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Happily Married Women Have Less Trouble Sleeping, Pitt Study Finds

It is no secret that a good night's sleep can lead to a well-balanced and healthy lifestyle, but the age-old question of how to get a decent eight hours still remains. However, a University of Pittsburgh study finds that a happy marriage can lead to a better night's sleep for women. The findings are reported in the current issue of Behavioral Sleep Medicine.

The Pitt study finds that women who believe they have happy marriages reported less difficulty falling asleep, less likelihood of waking up during the night or too early in the morning and less restless sleep compared to women who report less happiness in their marriages.

The study examined the association between marital happiness and sleep disturbances in multiple ethnic groups of married or partnered women. Researchers found that Caucasian and African-American women had more sleep complaints than the Japanese, Hispanic and Chinese women. Caucasian and Japanese women reported the highest marital happiness.

In assessing the effects of marital happiness on sleep, the researchers took into account many other factors that might contribute to sleeplessness, such as a woman's social support network, depressive symptoms, economic hardship and employment status, alcohol and caffeine consumption, presence of children in the home, sexual activity, age and hormonal status. The results showed that even after taking into account all of these factors that are known to influence sleep, the level of marital happiness emerged as an independent risk factor for the existence of sleep disturbances.

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