The Science of Sleep Health and Romantic Relationships: Wendy Troxel, PhD


For Valentine’s Day, the senior behavioral scientist at the RAND Corporation talked about the significance of sleep health and romantic relationships [WATCH TIME: 5 minutes]

The Science of Sleep Health and Romantic Relationships: Wendy Troxel, PhD

WATCH TIME: 5 minutes 

“When people are poorly slept, we know that causes disruption in emotion regulation, including your ability to manage anger or your negative moods. Often when you're in a relationship, if you're going to experience a negative mood, it's often your partner that experiences the brunt of that.”

Research has demonstrated an association between sleep health and the quality of romantic relationships although there are still gaps in the literature. The social, romantic and sexual interactionswith a romantic partner might be impacted based on a patients’ sleep health, such as those with sleep disorders including insomnia, narcolepsy, and sleep apnea.1

Currently, couples are known to sleep in the same bed as each other as society has set that expectation on romantic relationships. Prior research has suggested that cosleepingenhances closeness and positive couple interaction romantic partners that might be a way to improve sleep quality.2 However, this arrangement might not be the most effective way for some patients with sleep disorders to have the best quality of sleep if they prefer to have their own space.

In honor of Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2023, Wendy Troxel, PhD, senior behavioral scientist, RAND Corporation sat down with NeurologyLive® in an interview to discuss the motivations behind writing her book, “Sharing the Covers – A Couple’s Guide for Better Sleep”. Troxel is a licensed clinical psychologist and certified behavioral sleep medicine specialist, with more than fifteen years of clinical and research experience in sleep medicine. Based on her previous research, she shared her clinical perspective of what is currently known about sleep health in relation to the health of a romantic relationship.

Check out the full episode in Medical World News.

1. Davidson RD, Biddle K, Nassan M, Scammell TE, Zhou ES. The impact of narcolepsy on social relationships in young adults. J Clin Sleep Med. 2022;18(12):2751-2761. doi:10.5664/jcsm.10212
2. Doerr JM, Klaus K, Troxel W, et al. The Effect of Intranasal Oxytocin on the Association Between Couple Interaction and Sleep: A Placebo-Controlled Study. Psychosom Med. 2022;84(6):727-737. doi:10.1097/PSY.0000000000001091
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