Too grumpy for company

My retired friend Liz has recently confessed that she was no longer sleeping with her partner of 31 years. Instead, she’s sleeping on a couch in the living room.

Now that’s curious!

Just about everyone knows by now that a restful night is a good thing: You feel more energized, look fresher, think better, and in general have a positive outlook.

But not getting enough sleep is likely to ruin your relationships.

One out of three Americans regularly fails to meet the recommended 7-8 hours per night. Chronic sleep loss would perpetuate a decreased cognitive ability, increased irritability, being prone to accidents, and being drawn to conflicts at work and home.

And if this is not enough, a recent study by UC Berkeley researchers Matthew Walker and Eti Ben-Simon has added a startling new perspective:

Voluntary or involuntary loss of sleep can make you a very lonely person.  

The researchers compared healthy and well-rested individuals to sleep-deprived ones. They observed that when you are sleep-deprived and feel so tired, it’s like having a bad hair day. You have no desire to see anyone or do anything. You just wait for that day to be over. 

And worse yet, most other people will actually prefer to stay away from you.

Over time this is likely lead to your social isolation, feeling neglected, marginalized, and simply lonely.

Liz discovered, as have other retired couples, how she can have it both ways — love a partner who is snoring loudly or restlessly tossing and turning, and still get a restorative sleep through the night.

If you are the one who is snoring, tossing and turning, or being restless, improving your sleep habits could make a difference in all your relationships.

You can start by observing your sleep habit for a week (Sleep Log Template – February 2020) and then make small incremental changes to your routine. If all else fails, please consult a medical professional.

When you sleep better, you build a strong physical and emotional vitality so you are able to face each day as your best self and your life is more connected and meaningful.

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Through my work and interest in life beyond midlife, I come across meaningful stories on what impacts this chapter of your personal journey.

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