A new study has shown that marital happiness may lower the risk of sleep problems in Caucasian women, while marital strife may increase the risk.
Authored by Wendy M. Troxel, PhD of the University of Pittsburgh, the study focused on 1938 married women from the Study of Women's Health Across the Nation, a multi-site study of mid-life women, with an average age of 46 years.
The study participants included 51 percent Caucasian, 20 percent African-American, 9 percent Hispanic, nine percent Chinese, and 11 percent Japanese.
As part of the study, the participants reported their marital happiness, sleep quality and frequency of difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep or early morning awakenings.
Researchers found that higher levels of marital happiness were linked to a lesser risk of having multiple sleep complaints, but only among Caucasian women.
They found that happily married women had less difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, fewer early morning awakenings, and more restful sleep as compared to unhappily married women.
"Divorced individuals tend to have more sleep problems than those who are married; however, among the married, we know very little about how differences in marital quality may be linked with sleep. The present results show that happily married women have fewer sleep problems than unhappily married women." Dr. Troxel said.
It is recommended that women get between seven and eight hours of nightly sleep.
The study has been presented at SLEEP 2008, the 22nd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies (APSS).