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Wendy Troxel Explains Why Good Sleep Leads to Good Relationships

From Audio: How to sleep like your relationships depend on it (with Wendy Troxel)

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How To Be A Better Human
Duration: 05:55
Is it bad for your relationship if you don't sleep in the same bed as your partner? According to Wendy Troxel, not necessarily— listen as she debunks common relationship myths and offers sage advice on how to get the best sleep of your life.
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Is it bad for your relationship if you don't sleep in the same bed as your partner? According to Wendy Troxel, not necessarily— listen as she debunks common relationship myths and offers sage advice on how to get the best sleep of your life. According to Wendy, a successful relationship starts with a successful night's sleep.
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me try it for yourself, visit monday dot com for your free two week trial again that is monday dot com. Sign up for your free two week trial at monday dot com today. Okay, let's get right into it. We are talking sleep and we have the incredible Wendy Troxel here with us now. Hi, I'm Wendy Troxel. I'm a senior behavioral and social scientist at the rand corporation and author of the book, sharing the covers every couple's guide to better sleep. How did you sleep last night? You're a sleep expert. How did you sleep last night? Well, the irony is I actually did not have a good sleep last night and I blame my husband entirely for it. Um Normally I'm a great sleeper. I know sort of the behaviors to do before bedtime. I have a nice wind down routine. I have a very consistent bedtime and wake time. I read before bed um and I did all those things last night and always going to swimmingly. But then my husband was having sleep problems as he was falling asleep because he was stressed about something at work. And that beginning of the night is so important for setting you up for the rest of your night. And as long as I fall asleep deeply and quickly I have a really good night of sleep the rest of the night. But because he was tossing and turning at the beginning of the night, that kind of ruined the whole start of my night. And then I got frustrated and resentful of him, which definitely didn't help my sleep. So I ended up being up a lot of the night and then I started thinking about this interview and the irony that I was going to be sleep deprived as I talked about the importance of sleep and sleep within couples. I see this in my clinic all the time. By the way, people come to me often, women with insomnia and you know, through gritted teeth, they will say, you know, and my husband, his head hits the pillow and he's down for the night all night struggling to sleep. But it's so easy for him. Uh It was very funny how the resentment can arise within couples with one who's an excellent sleeper and the other who has trouble. And you really can feel sort of sleep envy over that. Well, I know anecdotally and from talking to friends and just from my own personal experience that a lot more people are having trouble than normal sleeping these days, at least it seems like that in my world. Have you noticed that is why is that stress can certainly interfere with our ability to get good quality sleep? Our daily lives and social rhythms, including our biological rhythms have also been profoundly disrupted by the pandemic and state home orders. The fact that we're working from home. So we have little sort of distinction between our nights and our days that can also contribute to sleep disturbances and the stress is real, the disruption is real, and we're also spending a ton of time with our families and with our partners, and that can also create relationship conflict. So there's a there's a great deal of salience between what I study, which is, you know, how we sleep, how that affects our relationships and vice versa, diving into the actual uh relationship piece of this, which I know is is really your area of absolute expertise here. Is it okay for married couples or for partners to not sleep in the same bed? And what does that mean? Obviously there's a lot that's tied up in that around like our emotions and our societal expectations, but also science. So how did you first start looking at that? Well, I've always been interested in how social relationships impact our health and well being and I mostly study the marital or marital life relationships and have been studying for this for years. And we have lots of evidence to show that married or partnered people live longer happier and healthier lives, Then they're unmarried or on partnered counterparts. And it's also true that the quality of relationships matters for our health, but we don't quite know how that transpires. And I became interested in sleep because we know that sleep is critically important for our health and well being. And yet at the time that I started studying sleep over 15 years ago, very few people who were studying sleep in the social context in which it occurs, which is with the bed partner and as a result of this sort of neglected view of sleep as a social behavior, We have all of these tired myths about how couples should or should not sleep together. And it's really not all science based. So I really wanted to bring the evidence to that critically important question. I mean, this is one of the things that I love so much about your book is that it's written in a way that's super accessible and you're so good at explaining this for general public. But it also it does debunk these things that I think a lot of us just take for granted as like that has to be the way it is. So what do you hear as the biggest myths that you wish people knew were not true? So I think the big one as you alluded to is this idea that sleeping apart is necessarily a sign of a loveless or sexless union. That is simply not the case. There is not a one size fits all sleeping arrangement for all couples. I mean, when you think about it, we spend about a third of our lives asleep. And for many of us that shared with a partner. If it works, if it's not working, then why do we need to be so prescriptive about how we should be doing this behavior that occupies a lot of our coupled existence. Um, so kind of debunking this idea that there's one, a one size fits all sleeping arrangement and that how you sleep or don't sleep with your partner necessarily says something about the quality of your relationship. I think that's a really big myth to debunk. And the research definitely bears that out. While there are some benefits for some people of sleeping together. There also are some cost
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