Researchers led by Amie Gordon and Serena Chen from UC Berkeley have found that people who struggle with sleepless nights often tend to fight with their romantic partners over relationship conflicts.
"Couples who fight more are less happy and less healthy," Gordon, a doctoral student in psychology and lead author of the study, said.
"Our research helps illuminate one factor that leads couples to engage in unnecessary and harmful conflict by showing that couples experience more frequent and severe conflicts after sleepless nights," she added.
While previous studies indicate that poor sleep has a negative impact on romantic relationships, these new findings shed more light on how bad sleep compromises couples' ability to avoid and manage conflict, researchers said.
"For the first time, to our knowledge, we can see the process of how the nature, degree, and resolution of conflict are negatively impacted by poor sleep," Chen, a professor of psychology at UC Berkeley, said.
The study is published online in the journal, Social Psychological and Personality Science.