Ensuring that you’re mentally and emotionally healthy is critical to connection, trust, and commitment. Sometimes there is a direct link between your sleep and your emotional health. With more rest, you’ll generally feel better. When you feel better, you’ll commit to enhancing the connection in your relationship.

However, the connection between your mental and emotional health sometimes impacts your relationship in a more indirect manner. The less sleep you experience, the more stress you’ll experience as well. When you experience more stress, you’ll have more relationship failures. On top of that, you’ll be more sensitive about those relationship failures. They’ll be more significant to you. Whether it’s saying things you regret or avoiding things altogether, trust will go down over time.

Other than stress, depressive and anxious symptoms are more likely to increase with a lack of sleep. Whether you have a diagnosed anxiety or depression disorder or not, the anxiety and depression you feel are going to be more intense with each night of poor sleep that you get.

Improving Your Relationship by Improving Your Sleep

There are a couple of ways that you can improve your sleep so that you can use rest as a way of improving your sex-life and your relationship. If you’re caught in a loop of poor rest, the most important thing is to interrupt that loop. Here are two ways that you can begin making these changes:

1. Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques:

Deep breathing, meditation, and guided imagery exercises are common things that people think of when they think of mindfulness. When you think of mindfulness , what do you think of?

I generally would describe mindfulness as being aware. Mindful awareness of your stress can help you identify the problem as it’s happening. That might not sound impressive, but you definitely can be impacted by sleep problems without realizing it.

Secondly, you can practice awareness of more rest and lower levels of stress. By being mindful, you’ll be better able to identify how you reach deeper states of relaxation. Then you can identify the difference between your better feeling days, how they have positively impacted your relationship and your motivation levels, and how you achieved these feelings.

Finally, you can use specific techniques to relax, ground, and destress. Johns Hopkins has created a good list of relaxation exercises that you can use to promote sleep.

2. Create a Sleep Environment that is Comfortable:

Another thing that may sound like common sense, yet is often ignored is ensuring you have a comfortable sleep environment. This probably relates back to mindfulness in a way. When you’re unaware that your environment needs to become more comfortable, you’ll probably just tolerate the negative impact of your sleep problems. If you’re low on rest, check out your environment. The most common culprits of a poor sleep environment include:

  • Temperatures that are too warm.
  • A space that is too bright.
  • Excessive background noise.
  • A mattress that is too firm or too soft.

Obviously, if you do the opposite of all of these things, the environment will become more comfortable for you. I recommend trying one thing at a time so that you can assess what is helping and what is ineffective.

When to Get Therapy to Help with Your Sleep Symptoms:

I bet you haven’t thought of seeing a sex therapist to help with your sleep. In our practice, sex therapists are psychotherapists who help you with sexual issues. They can help you explore the root causes of your sexual and relationship issues. If one of those root causes is a problem with sleep, they can help you begin that process of interrupting your sleep-stress loops to help your overall symptoms.


If you’re in Texas and looking for a therapist who can help you improve your sex life and relationship, please feel free to contact us today .

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