Did You Sleep Well, Darling?—Link between Sleep Quality and Relationship Quality


Background: Relationship quality and sleep quality influenced physiological and psychological health. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to determine a possible connection between relationship satisfaction and sleep quality and to test a theoretical model of sleep quality as related to relationship and psychological well-being. Methods: Fifty-one heterosexual, cohabitating couples between 24 and 70 years old participated. The relationship quality was measured by the German short version of relationship questionnaire. To determine the sleep quality, the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index and a two-week sleep diary were implemented. To gather information about psychological well-being, especially depression and anxiety, the German Symptom Checklist was used. Results: Sleep quality was measured by the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index and relationship quality correlated significantly negative. In addition, the study found a positive correlation between sleep duration and relationship quality. In a multiple regression model, fighting and mental strain explained 38% of variance of sleep quality. Depression, anxiety and relationship quality showed no further improvement of the model. These findings suggested that relationship quality, constructive partnership behavior and mental strain played an essential role in sleep quality.

Share and Cite:

Schlarb, A. , Claßen, M. , Schuster, E. , Neuner, F. and Hautzinger, M. (2015) Did You Sleep Well, Darling?—Link between Sleep Quality and Relationship Quality. Health, 7, 1747-1756. doi: 10.4236/health.2015.712190.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Hinz, A., Stobel-Richter, Y. and Brahler, E. (2001) Der Partnerschaftsfragebogen (PFB). Diagnostica, 47, 132-141.
[2] Hale, L. (2005) Who Has Time to Sleep? Journal of Public Health (Oxford, England), 27, 205-211.
[3] Troxel, W.M., Buysse, D.J., Matthews, K.A., Kravitz, H.M., Bromberger, J.T., Sowers, M. and Hall, M.H. (2010) Marital/Cohabitation Status and History in Relation to Sleep in Midlife Women. Sleep, 33, 973-981.
[4] Hamilton, N.A., Gallagher, M.W., Preacher, K.J., Stevens, N., Nelson, C.A., Karlson, C. and McCurdy, D. (2007) Insomnia and Well-Being. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 75, 939-946.
[5] Yang, H, Suh, S., Kim, H., Cho, E.R., Lee, S.K. and Shin, C. (2013) Testing Bidirectional Relationships between Marital Quality and Sleep Disturbances: A 4-Year Follow-Up Study in a Korean Cohort. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 74, 401-406.
[6] Grandner, M.A., Patel, N.P., Gehrman, P.R., Xie, D., Sha, D., Weaver, T. and Gooneratne, N. (2010) Who Gets the Best Sleep? Ethnic and Socioeconomic Factors Related to Sleep Complaints. Sleep Medicine, 11, 470-478.
[7] Hasler, B.P. and Troxel, W.M. (2010) Couples’ Nighttime Sleep Efficiency and Concordance: Evidence for Bidirectional Associations with Daytime Relationship Functioning. Psychosomatic Medicine, 72, 794-801.
[8] Carmichael, C.L. and Reis, H.T. (2005) Attachment, Sleep Quality, and Depressed Affect. Health Psychology Official Journal of the Division of Health Psychology, American Psychological Association, 24, 526-531.
[9] Diamond, L.M., Hicks, A.M. and Otter-Henderson, K.D. (2008) Every Time You Go Away: changes in Affect, Behavior, and Physiology Associated with Travel-Related Separations from Romantic Partners. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95, 385-403.
[10] Troxel, W.M., Buysse, D.J., Hall, M. and Matthews, K.A. (2009) Marital Happiness and Sleep Disturbances in a Multi-Ethnic Sample of Middle-Aged Women. Behavioral Sleep Medicine, 7, 2-19.
[11] Cacioppo, J.T., Hawkley, L.C., Berntson, G.G., Ernst, J.M., Gibbs, A.C., Stickgold, R. and Hobson, J.A. (2002) Do Lonely Days Invade the Nights? Potential Social Modulation of Sleep Efficiency. Psychological Science, 13, 384-387.
[12] El-Sheikh, M., Kelly, R. and Rauer, A. (2013) Quick to Berate, Slow to Sleep: Interpartner Psychological Conflict, Mental Health, and Sleep. Health Psychology, 32, 1057-1066.
[13] Rauer, A.J., Kelly, R.J., Buckhalt, J.A. and El-Sheikh, M. (2010) Sleeping with One Eye Open: Marital Abuse as an Antecedent of Poor Sleep. Journal of Family Psychology, 24, 667-677.
[14] Rauer, A.J. and El-Sheikh, M. (2012) Reciprocal Pathways between Intimate Partner Violence and Sleep in Men and Women. Journal of Family Psychology, 26, 470-477.
[15] Orbuch, T.L., Veroff, J., Hassan, H. and Horrocks, J. (2002) Who Will Divorce: A 14-Year Longitudinal Study of Black Couples and White Couples. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 19, 179-202.
[16] Birditt, K.S., Brown, E., Orbuch, T.L. and McIlvane, J.M. (2010) Marital Conflict Behaviors and Implications for Divorce over 16 Years. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 72, 1188-1204.
[17] Klaiberg, A., Würz, J., Bruhler, E. and Schumacher, J. (2001) Influences on Satisfaction with Sexuality and Partnership in Women. Der Gynakologe, 34, 259-269.
[18] Taylor, D.J., Lichstein, K.L., Durrence, H.H., Reidel, B.W. and Bush, A.J. (2005) Epidemiology of Insomnia, Depression, and Anxiety. Sleep, 28, 1457-1464.
[19] Soehner, A.M. and Harvey, A.G. (2012) Prevalence and Functional Consequences of Severe Insomnia Symptoms in Mood and Anxiety Disorders: Results from a Nationally Representative Sample. Sleep, 35, 1367-1375.
[20] Neckelmann, D., Mykletun, A. and Dahl, A.A. (2007) Chronic Insomnia as a Risk Factor for Developing Anxiety and Depression. Sleep, 30, 873-880.
[21] Zawadzki, M.J., Graham, J.E. and Gerin, W. (2013) Rumination and Anxiety Mediate the Effect of Loneliness on Depressed Mood and Sleep Quality in College Students. Health Psychology, 32, 212-222.
[22] Vahtera, J., Kivimaki, M., Hublin, C., Korkeila, K., Suominen, S., Paunio, T. and Koskenvuo, M. (2007) Liability to Anxiety and Severe Life Events as Predictors of New-Onset Sleep Disturbances. Sleep, 30, 1537-1546.
[23] Morin, C.M., Rodrigue, S. and Ivers, H. (2003) Role of Stress, Arousal, and Coping Skills in Primary Insomnia. Psychosomatic Medicine, 65, 259-267.
[24] Schlack, R., Hapke, U., Maske, U., Busch, M. and Cohrs, S. (2013) Haufigkeit und Verteilung von Schlafproblemen und Insomnie in der deutschen Erwachsenenbevolkerung: Ergebnisse der Studie zur Gesundheit Erwachsener in Deutschland (DEGS1). Bundesgesundheitsblatt, Gesundheitsforschung, Gesundheitsschutz, 56, 740-748.
[25] Buysse, D.J., Reynolds, C.F., Monk, T.H., Berman, S.R. and Kupfer, D.J. (1989) The Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index: A New Instrument for Psychiatric Practice and Research. Psychiatry Research, 28, 193-213.
[26] Kliem, S., Job, A., Kroger, C., Bodenmann, G., Stobel-Richter, Y., Hahlweg, K. and Brohler, E. (2012) Entwicklung und Normierung einer Kurzform des Partnerschaftsfragebogens (PFB-K) an einer reprasentativen deutschen Stichprobe. Zeitschrift für Klinische Psychologie und Psychotherapie, 41, 81-89.
[27] Hessel, A., Schumacher, J., Geyer, M. and Brohler, E. (2001) Symptom-Checkliste SCL-90-R. Diagnostica, 47, 27-39.
[28] Kane, H.S., Slatcher, R.B., Reynolds, B.M., Repetti, R.L. and Robles, T.F. (2014) Daily Self-Disclosure and Sleep in Couples. Health Psychology, 33, 813-822.
[29] Gordon, A.M. and Chen, S. (2014) The Role of Sleep in Interpersonal Conflict: Do Sleepless Nights Mean Worse Fights? Social Psychological and Personality Science, 5, 168-175.
[30] Ditzen, B., Hoppmann, C. and Klumb, P. (2008) Positive Couple Interactions and Daily Cortisol: On the Stress- Protecting Role of Intimacy. Psychosomatic Medicine, 70, 883-889.
[31] Paulsen, V.M. and Shaver, J.L. (1991) Stress, Support, Psychological States and Sleep. Social Science & Medicine, 32, 1237-1243.
[32] Neubauer, D.N. (1999) Sleep Problems in the Elderly. American Family Physician, 59, 2551-2560.
[33] Zhang, B. and Wing, Y. (2006) Sex Differences in Insomnia: A Meta-Analysis. Sleep, 29, 85-93.
[34] Ohayon, M.M. (2002) Epidemiology of Insomnia: What We Know and What We Still Need to Learn. Sleep Medicine Reviews, 6, 97-111.
[35] van den Berg, J.F., Miedema, H.M.E., Tulen, J.H.M., Hofman, A., Neven, A.K. and Tiemeier, H. (2009) Sex Differences in Subjective and Actigraphic Sleep Measures: A Population-Based Study of Elderly Persons. Sleep, 32, 1367-1375.
[36] Heilemann, M.V., Choudhury, S.M., Kury, F.S. and Lee, K.A. (2012) Factors Associated with Sleep Disturbance in Women of Mexican Descent. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 68, 2256-2266.
[37] Brabbins, C.J., Dewey, M.E., Copeland, J.R.M., Davidson, I.A., McWilliam, C., Saunders, P., Sharma, V.K. and Sullivan, C. (1993) Insomnia in the Elderly: Prevalence, Gender Differences and Relationships with Morbidity and Mortality. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 8, 473-480.

Copyright © 2023 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.