Getting a solid eight hours of shut-eye is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Sleep can help you lose weight, get sick less, be more creative, and work better. But one thing you may not realize: It can improve your relationship. Hitting the sack together (for actual snoozing, though we’re not opposed to other activities) can help you feel more confident and secure in your relationship.
People who feel underappreciated or uncared for by their partners are more likely to suffer from insomnia, according to a new study published in Social Personality and Psychological Science. Similarly, those who have partners that quickly respond to their needs tend to get more—and better—sleep.
“Our findings show that individuals with responsive partners experience lower anxiety and arousal, which in turn improves their sleep quality,” said lead author Dr. Emre Selçuk, a developmental and social psychologist at Middle East Technical University in Turkey.
How well you sleep around your partner also says important things about the state of your relationship. The researchers found that in order for a woman to reach “restorative sleep”—aka the stage of sleep where all the good health benefits kick in—she needs to feel safe, secure, and protected. (Makes sense.) So if you’re able to sleep deeply around someone else, it means that you feel safe and secure enough with them to fully let go. But if you find yourself constantly tossing and turning or sleeping with one eye open and you didn’t OD on coffee, then it might be a sign that you don’t feel cared for by your partner.
Deep sleep is just one sign of a good relationship but Selçuk said it’s a solid one. Your best bet for a happier, healthier, and longer life is having a partner who is attuned to your needs and takes care of you, he added. And it goes both ways, so don’t forget to make time to really listen to your honey today. Who knows, it might even help them sleep better too.