Here’s How Relationships Can Affect Your Sleep In The Long-Term, According To Experts

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By Julia Guerra

Not to freak you out or anything, but the choices you make today really do have an impact on your future, even in ways you wouldn’t expect. Life is funny that way; sometimes two completely different aspects of life can collide like colors in a messy drawing, and you’re stuck trying to figure out the bigger picture. Take your love life, for example. Did you know your romantic relationships can affect your sleep? I’m not necessarily referring to that can’t-eat, can’t-sleep phase where everything’s coming up roses and you and your partner can’t get enough of each other, either. According to new research, negative relationship experiences in early adulthood might have some unexpected effects on your sleep quality well into your 30s.

According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, 50 million Americans suffer from chronic sleep disorders, while an additional 20 to 30 million report the occasional night of tossing and turning. If you’re among that 20 to 30 million, but haven’t been able to identify the issue just yet, the results of a new study, published in Personal Relationships, a journal of the International Association For Relationship Research, suggest that negative romantic relationship experiences can impact your sleep quality over the long-term. I know, like the negative relationship itself wasn’t bad enough, right?

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The study documented the possible correlation between participants’ romantic relationships, stress, and how both of these elements affect sleep quality over the course of adulthood. Researchers recruited 112 participants from the Minnesota Longitudinal Study of Risk and Adaptation and studied them from the age of 23 years old to 32 years old. In the end, per a ScienceDaily press release, the researchers found that people who reported having positive relationship experiences in their early 20s were less stressed and enjoying quality sleep in their early 30s. “Although a large body of evidence shows that relationships are important for health, we are just beginning to understand how the characteristics of people’s close relationships affect health behaviors, such as sleep,” Chloe Huelsnitz, a PhD candidate at the University of Minnesota and lead author of the study, said in a statement, per the ScienceDaily press release.

Generally speaking, says Dr. Tammy Nelson, a sex and relationship expert and licensed psychotherapist, one of the most common emotions that can affect your sleep patterns is anxiety, and as I’m sure you know from experience, no matter how good or bad your relationship is, it can sometimes give you a little bit of stress.

“Being anxious can keep us up at night, prevent sleep, and wake us up once we are asleep,” because it raises blood pressure, increases heart rate, quickens your pulse, and tenses up your muscles, Nelson tells Elite Daily over email. “These are all reactions that are in direct opposition to the relaxation that needs to happen when we are asleep.”

But even after you and a partner eventually decide to part ways, if you’re still dealing with pent-up feelings of stress from the relationship, Natalie Dautovich, an environmental scholar for the National Sleep Foundation, says you can still be affected. “We are physically most vulnerable when we are sleeping, so sleep is most possible when we feel safe and secure,” Dautovich tells Elite Daily.

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If you’re reading all of this and thinking “well, that’s pretty unfair,” you aren’t wrong. But the thing is, you still have control over your sleep health, and there are ways to ensure that, no matter what happens in terms of your love life, you’re still doing everything you can to get your rest.

Of course, if you are currently in a relationship, that doesn’t just automatically mean your sleep health, in the short- or long-term, is doomed. In fact, a physical connection with a loved one, such as a hug, kiss, or even sex, can calm your nervous system, therefore decreasing stress and anxiety, making it easier to fall and stay asleep, Nelson explains. However, at the same time, it’s important to remember that having your own bedtime routine of some kind, made up of rituals (taking a warm bath, meditating, journaling, diffusing essential oils, etc.) that soothe you without the help of a partner, she adds, is just as key.

Having an SO around can also benefit your sleep health in some slightly more unexpected ways. For instance, they can be there to help hold you accountable when you’re trying to cut back on using your phone in bed, or stick to an earlier bedtime. “A benefit of having a sleeping partner is that they often are the first to notice sleep difficulties (e.g., snoring related to sleep apnea),” Dautovich says, so the two of you can both provide support and promote healthy sleep behaviors for one another. It’s certainly worth the try, right? Clearly the sleep of your future self depends on it.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia | Patient Advice | US News

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By Michael O. Schroeder

Many, many people have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. Research generally suggests that around a third of Americans have insomnia at any given time, and about 1 in 10 have chronic insomnia, lasting three months or longer.

Not getting adequate rest can affect mood (while depression can also contribute to insomnia), undermine motivation, increase irritability and make it difficult to just get through the day. “For those who take care of small children or have a lot of family and work responsibilities to balance,” the National Sleep Foundation notes, “insomnia can make these tasks feel even more overwhelming when you are tired.”

Often people try over-the-counter sleep aids or nothing at all – just thinking they have to live with it – rather than seeking help from a professional.

It’s common for patients who see Dr. Rafael Pelayo to have been struggling with insomnia for years. It’s “not unusual for me to see someone with decades of poor sleep,” says the sleep specialist and clinical professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Stanford Center for Sleep Sciences and Medicine. But even those who’ve had chronic insomnia for years can still get better when the insomnia is addressed correctly, he says.

And although the treatment isn’t new, there’s growing recognition of a tailored therapeutic approach used to change a person’s thinking and behavior that has lasting benefits for the majority who undergo it: cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia. Most who undergo four to eight sessions of CBT-I experience a significant reduction in their symptoms – namely the time required to fall asleep, the amount of time spent awake or both – notes Michael Perlis, director of the behavioral sleep medicine program in the department of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania.

While experts note that sleep medication, prescribed in combination with CBT-I or alone, is another option, CBT-I’s “durable results” – generally continuing after a person stops the therapy – make it an optimal approach. “It is recommended as the first line treatment,” Perlis says.

It’s not just mental health professionals advocating for the treatment either, but the medical establishment. The American College of Physicians led the way in guidelines published in 2016ACP recommends that all adult patients receive cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) as the initial treatment for chronic insomnia disorder,” the medical society asserted.

Perlis explains that CBT-I has four components: sleep restriction, stimulus control, sleep hygiene and cognitive therapy. Often it’s counterintuitive, too, like with sleep restriction. One might think that if you can’t sleep you should stay in bed for longer. But actually experts say it’s important to match your sleep opportunity, or how long you’re in bed, with how long you’re able to sleep, and then gradually work on increasing sleep time. “It doesn’t aim to restrict actual sleep time but rather to initially restrict the time spent in bed,” Stanford Health Care’s website explains, regarding the sleep restriction component of CBT-I. “Subsequent steps consist of gradually increasing the time spent in bed.”

While some people may feel they’re familiar with certain concepts and components of CBT-I, like sleep hygiene (being mindful of how factors like substance use, such as caffeine and alcohol consumption, can affect sleep), implementing it correctly tends to be more complex and involved. Experts say that’s why it’s key to see a professional experienced in CBT-I for effective treatment. “Those that try to do CBT-I to themselves are likely to not be successful,” Perlis says. “But worse is that they will believe that they’ve been there, done that, and so the likelihood of seeking out professionally administered CBT-I goes way down.”

One significant limitation with CBT-I, however, is access. “Finding a therapist is not easy,” Perlis says. “CBT-I is not yet available in every state or every city.” However, there are some directories – he recommends a couple through Perelman School of Medicine at Pennsylvania University and the Society of Behavioral Sleep Medicine, respectively – that can be used to find therapists who do CBT-I.

Pelayo points out that for those who aren’t able to see a professional who does CBT-I in their area, there are online CBT-I programs that allow a person to engage in the therapy from home virtually. “I’m OK with somebody doing it online if they want to – if they live far away,” Pelayo says. “And if they got better, I’m happy for them, of course. But if they don’t get better, if they’ve done the online thing, then we actually want them to have a face-to-face.”

He says patients typically pay cash for online CBT-I.

Insurance coverage of in-person cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia varies. So it’s important to check in advance to determine that. As the therapy is more widely used, and given the support for its effectiveness, clinicians are hopeful insurance coverage of CBT-I will improve, but it’s not universal today.

Pelayo says some individuals, like those with profound autism or schizophrenia, aren’t able to participate in CBT-I. Others, he says, either prefer not to undergo therapy, or aren’t able or don’t want to make the time commitment.

Certainly, CBT-I has advantages – notably the lasting benefits, after a person has stopped therapy; that differs from medication that provides benefit while on it. But experts say, first and foremost, it’s key that those with chronic insomnia generally seek help to get a better idea of what’s behind it and explore treatment options.

In some cases, it may be a medical or mental health issue that’s causing sleep problems or making things worse, and cognitive therapy may still be useful (like with depression). But having a fuller picture, is critical. For example, often thyroid disease can contribute to sleep woes and is overlooked, Pelayo says. Or a person may have another disorder like sleep apnea, along with insomnia, that needs to be addressed as well, he says.

None of that will be rectified through an online search in your pajamas (though you might find a sleep specialist that way).

“I tell all my patients that if they don’t wake up feeling refreshed, something is wrong,” Pelayo says. When sleep problems persist, experts say, instead of trying to put them out of your waking mind – seek help to get them addressed.

Why People With A History Of Bad Relationships Don’t Sleep Well

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By Kelly Gonsalvez

Anyone who has ever slept next to a partner knows being part of a unit can affect how well you sleep—from dealing with the other person’s weird tossing and turning all night to battling for your fair share of the blanket to trying to get some shut-eye when you’re still halfway through a fight with the person lying next to you and you can’t stop thinking about it.

Past research has shown your relationship can affect your sleep, but a new study published in the Personal Relationships journal has now found an even deeper connection between your love life and sleep: Apparently having a history of stressful relationships may make you more likely to have poorer sleep quality.

Researchers analyzed existing data that had been collected on over 260 people born in the mid-1970s regularly from the time they were born until mid-adulthood. These participants were asked questions about their lives periodically, including being surveyed and interviewed about their recent romantic relationships, experiences with stress, and sleep quality. Analyzing these people’s responses between ages 23 and 37, the researchers discovered a trend: People who’d had better relationships during their early adult years dealt with fewer and less disruptive stressful life experiences at age 32, and that led to having better sleep quality at age 37. That was true regardless of depression status, gender, ethnicity, income, education, and even how much stress people currently had at age 37.

In other words, having a history of good relationships as a young adult—that is, stable long-term relationships where there’s mutual care, trust, emotional closeness, and sensitivity to each other’s needs and where conflicts are resolved in a healthy and satisfying way—tended to lead to less stressful experiences throughout adulthood, which in turn led to better sleep over time.

It’s understandable why stressful life experiences (like job changes, health issues, legal battles, and interpersonal conflicts) would take their toll on a person’s sleep quality; a lot of past research has shown that having a lot of stress can seriously disrupt your sleep. But why might having a better love life lead to having fewer of these types of seemingly unrelated tough life events, or at least having them be less stressful?

“One explanation is that people who possess the interpersonal competencies necessary to maintain relationships marked by mutual caring, trust, conflict resolution, and other positive characteristics are also more likely to have other traits that may mitigate their exposure to and reduce the severity of those stressors when they occur,” the researchers write in the paper. “For instance, people who score high in romantic relationship effectiveness may be more likely to demonstrate caring and responsiveness in other types of relationships (e.g., with family or co-workers), which might reduce exposure to conflict. Moreover, when stressful events due to uncontrollable sources are encountered (e.g., unemployment, death of a family member), people high in relationship effectiveness may also be more likely to possess intrapersonal and interpersonal resources, allowing them to cope better with the stressful life event and reduce its severity.”

So people who are good at romantic love are probably good at dealing with people in other parts of their life, and those skills and emotional experiences set them up to either avoid stressful occasions or deal with them well when they occur.

“Cues of social belongingness and emotional security can facilitate a sense of protection that down-regulates stress reactivity and promotes better sleep,” the researchers explain. “Given that romantic relationships are an especially potent source of social belongingness and emotional security in adulthood, one’s experiences, tendencies, and engagement in his or her romantic relationships should have a particularly strong impact on sleep patterns.”

This is all pretty hard news to hear for anyone who feels like they’ve had a pretty unlucky love life thus far. But don’t worry: The point here isn’t that if romance isn’t the easiest for you, you’re doomed to a life of stress and bad sleep. Rather, this study simply reinforces one of the most important benefits of being in a relationship: being able to learn about how to communicate better, navigate conflicts, take care of another person, and take care of yourself. Relationships are far less about validating your worth as much as they are about learning how to become a better human being.

The good news? You can totally do that without a partner, too. Romantic relationships happen to be a great place to learn those lessons, but so are so many other parts of our social lives—our family relationships, our friendships, our professional connections, and more.

If your sleep and mental health are important to you, then your social relationships should be too. Interfacing with other people is pivotal not only to learning how to deal with stress and conflict but also to having a support system in place during all those bad times. That stability seems to be the real key to being able to have a secure, peaceful night’s sleep over time.

Insomnia Series: How Did You Sleep? NPR Wants Your Slumber Stories

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Meagan Keane

Getting a good night’s rest is easier said than done. NPR’s Science Desk is reporting on the science of sleep, and we want to hear from you.

Ask us your questions about winding down, dealing with insomnia and attempts to hack sleep. Share your stories and best tips for getting those precious hours of sleep each night.

Please fill out our form or follow this link to respond. Part of this project involves putting voices on air, so we’d love it if you could also send us a voice memo. You can do that in the form, or email a voice memo to talktous@npr.org, with “Sleeping Well” in the subject line.

Your response may be used in an upcoming story, on air or on NPR.org. Thanks!

Insomnia Series: A New CBD Product For Insomnia

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The buzz surrounding cannabidiol is strong, but folks in the wellness community are whispering about a different cannabinoid compound, one that might help you sleep at night. You may have heard of the murmurs, but what is CBN?

The most dominant cannabis compounds, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), steal all the attention, but cannabinol, or CBN, could be the next big thing. According to Bon Appetit, as marijuana oxidizes, the THC converts to CBN. In other words, old weed is high in CBN. But can you get high on it? Not really. The CB1 receptors are weaker than with THC, but it definitely still has the potential to make you drowsy, which is why more people are turning to it before they turn in for the night.

Scientific evidence is sparse, but CBN has been studied on mice, though it should be noted that researchers used synthetic derivatives of CBN. When rodents were given the lab-made cannabinol, they were more likely to stay asleep. There’s a chance it could even be used to fight the signs of aging, so look out for CBN as an ingredient in sleep aids and night cream. But here’s the kicker: Most studies suggest it works best when combined with other cannabinoid compounds, like THC or CBD. Anecdotal evidence still dominates in conversations pertaining to uses for CBN. In any case, it’s worth noting that if your friend says it works for them that doesn’t mean it will work for you. As always, consult your doctor about your options and possible interactions with other medications.

Currently, the health benefits of CBN and its effectiveness as a sleep aid are still largely unknown. But with the booming CBD industry expected to be worth $1.15 billion by 2020, it’s a good bet that more companies will begin to experiment with CBN, perhaps by pairing it with CBD to discover if it does indeed lead to a better night’s sleep.

Is cannabinol the answer to our restless nights? We can dream.

In the meantime, here are some foods that can help put you to sleep and others that might be keeping you up at night.

WHY IS IT SUCH A TURNOFF WHEN SOMEONE TRULY, REALLY, ACTUALLY WANTS TO DATE ME?


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 PIN IT

Photo: Getty Images/ Matjaz Slanic

One of my father’s favorite refrains about my love life is that I only like men who don’t like me. He’s constantly joking that the easiest way for a man to turn me off is for him to show interest. Based on history, I do see where he’s coming from, but I’m still not totally convinced. Still, he does point out a polarizing, age-old issue: Is it true that the more someone is into us, the less into them we are? And if so, is a silly game of hard to get actually effective?
Apparently, the basis of playing it cool in dating—in which there’s an unspoken contest of sorts where whoever cares less wins—has a lot to do with human nature in general. “Part of it is about a primal desire that we have as humans for things that are valuable,” says therapist Daniel Olavarria, LCSW. “When someone plays it cool, the subtle message is that they are difficult to attain. If we’re relying on our most basic primal instincts, this will make them feel even more desirable.”

Furthermore, since it’s so easy to assume a potential love interest’s attitude applies to their entire disposition and life, being aggressively open and vulnerable off the bat isn’t the best look.  “When someone seems too available, it can give the impression that they don’t have much going on in their own life to contribute to the relationship,” Olvarria says. Plus, one person feeling like they are the center of a their love interest’s schedule can add a lot of pressure to a new relationship . “In short, having your own life is sexy,” he adds.

“Do your best to be authentic in expressing your interest, but try to avoid folding your whole life around a new person you’re looking to get to know.” —Daniel Olavarria, LCSW

The answer here isn’t to be fake, but rather to communicate your interest without seeming needy or tooavailable. “Do your best to be authentic in expressing your interest, but try to avoid folding your whole life around a new person you’re looking to get to know,” Olavarria advises. So if, for example, you have plans with friends and your new potential S.O. texts, don’t clear your schedule to hang. “Being too available in this way can send the message that you don’t have your own life, which makes things a lot less interesting for your date,” Olavarria says.

Share that you’re busy, but suggest a follow-up date to make clear that you’re still into them. By the time you actually get together, your date may be even more attracted to you and your full life.

 

“Why Cannabis Oil is an Insomniac’s Best Friend” (& cured cancer)

https://www.ricksimpsonoilcalifornia.com/insomnia.html

RICK SIMPSON OIL (RSO) is not your average cannabis oil. In 2003, RSO was developed by a man named Rick Simpson, a Canadian medical cannabis activist who was recently diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma, which is a form of skin cancer. He used his concoction on bandages which he applied to the cancerous spots – which disappeared after several days.

This little experiment was based on clinical trials that have proven that THC and other chemical compounds in Cannabis can help kill cancerous cells. This was found in a study conducted by the American Association for Cancer Research in 2004.
Link: http://mct.aacrjournals.org/content/early/2014/11/12/1535-7163.MCT-14-0402


ANYWHO, this oil helps with a ton of other ailments, from Alzheimers, PTSD, ADHD to insomnia and other mental and physical ailments.

My tolerance to THC is pretty darn high, but this stuff really does what it claims to when it comes to sleep! You’ll find I do not say this lightly, as I rarely have a night where I sleep more than 3 hours at a time, constantly waking up. When I have a little RSO in my life, I fall back to sleep much more quickly and sleep much better.

Try it out if you can. I don’t get paid for promoting this either, check it out for yourself.