Why You're More Likely to Snap at Your Partner When You're Tired

Thanks to these insights from Tuck

The months leading up to your wedding are a unique time as you prepare to step into a new chapter of your life. However, the planning can be incredibly stressful as you create a guest list, find a florist, and make travel arrangements amongst other things. You may be using all your off-work hours to run errands and make phone calls as you solidify plans. As the stress builds, sleep may become elusive. Sleep deprivation changes the way your brain works and can start to interfere with your personal relationships.

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Sleep Deprivation and Emotional Balance

The average adult needs seven to nine hours of sleep, and anytime you get less, you enter a state of sleep deprivation. While everyone experiences a bad night’s sleep once in a while, if you’re getting less than seven hours more often than not, your brain has a hard time maintaining emotional balance.

Without adequate sleep the brain’s emotional processing center, called the amygdala, becomes more active and oversensitive to negative thoughts, emotions, and events. While the amygdala is ramping up activity, the brain’s logic and reasoning center, called the prefrontal cortex, reduces its activity and influence over your emotions. The result—magnified emotional responses.

With magnified emotions and wedding stress at a high, you can understand how you’re more likely to snap at your partner. But a combination of consistent stress management and healthy sleep habits can help.

Managing Wedding Stress

Though stress is a natural part of life, you can manage it so that it doesn’t interfere with your relationships. Start by off-loading as many wedding-related tasks as possible. Can a friend or sister pick up samples for you or make a few phone calls? If you want to do most of the wedding work yourself, can someone help you with your home-related responsibilities? After that, it's time to learn a few stress management techniques.

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Meditation

Meditation strengthens the connection between your prefrontal cortex and the amygdala. It also helps focus your thoughts on the present moment rather than a stressful upcoming future date. Try adding five to ten minutes of meditation to your bedtime routine to relieve stress right before bed.

Yoga

Yoga is another activity you can include in a bedtime routine. It has been shown to reduce stress-related inflammation, improve mood, and increase energy.

Develop Healthy Sleep Habits

To really get stress under control, you also have to focus on the quality of your sleep. Luckily, there are lots of ways to help yourself get deeper, more restful sleep.

Sleep-Supportive Bedroom

The bedroom should be devoted to sleep and sex. That’s it. Your home office and gym equipment ideally belong somewhere else. At night, block out as much light and sound as possible and turn down the thermostat to a cool 60 to 68 degrees.

Keep a Regular Bedtime

The human body thrives off of predictability. When you keep a regular bedtime, your body naturally adjusts to support your preferred schedule. Your brain actually anticipates your bedtime and releases sleep hormones accordingly.

Calming Bedtime Routine

This is where you can use your stress management techniques. Your routine can include anything that leaves you calm and relaxed just be sure to do the activities in the same order and at the same time each day.



Your relationship with your partner comes before everything else. By keeping stress under control and focusing on healthy sleep habits, you’ll be able to maintain emotional balance. So take a deep breath, give your partner a hug, and remember that you’re in this together.


Tuck is a community devoted to improving sleep hygiene, health and wellness through the creation and dissemination of comprehensive, unbiased, free web-based resources. Tuck has been featured on NBC News, NPR, Lifehacker, and Radiolab and is referenced by many colleges/universities and sleep organizations across the web.